Creative Writing Networking Evening
Brunel’s Creative Writing and English alumni got together for an inspiring night of talks and networking in central London in November.
The group ranged from new alumni through to those that graduated as far back as the 1990s. Guests were treated to talks by alumna Shaheet Hashmat, and renowned poet Benjamin Zephaniah, over drinks and canapés in the elegant RSA building.
Shaheen (English and Creative Writing 2008) talked of how a networking opportunity a few years ago led her to secure a job working for Lord Puttnam; a role which involved helping to write Lord Puttnam’s speeches. She was inspired by the way she saw written and spoken communication used so effectively to advocate change, and this led her to pursue a new direction in her career. Shaheen now uses her skills to help victims of honour abuse through a charity, as well as through awareness-raising via her blog and book. She suggested that writing from the heart, about a cause that matters to you, makes the process not only worthwhile, but also produces a better quality of writing.
Benjamin shared his experiences of publishing, the prejudice he experienced in the early stages and how dramatically this changed once he had a few early breaks. He emphasised the need to write about what you know and that trying to mould your writing to fit commercial expectations is not only unlikely to fulfil you as a writer, but can often be very unconvincing. He also stressed the need to perform poetry to see it come alive, rather than leaving it to sit on a page.
Guests then mingled and exchanged advice and experiences with one another. Many said they left feeling inspired by the evening.
For those who were unable to join us for this event, there are lots of resources on our website about various careers in which you can use your writing skills:
If you have questions for any of those that attended, please tweet us at @brunelalumni and we will try to find someone to answer.
To see the photos from the event, click here.