Ghosting Through: Ficto-Critical Translation as a Means of Resisting the Appropriations of History and Place

Lead Research Organisation: Northumbria University
Department Name: Fac of Arts, Design and Social Sciences


Through a 'ficto-critical' combination of experimental fictional techniques, archival research, and investigations into relevant areas of cultural theory, this project explores ways in which we can challenge the tendency to control and domesticate implicit in attempts to understand past and place.

This broad research question is grounded in a case study focused on the haunting of a public house in a small Northumberland village, and the witch trial associated with the ghost. The project frames the haunting and the history informing it within a self-reflective account of the process of recreating historical events and contemporary constructions of place.

It does this by positioning the researcher as a character in the work. A recent migrant from South Africa, he tries to write himself into the 'Englishness' of his new location by investigating the ghost story. The ghost is that of Anne Armstrong, a servant who in 1673 accused various residents of Riding Mill and surrounding Northumberland villages of holding witches' meetings in what is now the Wellington Inn. This story is regularly reproduced in ever-shifting versions appearing in everything from tour guides to advertisements for residential properties in the area. Armstrong's charges were apparently dismissed at the Morpeth Assizes - after which she hanged herself or was hanged by those she accused - but her depositions are now considered among the most remarkable texts in the history of English witchcraft. For all their compelling detail, however, Armstrong's accounts fall short of full historical contextualisation. No records of a trial following on from her depositions have been found, which leaves us unsure as to whether her accusations ever came to trial, or whether the trial records have been lost.

Armstrong's story is thus a combination of specific detail and tantalising openness, both in terms of its truth status and historical contextualisation. This project does not contest conventional modes of historical research, but develops complementary modes of understanding in which an analysis of the archival material is played off against current retellings. It is not an exercise in corrective intervention, but an exploration of the complex ways in which a specific place constructs its past. The ghost becomes a centre of absence which holds at bay any authoritative control over the story.

The public house is resonant with peculiar aspects of 'Englishness', as is the widespread alleged haunting of pubs and inns. The haunting of the Wellington, and the appropriations of the story behind it, thus feed into a contemporary sense of place, ranging from the national to the local. Placed in various conjunctions with the deposition records, this apparently slight ghost story resists the researcher's attempts to know the past, the place in which he has come to live, and his own sense of identity.

The unsettling awareness of the ways in which identities and places are implicated within networks at once contingent and the product of relations of power is reinforced by the constant reminders of 'home' the researcher discovers in a landscape haunted by memorials of Empire. He commits himself to recreating the history behind one statue in particular, that of a British officer killed in the 'Anglo-Boer War'. His efforts are overwhelmed by the ways in which his understanding of history is challenged by the ghost story attached to what has become his 'local', the Wellington Inn. The usual authority accorded to the researcher discovering and giving meaning to his material is tested against his taking shape in relation to that material which is in itself dynamic and fluid in its expression of place, the past, and the present. In crucial ways it is the researcher who is the real 'apparition' in the text.

This is a practice-led research project, and the larger question it takes on is how such material can be worked into a successful work of fiction.

Planned Impact

Who might benefit from this research and how:
Academia: This project is part of my ongoing commitment to developing creative writing as a rigorous subject area in the academy, committed to practice-led research and engagement with other disciplines. The project demonstrates the contribution creative work can make to scholarly processes and methods, whilst embedding these in its own practices.
It is associated with particular areas of expertise in a number of UK universities: history at York and Sunderland, cultural geography at Glasgow, Exeter, and Bristol, and creative writing at a range of institutions. The project has international reach, involving institutions located in areas with which it is concerned and engaging their scholarly expertise: creative writing and historical/geographical research at the universities of the Witwatersrand, Pretoria, and KwaZulu-Natal.
Public and Third Sector: this project will both draw on and contribute research material to the Northumberland Archives.
The Tyne Valley Association of the National Trust is a relatively new and small group actively trying to increase its membership and resources. The Armstrong and Benson connections will be linked to their activities so that the novel and associated public events will encourage membership, donations, and legacies.
Business/Industry: My agent and publisher will gain the financial benefits of publishing a new creative work and book sellers will also profit.
The project will raise the profile of the villages associated with Armstrong and Benson. This will contribute to commercial enterprises, including public houses, B & Bs, shops, heritage associations, crafts people, and the tourist industry.
Intermediaries: The project will feed into the activities of New Writing North, with which I am often involved in literary events, writers in schools projects, and academic programmes.
General Public: Readers will gain cultural experience from reading the novel, and also information about the region, period, and historical characters.
Schools: local schools organise annual visits to the Wellington Inn as part of regional awareness programmes. Currently this consists of loose anecdotal accounts. I will supply more accurate and engaging material. I will help teachers prepare level-appropriate learning activities.
The memorials to Col. Benson are ignored through over-familiarity and the absence of information. This project will revive public interest in his place in regional and international history. I will also link various military heritage associations in the UK with those in South Africa with a view to developing appropriate heritage activities around the site of his death (currently unmarked)..
I will ensure engagement with this research by:
-speaking at writing workshops/courses, literary festivals, and public lectures;
-connecting to relevant Twitter, Blog, and Facebook links and developing a Fellowship section within my personal website;
-working with my agents and publishers to disseminate the novel through launches; entering it for awards; media-related work; and soliciting reviews;
-aiming one of the proposed journal articles at creative writing practitioners inside as well as outside the academy;
-participating in writing/research speaking engagements and workshops in association with the Tyne Valley Association of the National Trust and the Hexham Local History Society.
I will monitor the effect of these impact activities, asking for feedback on a three-monthly basis from contacts within associated organisations and my academic advisors, and collecting social networking statistics.
Track record: My last work of historical fiction won a major literary prize, was widely reviewed, and had a significant impact in the various communities central to the historical material it covers. This included participating in a South African government-sponsored community development programme and tourist/heritage initiatives.


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Description The project undertaken under the auspices of this AHRC Fellowship consisted of practice-led research in the form of a novel (with several self-reflective scholarly journal papers to disseminate the findings of my work to an academic audience) in which I attempt to engage with one of the most fundamental questions of historicism: how does one represent the past without simply appropriating it to one's own position?

The project is 'practice-led' in that the activity of creating is the primary research method, with critical understanding being drawn from investigating that practice. In the writing of The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong (to be published by Goldsmiths Press, and imprint of MIT Press, in late 2018) my intention is to challenge the tendency within a wide variety of uses of history to control and domesticate the past in the act of 'knowing' it? I ask if we can we make of the past something both resistant to being appropriated by our own positioning - the 'present', for want of a better word - and yet relevant enough to relate meaningfully to it?

The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong not so much a historical novel as a historiographical novel in that it is designed to display an awareness of its own constructedness and open ways for a critical reflection on exoticizing approaches to the past; it involves finding the relevance of the past in the resistance it presents to directly instrumental uses of historical knowledge. As such, it counters the tendency of privileging uses of the past that may be more obviously applied to current circumstances, seeking instead ways in which the radical 'otherness' of the past can challenge the present, and so provoke a deeper understanding of past, present, and future. In doing so, it concentrates on the ways in which the significance of the past for the present can be improved by an awareness of just how strange and foreign history grasped in all its fullness is to our contemporary understanding. Such disruptive interventions prevent an easy assimilation of the past into our present decision making and cultural practice, sharpening our awareness of the profound effects of the past and in this way deepening our understanding of current societal questions.

In addition to these larger historiographical/fictional questions, the novel has been developed in relation to several years of extensive original research, involving several major archives in the UK and South Africa (including The National Archives and the Northumberland Archives at Woodhorn, numerous local museums, newspaper collections, and the records of public houses) as well as extensive field research in the relevant areas of Northumberland and the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. This has been carried out along with a thorough investigation of the necessary areas of fictional and historiographical theory and practice and an extensive literature review aimed at finding the appropriate creative form for the material with which the novel is concerned.

The novel represents the heart of the practice-led research; testing though the research into content often was, the overall aim of this project was to cast this material in an experimental, metafictional mode which also served to represent the historical subjects in a challenging, non-exploitative way (as far as possible, finding the voices of the two major historical figures). This has, also, to find its place within the commercial publishing industry (something with which I am still occupied), and engage contemporary readers.

The scholarly papers listed below (already presented at the conferences noted during the process of their being written and refined) reflect upon and disseminate the issues raised above at considerably more length. This is however ultimately a practice-led project, in which the scholarly papers act as a form of self-reflexive commentary on the creative work, The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong.

That said, the publication of the novel by Goldsmiths Press will include a number of appendices placing the work as a practice-led project, and acting as guidance for other researchers and PGR students engaged in practice research projects. These also sets out a creative framework for the above concerns as they emerge in the novel, a work based on evidence given in a deposition (drawn from the original housed in The National Archives) given by Anne Armstrong, a fourteen-year-old servant girl from a small village in Northumberland, between February and May 1672-3 in the Tyne Valley region of Northumberland. A representative passage from the novel follows, based on a deposition given by Armstrong in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, before Justice Ralph Jenison, Esquire:

How could I tell them, there in that big, echoing hall, the crush of people behind me, the stern face in front, the never ending scratching of the pen every time I breathed a word, how could I tell them what it was to die, to die again and again. All they wanted to know is what happened, and so I told them what happened.

When I was lying dead - 'lying as dead,' as your Clerk has written - which had come upon me one night a little before Christmas, I was on the floor, paralysed, unable to move, or lift myself, to do anything as myself, unable even to be myself, when at the door the darkness began to coalesce, to gather itself into a shape. I lay there, suddenly all too aware of myself, a self helpless, naked (despite the modesty of my shift), exposed, open to anything anyone chose to do. But every sense was quivering, all the more alert through not serving me, sight, hearing, touch, tasting and smelling even, all reaching out into the blackness of the night - it was, I remember, shall never forget, about the change of the moon - desperate to know something of what was moving about now in the murk of the room.

And then that drifting concentration of the dark took on a form, a human form, the form of a woman, and there, kneeling down towards me, a hand reached out to smooth my hair, another followed to join it in holding my head, turning it, looking at it - yes, looking at it, as the outlines of a countenance now became visible, eyes a faint glow, the mouth a terrible smile forming, and then a full face came into focus, the face of Anne Forster.

Yes, it was Anne Forster who now lifted my head, gently at first, and then suddenly so firmly that I, for the first time since falling into the fit, felt a sensation, a physical sensation - and it was pain.

The pain of the rough leather of a headpiece being pulled over my head, catching at my thin hair as it was tugged behind my ears; the scratch of the cheekpieces along either side of my face, the cold of the bit rings against the edges of my mouth. Then came the strangle of the throatlatch as it was yanked underneath my jaw, the tightening of the browband across my forehead. And I was not to be spared the noseband, suffocating me as it was pulled under my nostrils and forced my mouth closed. Then, of course, the bit: my strapped mouth forced open, the metal bar pushed in between my teeth until it pressed up against whatever made up the inside corners of my mouth, gum or flesh or muscle, I had never thought to think which, knowing now only how easily hurt this hidden place is, how much an animal must do whatever the force applied there tells it to do.

And then I was pulled up to my feet, a beast entirely at the mercy of that leather and steel.

Anne Forster sprang to my back, turning my head first this way and then that with the reins. She had need of those reins, because she could not use her legs to press into me, or hammer me with her heels; no, a dame, a lady was Anne Forster as she sat upon me cross-legged, and rode me out into the night.

I could do no more than snuffle and roll my eyes as the crownpiece rubbed against my ears, the browband being too short, the cheekpieces too, so that the bit pulled the corners of my horse's mouth and banged against my teeth. The throatlatch was not adjusted properly either, interfering with my breathing as I flexed. Even I, a maid of all work, knew that the width of three or four fingers should be able to fit between a throatlatch and a horse's cheek.

But all my pain and discomfort did was ensure that my rider's wishes were clear, all the more clear for the ill-fitting bridle.
So we moved through the dark, with hardly any sense of touching the ground.

'"... rid upon this informant cross-legged....,"' said Justice Jenison, his voice rising in disbelief. 'You mean you became this animal, this horse, and she rode upon your back? Come now, girl, come now.'

When you are ridden you are a horse, I wanted to say.

But all I said was what happened: she rode upon me cross-legged until we came to a clearing deep in the woods. There I could hear the rush of water, which I knew we could not cross. But my rider did not hesitate, and pulled my head to guide me to a narrow stone pack bridge over a burn.

Once we had crossed, she lit off my back. Here are my companions, she said, and this is where we meet, here at Riding Mill bridge-end. Then, none too gently, she pulled the bridle off my head - over the poll, I nearly said, my head still being in the likeness of a horse. But when the bridle was taken off, I stood up in my own shape.

Stood up, embarrassed at having been on my hands and knees, and looked around, and saw Anne Forster standing with Anne Dryden of Prudhoe, and Lucy Thompson of Mickley, and ten more who I did not know, all looking at me and smiling in the dark, their moist lips glistening around the whiteness of their teeth, their eyes a dull shine.

But worse still, behind them, mounted on a bay horse, was a tall man in all in black, or a black man, I should say, his darkness going deeper than his clothes. And that horse, who knew from what human form divine it had been transformed. The steam from its nostrils floated out into the night air as it pawed and pranced.

Bay, you say, interrupted the Justice, bay? How could you see the horse's colour in the dark?

But I was not to be stopped by such a detail. Bay, as I thought, I said. I thought from its stout build, its small, flat head, its wide, deep chest, that this was a Galloway. Galloways are usually of that colour, reddish-brown or dark, with black points, and the legs too, usually black.

She knows her work horses, said the Justice, as much to himself as the Clerk, who looked uncertain what to write. Seeing no guidance from the Justice, he put down: 'and a long black man riding on a bay galloway, as she thought.' This, he decided, was quite enough, and looked up.

Which they called their Protector, I said, speaking directly to the man writing my words down. He looked confused, so I added: The sable man on the bay Galloway, which they called their Protector.

Their Protector? The Justice looked at me sharply. Do you mean by this the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth?
I shook my head. Which they called their Protector, I repeated.
Remember, girl, His Majesty is back upon his throne, he said. Their 'Protector,' then; go on, what did these people do, with their 'Protector' on his bay galloway.

I regretted the detail now, the colour and breed of the horse, but I could not stop myself. I had to tell what I saw, how I saw it. I moved on, as quickly as I could, it becoming clear now that I was exhausting what little attention I had gained. And when they had hanked their horses they stood all upon a bare spot of ground, and asked me to sing.

Oh, but just to say it like that, 'bid this informer sing' as they would read back to me, and not to be able to talk about the churning of the darkness with shapes forming and shifting, turning in a circle all around me, faces breathing out a hiss of words and hands pointing and prodding, feeling my hair, touching my face, pulling at my shift and saying all the time, sing, sing us song, the sssss's drawn out thin and cutting into the air.

And then lifting my voice in a cracked keen:

O, I shall go into a hare
With sorrow and sighing and mickle care,
And I shall go in the Devil's name
Aye, till I be fetchèd hame.

Yes, yes, the sibilance filling my ears, that is the song: go on, go on.

And I went on, not knowing where the words came from, or such tune as I could manage, my throat stretched to clear itself of the press of the throatlatch, the corners of my mouth sore where the bit had cut against them. And as I did so, the circle broke up from around me, spread out over the bare ground of the bridge end, the figures each swirling out into a dance of their own.

Hare, take heed of a bitch greyhound
Will harry thee all these fells around,
For here I come in Our Protector's name
All but for to fetch thee hame.

And now the chorus, come, the chorus, they called, clapping, gyring floating back towards me with their faces in mine, muggy warm breath on my cold, sore cheeks, the chorus they said, joining in on words I had never known I knew:

Cunning and art she did not lack
But aye his whistle would fetch her back.

And without choice the next verse, rushing out of my mouth, half the twirling forms singing with me, the dancing shapes smudged and smeared, black against black, blurring into other shapes, many shapes whilst I sang, first, a hare, then human again, male or female one could not tell, and then a hound, later a cat, sometimes a mouse, and other shapes I could not tell or now remember. And all the time, my voice, crying and straining for the notes, now with the other half of the dancers singing with me,

Trout, take heed of an otter lank
Will harry thee close from bank to bank,
For here I come in Our Protector's name
All but for to fetch thee hame.

I hardly knew what I was singing, although I felt the terror of trying to escape, of changing shape from one form of prey to another only to find my pursuer changing too, changing each time into my natural predator.

My audience, dancing and singing in this dark place where I could see they often met, were laughing when each twist and turn of the quarry was more than matched by the transformations of the hunter, they too swirling through the shapes, pouncing on each other, squirming away or tearing at each other, depending upon which shape they were in.

Cunning and art she did not lack
But aye his whistle would fetch her back,

they chanted, again and again, turning each time to the tall, dark man, still mounted, but still, so still, except for giving every now and then a nod of his head in acknowledgement.
Wilder and wilder it became, the spinning and swirling and singing and shouting, and then, just as my voice began to give way entirely, the last harsh croaks of verse and chorus cutting at my throat like broken glass, the shapes began to settle, first into the various animals, and then, as their dancing slowed, into human forms, although forms I would shudder to meet again, even those I could now see again as Ann Forster, Anne Dryden, and Lucy Thompson.

I bowed my head as the singing stopped, jerking it up as Ann Forster approached me, bridle in hand. But by then I was too tired, too sore, too scared to do more than accept the bridle and the bit, stand mute and still as all was tugged into place, and I was mounted.

I took my place then in the dreadful cavalcade of humans and horses, and who was to say which was which, with the dark man on his galloway at the head procession as he led it over the pack bridge, the tumble of water from the mill race now loud again in the silence following on the end of our ceremony, the sweat and steam rising off us into the cold, the trees swallowing us up into their denser blackness. And then, one by one, beasts and riders broke away, each in their own direction, Ann Forster and myself too as she rode me back to Burtree House, where she left me crumpled and weeping on the floor in my own shape, soaked and shivering.

You see, she said, in a last reprise of that terrible song, I have fetched thee hame.

Silence had fallen as I told all this, the Justice sitting still, the Clerk managing only certain words, surely not all I had to say, even the people pressing in behind me for their turn, all having fallen quiet, listening to my words.

Anne Armstrong's charges were apparently dismissed, both on this occasion and when she repeated and extended them, first at the Morpeth Easter Quarter Session, and then before a variety of Justices primarily in the Tyne Valley area for a number of months thereafter (I have traced and worked through all the original depositions, their not entirely accurate transcriptions, and all the scholarly work done on them thus far). There is no record of any arrests, prosecutions or indeed of any of these pre-trial depositions making it to court, and it appears that after her the last of her increasingly desperate attempts to get a hearing, she hanged herself or, possibly, was hanged by those she accused.

In trying to find a way of telling her story, accessing the voice that was ignored and now lost, I find myself up against the question Hilary Mantel asks in her review of a work on female saints: 'Can we find any imaginative connection with women like Gemma Galgani? When you look at her strange life, you wonder what kind of language you can use to talk about her' (2004: 14). How we write about those things that seem beyond us in their strangeness, their otherness, their resistance to our understanding, without being dismissive or reductive? For me Anne, as an historical figure - female, young, illiterate, from a marginalised part of a marginalised region and what was in effect then an underclass - presented a meaningful challenge to the authorities of her in time and continues to challenge us as she resists our attempts to 'understand' her, know her, possess her, yet constantly returns to haunt the present as she forces us to reconsider what it is we know and how we know it.
At the heart of the piece is Anne's answer to Justice Jenison when he asks if she really means that she was transformed into a horse; Anne's response, as I have constructed it, sidesteps entirely the usual historical and contemporary responses to such questions, turning as they do in the present on scepticism, superstition, reduced mental capacity, or historical reductionisms of one kind or another. 'When you are ridden you are a horse,' Anne wants to say, but she eschews even this, insisting - and believing, for all we know - that she is telling only what actually happened.

In this I am attempting to answer too Mantel's rhetorical question quoted above, and on something like her terms. 'You have to look the saints in the face,' she says, 'say how the facts of their lives revolt and frighten you, but when you have got over being satirical and atheistical, and saying how silly it all is, the only productive way is the one the psychologist Pierre Janet recommended, early in the 20th century: first, you must respect the beliefs that underlie the phenomena' (2004:15).

As a writer my primary interest is in the intersection of history and fiction, and this, for me, means taking both history and fiction seriously. As a writer of fiction, I wish never to trivialize the historical, or even have matters of evidence both ways - serving the fiction when I wish at one time, and history at another. It is my work as a writer of fiction to place each in a serious relation to the other, so that a kind of truth emerges that is never satisfied by either, but illustrates how constantly truth is generated and re-generated, without ever being merely relative to a given historical moment or discursive strategy.

It is to this in both content and form that 'Ghosting Through' aspires in its address of history to the present.

Anne Armstrong, Anne (1672-3). Evidence given before Justice Ralph Jenison, Esquire, on February 5 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. PRO, ASSI 45/10/3/34

Mantel, Hilary (2004). "Some Girls Want Out", London Review of Books, 4 March, 14-18.

The scholarly papers acing as self-reflexive commentaries on the creation of this practice-led research include:

1. Addressed an international symposium, 'Reading the Present through the Past: Forms and Trajectories of Neo-Historical Fiction' on 4 March 2016, The Netherlands Research School for Literary Studies, University of Amsterdam. The paper I delivered, 'Ghosting Through: Appropriation and Resistance in the Contemporary Historiographical Novel' drew directly on research related to my Fellowship.

2. Attended and presented a paper at the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language conference in Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 2016. Paper entitled 'Ghosting Through: Migrancy and Memorialisation'. This paper is one of two reflexive commentaries on my current major practice-led research project, the novel 'The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong', the major book-length output produced out of the work done under my AHRC Fellowship.
I have recently finalised this paper, and submitted it in response to the following call for publication by the conference organisers: 'We propose a special issue of Matatu: Journal for African Culture and Society (a Brill publication) called "Reading our Ruins: Dialogues between Inner and Outer Realms" to reflect some of the thinking that marked the event. Conference organiser and editor Dr Shaun Viljoen, in a communication on 09 March 2018, let me know the paper has been accepted for publication, and that I will receive formal confirmation shortly.

3. I accepted an invitation to serve as a partner on an AHRC New Historical fiction network bid (PIs Sally O'Reilly, Open University and Susanna Jones, Royal Holloway College). Invited to serve as one of 'four key network members' in a project involving writers of historical fiction and historians. Submission in mid to late 2017.
2018: This bid was unsuccessful, but participating in it led to very useful networking in the area of historical fiction as practice-led research.

4. I have accepted the invitation to submit an entry on 'Creative Writing' in the Glossary being prepared by the AHRC Translating Cultures team, the theme under which I was awarded my research fellowship Ghosting Through: Ficto-Critical Translation as a Means of Resisting the Appropriations of History and Place was awarded. This is one of the outputs aimed at drawing together findings from 'Translating Cultures' and providing a showcase for research aimed at a number of different audiences, and my submission will be made by the deadline of 30 March 2018 to start appearing online in 2018.

5. I submitted a paper which was accepted and delivered at the conference COETZEE & THE ARCHIVE, 5-6 October 2017 (at which Prof Coetzee was present), held at the School of Advanced Study, IES, Senate House, University of London. I presented a paper entitled 'Coetzee, the Archive, and Practice-Led Research' which drew directly on research related to my Fellowship and have since submitted it for publication (by the deadline of 15 March 2018) in one of two proposed publications: one edited collection with a scholarly press (Bloomsbury have already expressed interest) and a special issue of a journal, to be decided.

6. On Reflection: conference panel and papers.
Assoc. Prof Tony Williams and I presented a panel at the inaugural English Association conference 'English: Shared Futures in July 2017.' Our presentation consisted of three related papers on the 'On Reflection' theme: a co-authored position paper and two related case studies from recent work we've been doing individually. The full-length case studies serve as illustrations of the more general position taken in the co-written paper. My paper drew directly on work done under the auspices of my AHRC Fellowship.
Our aim is to present the three papers as a grouped publication: enquiries have been made to Text, and the editor (Nigel Krauth) has approved this in principle. Submission date March 2018.
Introductory co-authored position paper: 'On Reflection: Rethinking the role, rationale, mode, and medium of the reflective component of practice-led research.' This is a scholarly article of roughly 8000 words. My section (4248 words) is finalised for submission; my co-presenter's is to be completed by late February 2018.
Single-authored Case Study (Michael Green): 'Reflection and Reflexivity: The Archive and The Creative Process'. Scholarly article, 8026 words. Finalised for submission in March 2018.
Exploitation Route Once the work has appeared in print, I trust it will be reviewed (as my previous work has been in major publications such as the TLS), presented at public readings, book groups and literary festivals.

The papers submitted to relevant scholarly journals will also disseminate my findings arising from this practice-led research to the broader academic community.

I should note that on the basis of this award I was Invited by the AHRC to be a presenter at a PRC-ECRs event for the English discipline group at Royal Holloway, 8 November 2013. The event has two aims: (1) to understand the current position of English from a peer reviewer's perspective; and (2) to support ECR development in respect of applying for grants. I was asked to speak to my experience of and success in securing AHRC funding and my career path to date, to include Leadership. Travel and accommodation organised by the AHRC.

I was also invited to speak as a successful grant holder at the Northumbria University event presented by Professor Charles Forsdick, the AHRC Leadership Fellow for Translating Cultures, 14 January 2015.

Again, as a result of this award, Lancaster University invited me to help them review their research process and strategies in Creative Writing, attending in consultation 25 and 26 September, 2014.
Sectors Creative Economy,Education

Description The publication, 'Ghosting Through: Commemorating George Elliott Benson', which appeared in The Hexham Historian 24, 2014, was commissioned by the Hexham Local History Society for a public audience. Even though the main work produced under my Fellowship, 'The Ghosting of Anne Armstrong' has not yet appeared in print (it is due out with Goldsmiths Press in late 2018), I have been invited to read at a number of relatively high profile public events from this work (over and above those listed in the Engagement Activities section.) These include: 1. Invited by the Open University's Contemporary Cultures of Writing research group to speak in a public seminar series on New Historical Fiction in the 21st century at Senate House, London (in collaboration with the Institute of English Studies), 21 October 2014. My reading was taken from creative work developed under the auspices of my Fellowship. 2. Invited by Prof Derek Attridge to read at Zoë Wicomb ; the Translocal- a scholarly and public event hosted by the University of York's Departments of English and Related Literature and History, University of York, 13-14 September 2012. Creative Writing Readings by Michael Cawood Green, Elleke Boehmer, Brian Chikwava, Patrick Flanery, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee. ( My reading was taken from creative work developed under the auspices of my Fellowship. 3. I read from work developed under the auspices of my Fellowship at a public event entitled, 'Creative Passions: celebrating literature in portraits and words', an evening of readings by authors featured in a series of photographs by Donna-Lisa Healy, at the Literature and Philosophical Society, Newcastle, 29 February 2012.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Creative Economy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

Description A Lit & Phil Fundraising event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Creative Passions @ the Lit and Phil
WEDNESDAY 29TH | 7.00pm | £2*
Northumbria Creative Writing Staff read from their work:
A Lit & Phil Fundraising event inspired Donna-
Lisa Healy to start a photographic project
to help the Library. Donna-Lisa invited some
of the many authors, poets, playwrights and
publishers who have a connection with the
Lit & Phil to be involved, and captured their
images within the Library. CreativePassions
comprises 56 portraits and is more than just a
snapshot of a year in the life of the Society.
It is a record of the diversity of individuals
and activity that is so much part of the Lit &
Phil's raison d'être: an independent space for thinking, conversation and creativity.

Both the photographic exhibition (which included a photograph of myself as a regional author, and the public reading by the Northumbria Creative Writing staff which included myself (reading from work developed under the auspices of my fellowship) , initiated good discussion and feedback sessions around creative practice locally, regionally, and nationally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
Description A presentation of new creative writing from Northumbria University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This evening of readings celebrated new developments in Creative Writing at Northumbria University. It featured work by members of staff who have recently joined the faculty, including the novelist Fiona Shaw and the poets Sophie Robinson and Ira Lightman. There were also be contributions by staff who are well known to many in the area, including the scriptwriter Steve Chambers, the novelist Andrew Crumey and poets and short fiction writers Pauline Hughes, Tony Williams and Ian Davidson.
Audience engagement included discussions about new and on-going creative practice as well as interest in studying creative writing further at postgraduate level.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description Public reading of creative work 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Creative Writing staff (including myself, reading from work developed under the auspices of my Fellowship) and recent graduates of the MA Creative Writing programme read from their own work at the Lit Fl in Cities & Citizens, a series of free public events that took place across Newcastle city centre between 12th - 22nd November 2015 as part of the Being Human Festival. The events are run by academics from Northumbria University in partnership with: The Lit & Phil, Tyneside Cinema, The Mining Institute, Newcastle Castle, Laing Art Gallery, and Tyne and Wear Museums.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015