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UEA celebrates work of Malcolm Bradbury

Fri, 16 Nov 2012

Award-winning writers John Boyne and Giles Foden will be among those appearing at the University of East Anglia this month to celebrate the work of influential author and academic Malcolm Bradbury.

Malcolm Bradbury

To mark the 80th anniversary of Bradbury’s birth, Picador have reissued six of his novels with new introductions by Boyne, Foden, David Lodge, Dame Margaret Drabble and Ian McEwan.

To celebrate the reissue, several of these authors will give readings and reminiscences at an event on November 28.  Those taking part include Boyne, author of the international bestseller The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, who was a student in Bradbury’s last creative writing class in 1994/95. Also in conversation with Prof Chris Bigsby will be Drabble and Lodge, who has described Bradbury as his “literary twin”, and Foden, currently a professor of creative writing at UEA and whose first novel The Last King of Scotland won the Whitbread First Novel Award.

In 1970 Bradbury co-founded, with Angus Wilson, the Creative Writing MA at UEA, the first of its kind in the UK. He taught on the programme until his retirement in 1995. A prolific and influential scholar and author, he wrote more than 40 books of non-fiction and criticism, as well as numerous screen plays for television, seven novels, including The History Man, which was serialised for BBC television, and Rates of Exchange, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He was awarded the CBE in 1991 for services to literature and knighted in 2000.

Bradbury’s son, Dominic, who has helped to organise the event, said: “I’m sure that my father would have felt honoured and delighted by both the reissue of his novels and this wonderful celebration of his work. Like any writer, he was always very concerned about how his work was presented to the world and I think he would have been proud of the fresh new look given to the novels. And it’s wonderful to see that the university, which was always such an important part of his life, continues to remember my father and his legacy."

Andrew Cowan, course director for the Creative Writing MA, said: “This event is a chance to hear from Bradbury’s friends, fellow writers and those who were inspired by his teaching and work.  He was a teacher and writer who inspired very many young writers.  And a man who made many friends.”

As well as celebrating the reissue of his novels, the event on November 28 will raise funds for the Malcolm Bradbury Memorial Trust, which was set up following his death in November 2000. The trust provides scholarships for UEA creative writing students and funds a range of student-related projects, including the publication of the annual anthologies of MA writing.

Since the launch of the Creative Writing MA at UEA, the programme has grown to encompass courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and research level, with MA strands in Prose Fiction, Poetry, Scriptwriting and Lifewriting. Former tutors include Bradbury, Angela Carter, Rose Tremain, W.G. Sebald, Andrew Motion, and many other distinguished writers. Alumni include Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Rose Tremain, Anne Enright, Andrew Miller, Toby Litt, Mohammed Hanif, Tash Aw, Neel Mukherjee and Anjali Joseph.

In 2012 the university’s creative writing programme received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, the UK’s most prestigious higher education award, in recognition of its continuing excellence in delivering innovative courses at a world-class level.

The Malcolm Bradbury Memorial Trust Fundraising Event takes place at 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm) on November 28, at the Thomas Paine Lecture Theatre, UEA, Norwich. Tickets are priced £7 (students £3.50), call 01603 508050 or visit www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk/events. For further information visit www.uea.ac.uk/lit/eventsnews.

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