Success Stories

Graduates from the Lancaster Writing Programme go on to do all kinds of things in the literary world. Here are success stories from just a few of our former students.

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva gained a distinction on our MA in Creative Writing in 2010. She is a Ugandan writer, poet, actress, literary activist and biographer. She is the founder of the Babishai Niwe (BN) Poetry Foundation. She was nominated for the August 2009 Arts Press Association (APA) Awards for revitalising poetry in Uganda. Beverley has worked at the Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Institute for The Advancement of Women (EASSI), British Council, as a radio show morning host of two years at 104.1 Power FM in Kampala. She also served as an Audience Relations Manager, conducting regular market surveys. Before that she was a teacher and dance instructor at Rainbow International School in Kampala. Since 1999, she has been in an active dance group that usually holds concerts in and around church and the community. Beverley has also been involved in several HIV/AIDS sensitisation campaigns amongst youth in secondary schools and universities.

Alison MacLeod

Alison MacLeod

Alison MacLeod is a novelist, short story writer and essayist who was awarded her PhD in Creative Writing from the Lancaster Writing Programme in 2001.  Her third and most recent novel, Unexploded, was long-listed for The 2013 Man-Booker Prize and selected as one of The Observer’s ‘Books of the Year’.  Her previous works include the novels The Changeling (1996) and The Wave Theory of Angels (2005), and the short story collection Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction (2007).  Alongside her writing, she has served as a judge for literary awards such as The International Frank O’Connor Award, The Mslexia Prize, The International Manchester Fiction Prize, and the Charleston-Chichester Award.  MacLeod has appeared at literary festivals and conferences throughout the UK and internationally. She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at the University of Chichester.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller studied for a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing at Lancaster University in 1997. His first novel, Ingenious Pain received three awards: the James Tait Black Memorial Award for Fiction, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Grinzane Cavour prize in Italy.The book has been translated into 36 languages. His subsequent novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Whitbread prize and his latest novel, Pure, won the 2011 Costa Book of the Year Award.

Watch a video of Andrew talking about his time at Lancaster

Jacob Polley

Jacob Polley

Jacob Polley was born in Carlisle, Cumbria and graduated from the Lancaster Writing Programme with an MA in Creative Writing in 1997. He is the author of three acclaimed books of poems, The Brink (2003), Little Gods (2006) and The Havocs (2012), all published by Picador, UK. He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2002, and both The Brink and The Havocs were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.In 2011, he was Arts Queensland’s poet-in-residence, and he was Visiting Fellow Commoner in the Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, 2005-7. He has also held residencies at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation and at the Wordsworth Trust. In 2004, he was named one of the ‘Next Generation’ of the twenty best new poets in Britain. His first novel, Talk of the Town, a demotic and funny coming-of-age murder mystery, won the 2010 Somerset Maugham Award. He teaches at the University of St Andrews and lives in Fife, Scotland.

Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson

Ray Robinson was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing in 2006 for a project which included his debut novel, Electricity (Picador). The novel was later shortlisted for both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award. The screen adaptation of Electricity premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2014, starring Agyness Deyn as Lily. Robinson’s other novels are The Man Without (2008), Forgetting Zoë (2010), and Jawbone Lake (2013). Forgetting Zoë was a winner of the inaugural Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize, and was the Observer’s ‘Thriller of the Month’. Robinson was hailed as ‘Among the most impressive voices of Britain’s younger generation’ by the Irish Times.

Monique Roffey

Monique Roffey

Monique Roffey gained her PhD in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of five books, four novels and a memoir. Three of her novels are set in Trinidad and the Caribbean region. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (2009) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010 and the Encore Award in 2011. Archipelago (2012) won the OCM BOCAS award for Caribbean Literature in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Orion Award 2014. House of Ashes, published in 2014, is a novel drawn from historical events and tells the story of a gunman, a hostage and a child soldier caught up in a botched coup d’etat. It was shortlisted for the COSTA Fiction Award, 2015 and long listed for the OCM BOCAS Award in 2015. Her memoir, With the Kisses of His Mouth traces a personal journey of mid-life sexual self-discovery and recovery from a love affair. She divides her time between the east end of London, and Port of Spain, where she teaches creative writing.

Ali Shaw

Ali Shaw

Ali Shaw graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English Literature. He is the award-winning author of The Girl with Glass Feet – which won the Desmond Elliot Award and was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and long listed for the Guardian’s First Novel Award. The Man who Rained was published in 2012. More recently, Ali has written a short story for BBC Radio 4. His third novel, The Trees will be published by Bloomsbury in 2016.