My Creative Writing PhD is focused on producing a piece of historiographic metafiction about the Sumerian High Priestess and princess Enheduanna, the first person in recorded history to sign their name to their written work. The action in the novel is split between around 2300 BCE, when Enheduanna lived, and the present day, where it follows the story of a young woman writing about Enheduanna.
As well as being the first person to sign their name to their writings, Enheduanna was also the earliest author discovered to be writing in the first person. Her poems to the goddess Inanna are passionate and often sexual, too, although she was writing 1700 years before Sappho - who is of course widely considered the "first lesbian poet". Enheduanna is hardly a household name but her work was groundbreaking.
In both my novel and my thesis I am seeking to highlight Enheduanna's position as a woman all but written out of the history books despite her significant contribution to the progress of literature, as well as looking at the slow move towards a more patriarchal society during her lifetime. I also want to explore the ways in which the Western world so often ignores the East's contributions to civilisation.