Creative Writing

Welcome to the Writers’ Space

The Writers’ Space is a special event series for all students that take part in the creative writing courses offered at our institute. The Writers' Space gives you the opportunity to present your own writing, have it workshopped and get in-depth feedback. It also allows you to meet and network with fellow writers and our creative writing lecturers. If you are interested in joining, send an e-mail to Sonja Frenzel (sonja.frenzel(at)hhu.de).

Events

A Two-Day Workshop and a Public Reading with Poet and Activist Dr. Sally Flint (University of Exeter, GB)

 

Climate Stories: Everyone has a Story to Tell About Climate

Everyone has a story to tell about climate: whether we take a political stance on global warming or whether we wonder about the increasingly unpredictable weather in everyday conversations, whether we are scientists dealing with empirical data and so-called hard facts or whether we are readers and writers imagining the fictional worlds of literary artefacts, we are surrounded by stories, and increasingly by stories about climate and its effects upon the earth and upon our human ways of being in the world.

Stories are more than a fanciful creation of a creative mind. Indeed, it has become commonplace to assume that literary texts appear in immediate and often contested relations with their historical, political, social and cultural contexts; these texts may explain the world-as-is to their readers or they may imagine new worlds yet-to-come; they will draw on lived experience as much as on facts, which they relate through a broad repertoire of poetic and aesthetic devices.

When it comes to climate and climate change, this unique world-making potential of literature has gained new and ever more pertinent relevance. Indeed, the practices of storytelling are currently being re-evaluated for their political and ethical merits: as communicative devices, they open up critical inquiries, firstly, on how to tell stories of climate change that make scientific facts accessible to a wider audience – and, secondly, on how aesthetically meaningful stories may exceed the textual realm and initiate action.

Poet and climate activist Dr Sally Flint (University of Exeter, GB) operates on that very threshold: her forthcoming collection, There is No Planet B, is inspired by her close collaboration with climate scientists and emerges in curious dialogue with their findings. Each piece is prefaced by a snippet of scientific information, from which the poet spins her poetic stories on climate and climate change. This unusual approach results from Dr Flint’s longstanding involvement with the project Climate Stories (http://climatestories.virb.com/the-idea), a collaborative venture between arts practitioners, climate scientists, and members of the community in Exeter and the greater Devon area. Aiming to facilitate storytelling on climate, the project has featured workshops on creative writing, songwriting, and visual arts, encouraging participants to step out of their comfort zone and create their own stories, poems, songs, or images (results have been published with Riptide in a collection titled Climate Stories in 2018).

Dr Flint leads the creative writing strand of the Climate Stories project. Working in dialogue with climate activists from various domains has decisively influenced her own much-acclaimed poetry, which has appeared in numerous anthologies as well as in two collections, titled Pieces of Us (Worple Press) and The Hospital Punch (Maquette Publications).

This winter term, she has joined us to share her outstanding expertise in a two-day workshop on creative writing (29-30 October 2019) at Heinrich Heine University and in a public reading (30 October 2019) at Haus der Universität. The workshop led a group of sixteen committed participants to develop their own climate stories from visual and textual as well as scientific prompts. Composing poetry and prose from these materials, the participants learned how to create poetic images and fictional characters, to imagine setting and atmosphere of their fictional worlds, and to perpetually develop and refine their pieces.

In a public reading on the evening of 30 October 2019 at Haus der Universität, these topics were explored in more detail, when Dr Flint presented some pieces from her forthcoming poetry collection to an audience of students, staff and members of the public. Her work sparked a lively exchange about writing poetry in times of climate change and about the controversial role of literature and storytelling in raising awareness and initiating political change. The evening concluded with some examples from Dr Flint’s earlier poetry collections of nature poetry.

Dr Flint’s visit inaugurated many creative projects among workshop participants, which may be published in the spring 2020 edition of the Riptide Journal, with a focus on climate. Her expertise greatly enriched the focus on Artistic Research launched in 2017 by the Institute for Modern English Literature. Creative writing, as this event has emphasised, is an apt didactic tool for refining an understanding of literary artefacts and for further promoting critical reading practices. The pertinent topics of climate and climate change stress the political and cultural relevance of reading and writing for making sense of our world and our human ways of being in the world. Further to this, and in collaboration with secondary schools in Düsseldorf, workshop participants may themselves be guided to lead small groups of pupils to tell their stories of climate change and to underline the role of literature and storytelling in everyone’s everyday lives.

 

Dr. Sonja Frenzel

JULIAN WOLFREYS

30TH JANUARY 2019 AT 2.30PM
VIRGINIA WOOLF: MEMORY, BEING, AND LOSS 
Guest Lecture
Location: HHU Campus, Building 24.51, Room 01.28 

31TH JANUARY 2019 AT 7PM
IMAGINARY, POLITICAL, AND OTHER LANDSCAPES – AN EVENING OF POETRY AND
MUSIC

Reading + Performance
Location: GOETHEMUSEUM SCHLOß JÄGERHOF, JACOBISTR.2, 40211 DÜSSELDORF 

Professor Julian Wolfreys (University of Portsmouth) is the author and editor of numerous scholarly books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature and literary theory, including, most recently, Haunted Selves, Haunting Places in English Literature and Culture: 1800-Present (2018). Among his other publications are two collections of poetry as well as a widely acclaimed novel, Silent Music (2014). Last but not least, Julian is also a musician, working as a solo performer and as part of a duo.

ANDY BROWN

30TH OCTOBER 2018 AT 7PM
BLOODLINES: POETRY AND MEDICINE
Reading: Andy Brown (University of Exeter) 
Location: GOETHEMUSEUM SCHLOß JÄGERHOF, JACOBISTR.2, 40211 DÜSSELDORF

On Tuesday, 30 October 2018, ANDY BROWN (EXETER), a well-known poet, poetry commentator and academic, will read from his latest poetry collection, Bloodlines, and talk about the ideas and images that
underlie his creative work. You are warmly invited to join us!

ROUNDTABLE: KREATIVE WEGE | CREATIVITY AS CAREER

18TH MAY 2018 FROM 6-8PM
KREATIVE WEGE | CREATIVITY AS CAREER
Roundtable with Tom Drury (author), Anja Fröhlich (author), Grit Krüger
(auhtor) and Saxa (word artist). 
Location: HAUS DER UNIVERSITÄT (ROOM 4), SCHADOWPLATZ 14, 40212
DÜSSELDORF

The Roundtable "Kreative Wege | Creativity as Career" will be a part of the newly inaugurated creative writing track of Ang IV. The event gathers the authors Tom Drury, Anja Fröhlich and Grit Krüger as well as the word artist Saxa (Sascha Lehmann), who will share the stories of their - often winding, but always inspirational - paths into creative careers.

Teaching

Winter 2018/19

  • The Art of Verbal Action: Writing Dialogue (BA), Tobias Bräuer
  • Story-Telling in posthumanist perspectives (MA), Dr. Sonja Frenzel
  • Writing Character Fiction (BA), Rebecca Rukeyser

Summer 2018

  • Originality Through Imitation - (Re)writing the Genre Film (BA), Tobias Bräuer
  • Words and Worlds: Telling Stories of Dwellling (MA), Dr. Sonja Frenzel
  • Writing The Short Story (BA), Rebecca Rukeyser

Winter 2017/18

  • Narrative Identity Meets Genre: Writing the Feature Film (BA), Tobias Bräuer
  • Speaking (of) Matter: New Materialism Meets Creative Writing (MA), Dr. Sonja Frenzel

Summer 2017

  • Free Play, Palimpsest, Intertextual Bricolage: Writing Postmodern Adaptation (BA), Tobias Bräuer

Winter 2016/17

  • Writing Film Adaptation: Raymond Carver on Film (BA), Tobias Bräuer

 

For more information on creative writing in our current teaching and research, please also visit undefinedArtistic Research

 

Responsible for the content: