Meet the staff from Creative and Professional Writing
Meet our staff from the Creative and Professional writing courses and see what they do outside lecturing at the University of Wolverhampton.
Dr Lisa Blower-Senior Lecturer and course leader in Creative writing
I am an award-winning short story writer, and author of 2 novels, Sitting Ducks (2016), and Pondweed (2020). My fiction tends to focus upon women and their relationship with class, identity, and place, and I write a lot about the Potteries where I grew up. I won The Guardian National Short Story award, have been shortlisted for the BBC Short Story Award, the Sunday Times Short Story Award, and won the Arnold Bennett Prize for my short story collection 'It's Gone Dark over Bill's Mother's.' I champion regional voices, dialect, and working-class fictions - which rather makes me a stalker of all writers called Alan (Bennett, Sillitoe, Bleasdale) - and work to break as many class ceilings in publishing as possible, including being a contributor to Common People (ed. Kit De Waal, 2019), and the forthcoming Common Gossip (2022). I write for The New Issue, mentor for the Word Factory, am a trustee of of Writing West Midlands, and have appeared at Hay, Latitude, Festival No.6, and many other literary festivals because there's nothing I love more than a bunch of writers getting together to celebrate what they do. I'm also an Arvon Tutor, library enthusiast, and, having worked in radio for 15 years before I resettled in academia, cannot write without a radio on. I am currently working on my third novel 'The Mongrels' but very easily side-tracked by short-story ideas and commissions because I'm a short story writer at heart.
Dr Charlotte Barnes- Lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing
'As far back as I can remember, I wanted to live and work in Creative Writing as much as I could (there are embarrassing, stapled together books of poetry held in evidence of this). Poetry was my first love but, after studying for Creative Writing at university, I found myself more drawn to fiction. Now, I’m lucky enough to balance the two. In poetry, I research a lot of folklore and plant-lore to look at ways to bring older or forgotten narratives into a more contemporary format. In fiction, I’m geared towards crime writing and how gender/gendered representations sit in modern crime narratives. This usually means I can be found either with my head in the “Oxford Dictionary of Plant-Lore” or “Why We Love Serial Killers” (or something similar, at least).
'Both as a student as a teacher, I’ve been lucky enough to spend time in lots of pockets of Creative Writing, though, including the more professional side (meaning, journalism and content writing, for example). I’ve had a positive and varied experience overall, and that’s something I hope to facilitate for future students, too!'
Dr Rob Francis- Lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing
My name's Dr Rob Francis and I'm one of the lecturers in Creative and Professional Writing. I'm from Dudley - you can see me in Wren's Nest with my dog, Rosie, in the photo.
I love poetry and stories and have had a lifelong passion for both. I suppose it all started as a kid listening to heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden, and attempting to write my own lyrics. Silly as it might seem, it was these Rock Bands of the 90s and 00s that pushed me towards literature - once I'd made the leap from Marilyn Manson to Mariane Moore I never looked back. Since then I've written five poetry pamphlet collections, a novel and a full collection of poems. Currently, I'm the Poet in Residence for the Black Country Geological Society - it's the culture, geography and atmosphere of this region that I'm most passionate about as a writer. So, you can expect all sorts of place-writing, poetry and a lot of laughter when you join us in the Wolf Pack.
Dr Inés Gregori Labarta- Lecturer in Creative Writing
'I use writing to explore the world around me and engage with ideas that interest me like gender fluidity, migration and monsters. I was born in Madrid but I’ve lived in different places – Ireland, Scotland, and now, England. Writing in English made me fall in love with the intricacies of language and showed me how fun it is to experiment with different voices and registers. Being an immigrant has taught me many things as a writer; for example, it's fostered the empathy and curiosity that I use to write my characters.'
'At Wolverhampton, I primarily teach creative non-fiction modules – but I am also very interested in graphic novels and speculative fiction. That said, I must confess that horror has a special place in my heart as the genre that ventures into the hidden sides of our psyches.'
'When I teach, I want to prove to my students that one can make a career in writing. That's why so I always make sure we discuss professional avenues for their work and talk about the 'real' writing life – including routines, dealing with rejections, publishing routes and finding a community.'