As my youngest heads off to her first year in school, I too am preparing for a return to education with sharpened pencils and packed lunch in tow.
I’m thrilled to be starting a part-time PhD at Reading University this September, working in the English Literature department, but more specifically embedded in the Mills & Boon archives which are (fortunately for me!) located within the University’s special collections.
The University has very generously funded my course, to enable the continuation of my running local poetry events and raising the profile of poetry and creative writing within our communities.
I’m also very fortunate to be spending much of my time at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), poring over the M&B collection, consisting of some 75,000 documents. I think if I read very fast, I can get through them in a year… 🙂
These archives are full of correspondence between publisher and authors, and only 10 boxes in (out of 100), I am already enraptured, and the poems are beginning to flow.
Not a moment of this privilege is wasted on me. I am determined to make this project of discovery count, revealing untold stories, awakening characters stowed in boxes, seeing what can be created from this rich source of history. Watch this space!