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Success for Leeds Trinity’s first Creative Writing PhD student

Posted on 08 January 2018

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​Leeds Trinity University is delighted to announce that Liz Flanagan, the University's first Creative Writing PhD student, has successfully completed her PhD.

Dr Flanagan, who is from Hebden Bridge, has completed a three-year practice-led PhD in Creative Writing, specialising in fiction for young adults.

She said: "I feel delighted to have finished the PhD, and rather relieved as well. It represents three years of intense work for me. I'm proud of what I've produced, but I'm also aware that it's hard to know when to stop – I think you could go on researching indefinitely – so it's good to have the finality of completing."

As part of her PhD, Liz wrote a novel, Eden Summer, which was published last year, and a thesis which reflected on and theorised the writing process and placed the work in its literary context.

"I would definitely recommend PhD study at Leeds Trinity," added Liz. "I had a really fantastic experience of working with my supervisors, and always felt very supported in my research. The Creative Writing department may be small, but the writers are very experienced and the supervision (and the teaching at undergraduate and masters level) is of the highest quality."

Throughout her three years at the University, Liz was supervised by Professor of English Paul Hardwick; Senior Lecturer in English, Dr Susan Anderson; Garry Lyons at the University of Leeds; and award-winning novelist and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Leeds Trinity, Martyn Bedford.

Martyn said: "The introduction of a Creative Writing PhD at Leeds Trinity was a natural extension of our well-established and successful writing programmes at undergraduate and Master's level – and we couldn't have wished for a better student to launch this new doctorate degree.

"To say that Liz has passed with flying colours would be an understatement. Her critical thesis has broken new ground in the research fields of young-adult literature and the creative process and – extraordinarily – her novel, Eden Summer, was published when she was only mid-way through her PhD, establishing her as an exciting new voice in teenage fiction. Liz has been a pleasure to supervise throughout her three years with us and I am delighted by her success."

During her studies, Liz signed a two book deal with David Fickling Books. The first of the two books to be published was Eden Summer, which is described by the publisher as "a tense and thrilling journey through friendship, loss, betrayal and self-discovery". Set in the countryside of West Yorkshire, Eden Summer follows teenager Jess as she retraces the events of the summer in an attempt to find her missing best friend, Eden.

After completing her PhD, Liz started working as Teaching Fellow in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She added: "It feels like the perfect way to build on the PhD and develop some really solid teaching experience. I started the job the day after my viva, so 2017 has been a very busy year!"

She is also working on her second book, a fantasy novel for children aged 9 – 12 years, which will be published in October 2018.

Leeds Trinity University's second creative writing PhD is already under way. Liz Mistry, who has published three big-selling crime novels since graduating from the university's MA programme two years ago, started work on her doctoral thesis and novel in October and is due to complete in 2020.