Professor Weldon will be teaching students via traditional seminars and tutorials, but will also be using a new virtual classroom created for her on the university's intranet. She joins novelists Celia Brayfield and Sarah Penny in the rapidly expanding Creative Writing programme at Brunel, which includes for 2006/7 a multidisciplinary undergraduate course and a new MA in novel writing.
Fay Weldon, who was appointed CBE for her services to literature in 2001, has always enjoyed teaching and, as well as producing her own work, has taken time to teach in schools, colleges and prisons, both formally and informally, as well as working with educational initiatives by Arts Council in the UK and the British Council abroad. She spent three months in 2003 as writer-in-residence at the Savoy Hotel in London, but says she finds Brunel students more responsive.
"All writing is creative, to once extent or another," she says. “You can't teach people how to write, but you can teach them what and what not to write: the basics of good grammar. We want all our students to leave Brunel well-equipped to make their way in the world as good and efficient writers; if some are geniuses, so much the better. We'll find them."
Professor Steve Dixon, head of the School of Arts at Brunel adds: "We're delighted that Fay has agreed to join as a Professor. Not only is she a legendary writer, she has always been an inspiring and generous mentor of new writers. She was a natural choice to help us make Brunel a centre for encouraging tomorrow's writing talent."
Fay Weldon has some 23 novels to her name, as well as four collections of short stories. She is also very much at home with drama, with many film, television and radio scripts produced. Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr starred in the Hollywood version of her seminal novel, The Life And Loves of a She Devil. In journalism, her articles have appeared in The Times, The Guardian, The Mail on Sunday and The New Statesman. It is important, she says, for today's writer to be at home in all parts of the market. Her themes are universal - concerned mainly with the thee-way relationship between men, women and society. But, as she points out, "most fiction is."