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Life vs Fiction - Brunel Centre for Contemporary Fiction


Life vs. Fiction

5.30pm, Wednesday 20 March, BANN 226 - Brunel Library

The Brunel Centre for Contemporary Writing (BCCW) presents a session on the relationship between fiction and autobiography inspired by the Burnett Archive of Working-Class Autobiographies held in the Special Collections of Brunel Library. Philip Tew will discuss writing about his relationship with his working-class father in his new novel, Afterlives, and Nick Hubble will talk about the relationship between working-class autobiography and proletarian autobiografiction revealed by his British Academy-funded research on the Burnett Archive. This event will feature Brunel MA Creative Writing students opening the evening with readings from their work, as well as complimentary refreshments and free admission.



Philip Tew’s debut novel Afterlives, published in February 2018, is about university lecturer, Jim Dent, who nearing retirement, is inspired by the death of a friend known in the 1970s, writer Sue Townsend, to review various premature deaths over the past fifty years of others once close to him, and recollect their lives.  They include a school-friend, his working-class father, and other talented chums all denied their creative potential. Among scenes featured are his work with Sue on a local arts magazine on her stories of Nigel (later, Adrian) Mole, and a trip with an oddball scholar of the Beats to interview poet, Basil Bunting.  Afterlives is no old man’s lament, rather a poignant and yet comic narrative of eccentric, talented people whose lives are celebrated. Commenting on the novel, Fay Weldon said "The father's episode is a fine and moving piece of writing." Philip is Professor of English Literature (post 1900) at Brunel.


Nick Hubble’s latest book The Proletarian Answer to the Modernist Question is out this month in paperback from Edinburgh University Press. Nick is Reader in English at Brunel


With student writers from the MA in Creative Writing