Charles lee charlie crook

Charles Lee

Why did you choose to study your degree at the University of Leeds?

I chose Leeds not just because of the university’s reputation but also because of the city itself.

I’m from a small town called Newark-on-Trent and by comparison Leeds has so much going on. I’m a bit of foodie too, so me and my partner love exploring the food choices available.

What opportunities have you taken advantage of while studying here so far?

I enjoyed being involved with the Leeds University Union Theatre Group’s Shadow Directing Scheme; I worked on Mike Bartlett’s Cock. It’s a great play and the experience was invaluable.

I’m was even more excited about having my first play staged, Meathead, a dark comedy about an insecure bodybuilder.

How do you think your degree at Leeds will help you in your career?

The dream would be to be a full-time playwright. Failing that, I spent a few years working in L&D before uni, so teaching English in a secondary school or college would seem like a logical progression.

What skills have you gained so far?

I think the main skill developed at uni is the ability to work independently. Everyone on the creative writing course has their own areas of interest, so it’s great to see each person developing stylistically.

Over the course, we have learnt how to be honest with each other about what works and what doesn’t.

Have you worked closely with a particular member of staff?

My Creative Writing tutor is Dr Kimberly Campanello. She has given me a lot of constructive feedback over the last year and a half, and never been afraid to tell me if something wasn’t quite working. She will hold you to a higher standard, but your work will be better for it.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying English Literature with Creative Writing?

You may be nervous about other people reading your work. Writing can certainly feel like a very private activity. You do eventually get used to people giving their feedback though. Assumably, if you’re looking into this course, you want your work to be read at some point…

What do you think of the facilities?

The facilities are good. I spend a lot of time in the Brotherton Library between lectures and seminars; if I want some food, there’s plenty of choice on campus; and most of my course books are available in Blackwell’s bookshop across the street.

What do you think of Leeds as a city?

Leeds has a lot going on. If you want entertainment, they have a Leeds Playhouse, which has just been refurbished, and a great independent picture house in Hyde Park.


Charles Lee writes under the pseudonym Charlie Crook. His latest work, Meathead, premieres at the University of Leeds in 2020. Find out more.