Karen Tobias-Green, Course Leader, BA (Hons) Creative Writing shares advice on staying connected to the publishing sector, creative inspirations and locking down with Stevey, her cat.
What has been the highlight of your academic year?
Getting the BA (Hons) Creative Writing course written, validated and off the ground and welcoming such a great bunch of level 4s to the University in September last year.
How do you keep on top of developments in the publishing sector?
Social media is really important. I’m linked to lots of independent publishing houses, events sites and author websites. In these unusual and difficult times, writers are being hugely resourceful. They are joining forces with visual creatives, events organisers, even food and drinks providers, to keep writing alive. Creative Writing, whether fact or fiction, is often seen as a singular and individual pursuit and it can be. But it can also be collaborative and highly sociable. Also, writers aren’t very resource-heavy. We tend to need just a laptop, a phone or pen and paper and we’re up and running.
Image: Courtesy of Karen Tobias-Green
What's inspiring you during lockdown?
It may be a bit cliché but the peace and quite that has enveloped my neighbourhood has given me pause for creative thoughts. I’m looking at plants and birds in a new way! But also, and perhaps more importantly, I’m very aware that not everyone is experiencing this situation we’re in in the same way. One person’s peace and quiet is another person’s loneliness and isolation, especially if they are ill. I’m also very wary of people talking in unrelentingly positive terms about having more family time. I’m lucky. My family is a source of joy and support. But I’m aware that for many that’s not case and being forced in proximity with people you feel unsafe with is not a good place to be. So all of these things are preoccupying me creatively at the moment and making me consider what to write, how and in particular why.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Getting published. Definitely. There’s no better reward for all that hard work and inevitable rejection than seeing your name in print.
What are you doing to stay creative during lockdown?
Reading loads. Watching and re-watching films that both entertain me and make me think. Trying to source new music. Cooking (even if some of it is out of a packet!)
What’s on your lockdown playlist, reading list or watch list?
- Bluegrass and country
- Anything by The Felice Brothers but especially The Kid, and Days of the Years (from the album Undress)
- Will and Testament and A House in Norway, both by Vigdis Hjorth
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
- Unorthodox (Netflix mini-series)
- The Platform (Spanish language film)
Image: Courtesy Karen Tobias-Green
Are you locking down with a pet?
We’re locked down with our cat Stevey. He’s a house cat and doesn’t do much during normal times so really, it’s no different for him. He’s taken to vocalising a lot lately so we are trying to work out if there’s a pattern to what he’s saying and if we need to listen out for underlying messages. We think, on the whole, the answer to both is No.