MA Portfolio FINISHED & Research in Ireland

Ah, the big news is I handed in my portfolio (aka dissertation) for my MA in Creative and Life and Writing at Goldsmiths — and am now DONE with all the requirements for that course!  The deadline was at 4pm, and I handed it in at 3:45.  (I consider this progress: as an undergraduate, I would have been frantically racing down the department corridor at 3:59.)

Here’s a nice literary shot of my final portfolio, with some of the random books that influenced it.   However, I think I’m most proud of somehow managing to cite the Moscow car chase scene from The Bourne Supremacy in my Critical Commentary.

The portfolio was comprised entirely of extracts from my upcoming novel, Dark Chapter, which I have been researching heavily this summer. In August, I made my second 2014 trip to Belfast and ended up staying for nearly two weeks, living with a very hospitable family on the Falls Road and hanging out at the Feile an Phobail, the annual West Belfast arts festival.  Lots of great debate and discussion, where I got to learn more about the fascinating (and harrowing) history of that part of Belfast, plus literary readings and a very diverse line-up of musical acts.  There’s nothing quite like watching Boyzone perform in a circus tent, when you’re in a crowd of 4,000 Irish women going mental!

More importantly, the trip was a really genuine way to soak up the atmosphere of West Belfast, where much of my novel is set.  I had a lot of illuminating conversations with forensic psychologists, social workers, solicitors, community organizers, the West Belfast Partnership Board, the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland, the Probation Board, the Belfast Travellers Support Program, and I went to visit The Rowan, the spanking new SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) in Antrim, which serves all of Northern Ireland. Now I just have to make sure all this somehow makes it in to my novel.  Wish me luck!