MDXSU AWARDS 2021: Double win for BA English

Last Friday the winners of the 2021 MDXSU Awards were announced. BA English achieved not one but TWO impressive wins! These annual awards celebrate the extraordinary work and achievements of Middlesex University students and staff over the past academic year.

Student Voice Leader of the Year: Yasmin Al-Sahar 

This award recognises the work of a Student Voice Leader within each faculty who has spent the year working hard to make changes for students at Middlesex.   

Yasmin received a high number of nominations from her peers and staff due to her high-quality work and efforts towards nurturing a community within the faculty of Arts & Creative Industries. Her strong communication skills when sharing academic and industry updates were regular and accessible to all. Additionally, Yasmin received 100& completion rate on the NSS.

Academic Staff Member of the Year: Dr Adam Dalton 

This award recognises an outstanding member of academic or teaching staff within each Faculty who has had a positive impact on the learning and student experience. 

Adam received a high number of nominations from students sharing their positive experiences with him. As one nomination saw Adam as “a model of student-centered, innovative, and impactful teaching” and another saying “Without a doubt, Professor Dalton in this way impassions his students to pursue their dreams. He is a remarkable person above all, and by far the best educator I’ve known in my lifetime of learning”. His work has been impactful and deserving as the winner of Academic Staff Member of the Year for ACI.

Huge congratulations to Yasmin and Adam for their outstanding achievements! Thank you also to all the colleagues and students who have taken the time to submit their nominations.

You can check the winners in all categories here.

Storyfest starts today

Storyfest starts today! The schedule is here, and it is amazing – huge thanks to all involved. Have a browse and add any that interest you to your calendar – there is something here for everyone, all themed around Transformation.

You only need one Zoom link to get into them all:

https://mdx-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/93558145807?pwd=YlZodVZRNmgwb0FBVUk3cGR6MlAxZz09

Meeting ID: 935 5814 5807

Passcode: 422782

Today, Monday 15th March

The National Centre for Writing will be discussing how they share stories through web, podcast, social channels, print and marketing. Get inspired! This will be followed by lives workshop from a dynamic duo from MDX, Film maker David Cottis, followed by Playwright James Kenworth:

Playwright and MDX Narrative Lecturer James Kenworth (The Newham Plays) talks about his acclaimed adaptations of Animal Farm and Alice in Wonderland, arguing that these plays were not straightforward stage adaptations of literary classics, but radical re-imaginings of the original source material, and new plays in their own right. He explores the notion of literary adaptation as being similar to a DJ remix or re-edit; appropriating and changing other materials to create something new.

You can follow the festival on Twitter for all the latest news and updates @nlstoryfest.

More details on the Festival’s exciting line-up here.

BA English student wins Fairtrade Poetry Competition

We are thrilled that our third-year BA English student Marisa with her poem ‘Mirage of Eden‘ won this year’s Fairtrade Competition.
‘FAIR PAY FOR FARMERS’ BY JENSON, AGED 9

This year’s Fairtrade fortnight celebration supported the awareness of Climate Change. Students submitted poetry or spoken word pieces applying in some way the concept of: ‘Your vision of the world you want for farmers and workers worldwide, and the planet we share’.

All shortlisted poems, including Marisa’s winning entry can be found here: https://haringeyunchained.com/haringey-unchained-and-creativityunleashed-editors-judge-2021-spoken-word-competition/

The judges felt that Marisa’s piece ‘Mirage of Eden‘ was a clever read in that it told a Climate change story in a realistic fairy tale way. The title alone, captivated the judges to want to know more and felt lured in during the read:

‘MIRAGE OF EDEN’ BY MARISA

To this vision I am bound:
the wasp buzz of a wave;
life and colour all around;
the blessings mother gave.
I am – choking – on dreams
of a rich, safe Eden –
a world serene at its seams,
uncut by cords of freedom.
Inhale fumes – exhale smoke –
a star – with wings
interrupts my hope –
and the – breath – it brings.
Fair trades and honest tongues,
sustainability will suffice.
Cemeteries of – uprooted lungs –
replaces paradise…
reward! – to those who stab-
at our womb –
and for those who tend, not grab,
the creatures, fruits, and bloom?
This rot – is in – my veins –
consume, consume, consume
we must – burn these chains
to kill – our barren doom.
Touch life beyond the computer,
rain and jungle dew,
a cleaner, greener future,
peace not just for the few.
My throat – burns
satisfaction slips my fingers
and to the past returns,
so only faith now lingers.
For libraries of celestial stories
Sun and Moon chase each other
Over unpolluted territories.
Tree nymphs will rediscover
their legs to dance and play
among skyscraper trees and towers.
Ink-free mermaids visit the bay
threading crowns of flowers,
never to know a plastic hell.
Fair costs and full cheeks
Nature, cast your spell!
Sung from mouths and beaks.
Imagine bellies full of berries,
imagine poverty, illness ended,
imagine trees alive with fairies,
imagine our earth, tended.

Marisa’s prizes includes interviews in print publications by Haringey Unchained, Russell Sage College in upstate New York and Barnet TV!

Congratulations also to second-year BA English student, Leonardo Simoes, whose poem ‘A Product of the Here and Now‘ was shortlisted. All the shortlisted poems from young people around the country have featured in the Fairtrade Foundation’s Youth Online Exhibition Hall: https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/choose-the-world-you-want/exhibition-hall/

Storyfest in Colour! 15-19 March 2021

A week today, the brilliant celebration of writing and creativity that is Storyfest begins! It is a huge pleasure to invite you to attend.

Too often, the hectic pace of our lives, pressures of deadlines, and the many challenges the pandemic has thrown up, can make us feel out of tune with our creative selves, and lose touch with how to nurture that creativity.

Festivals like Storyfest, free and organised by your fellow students, are here to remind you of the amazing diversity and power of stories and storytelling, across genre and across media. Creativity connects us, wakes us up, reminds us what matters and why.

This year’s festival is of course online – we have all had to adapt in different ways, and so the organising committee chose the theme of Transformation – all of the sessions will reflect this key theme. You can follow the festival on Twitter for all the latest news and updates @nlstoryfest.

In the meantime, here is a sneak preview!

You can treat yourself to workshops with leading filmmakers and playwrights, hear from award winning novelists including The Costa Book of the Year winner Monique Roffey, sharing craft secrets and exploring Magical Realism together with Leone Ross, who will be giving you a sneak peek of Faber’s lead Spring title, her novel One Sky Day.

Please visit and bookmark the festival site; North London Story Festival | Middlesex University

And you can already listen to one of the stories from one of our MA novelists, Brian Hicks. Check back for more inspiring content over the week. The Eventbrite links will be here too – I will share these on Friday.

The amazing lineup includes:

David Heinemann, film lecturer at MDX will be discussing his award-winning film Voices Apart. The documentary presents three Lithuanians who hear voices that set them apart. You can watch the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/462423732

Creativity is often a collective, communal activity. On Tuesday 16th of March, Thriller writer Lara Thompson will be appearing together with her editor Sarah Savitt from Virago Press  to talk about her exciting debut novel One Night, New York, a brilliant and immersive thriller, which won her the Virago/The Pool New Crime Writer Award

Judith Bryan’s Bernard and the Cloth Monkey was Selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, as Part of Penguin’s new series Black Britain. This series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation. On Wednesday 17th March, Judith will be in conversation with MDX novelist Ariel Kahn, discussing the theme of Transformation in their books.

On the 18th of March at 7.30, reserve your places for meeting with Monique Roffey, author of Costa Book of the year award-winning The Mermaid of Black Conch, discussing Magical realism together with the amazing Leone Ross, who will be giving you a sneak peek into her novel This One Sky Day a month before its publication.

There are many organisations which support and platform new writing. The National Centre for Writing will be discussing how they share stories through web, podcast, social channels, print and marketing.

This will be followed by a live workshop from a dynamic duo from MDX, Film maker David Cottis and Playwright James Kenworth.

In addition to the live events each evening, there will be brilliant bonus content on the website, with carefully curated interviews, including:

Nalini Singh is a paranormal romance writer. The discussion touch on the topic why she’d chosen shapeshifters rather than vampires and the author’s journey from romance and thriller to paranormal romance writing.

 Nadine Dalton-West, short-listed for the British Fantasy Society award and was accepted into the WriteNow 2020 programme with Penguin. She has features in couple of anthologies including The Book of Witches. 

Writing is often a path to personal freedom, and a way to reflect on and shape the journeys that made us. Two brilliant refugee writers from Iran I’ve had the privilege of mentoring, with the support of exiled writers Ink and the Arts Council, have just had their short stories published.

Navid Hamzavi had his short stories banned in his native Iran. He and fellow Iranian writer and poet Sana Nasari talk about the pleasures and pitfalls of writing and translating their work across language and culture.