My UEA Story: Dr Claire Hynes
“I had little interest in formal education as a child. I spent my School days looking out of the window. When the careers teacher asked what I wanted to do for work, I said that I wanted to write. She told me this wasn’t an appropriate choice and advised me to leave School at 16 to become a secretary. However, to me, the prospect of reading and studying books at university seemed more exciting. I knew that A-levels and university was a much better choice.”
After university, Claire trained as a journalist in London and became the news editor of Britain’s leading black national newspaper The Voice. She went on to work at the BBC as a documentary film-maker and TV Producer. Claire was one of the first journalists to investigate the Stephen Laurence murder case.
“I travelled to many different regions and countries with my work and met so many interesting people. But what I really looked forward to were my holidays, because I had uninterrupted time to read and write”.
Claire successfully applied to study on the MA in Creative Writing at UEA. “To the shock of my media friends, I gave up my prestigious BBC position. After my MA, I went on to complete a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. Initially, I had no expectation of working in academia”. This was largely due to a lack of representation of Black and Minority Ethnic academics in UK Higher Education: “I didn’t see Lecturers who looked like me, and I felt that my background and experience was somehow wrong. I’m glad my thoughts changed”.
Claire is now a Lecturer in the Department of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA. “I’ve been able to share my passion for reading and writing with students – which feels totally appropriate and wonderful”.