Flower growing through cracked wooden plank.

At the start of the summer, as the UK began to emerge from lockdown, we set our English and Creative Writing students a writing brief to look to the future and produce work on the theme of ‘Recovery’. 

This theme could be approached in any way – engaging with the current situation or going beyond it to think about recovery in the context of society, politics and the environment. The writers could think about the recovery of an individual or recovery in a relationship. They could consider recovery from the perspective of the future or the past. Or they could take the subject and do something completely new with it.

The responses to this commission were wide-ranging and varied in their use of form and approach to the subject, showcasing the best of our students’ writing skills.

This commission is part of the School's ongoing employability and placements programme, which aims to provide students with the strongest possible portfolios, CVs and industry experience upon graduating. As well as providing students with paid opportunities to create and develop their practice, we also support students in securing high quality industry placements and internships.

Digging for Voices by Keiran Potter

Born and raised in Plymouth, Keiran is a recent BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing graduate with big dreams of becoming an author as well as writing professionally full time. Until then, Keiran is continuing his studies with an MA in Creative Writing, with intentions to pursue freelance opportunities where possible. His blog KeiranCrying.com is a place where he writes on the topics about which he is most passionate. Frequently covering queer identity, mental health and chronic illness, Keiran hopes that by expressing his experiences through writing he can perhaps help someone else in the process.

Recovery by Jodie White

Jodie is a second-year BA (Hons) English student at the University of Plymouth. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and loves the constant challenge that creative writing gives her. Having been brought up on the South West coast, the range of hues and tones that are often found around the sea inspire her every day, so she could not resist intertwining these elements into her piece on recovery.

Depersonalisation by Michaela Moclair

Michaela is a recent graduate in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing from the University of Plymouth. She has been a television critic for a local newspaper and now spends her time writing in the third person.

The Safe Place by Olivia Humphrey

Olivia is completing her final dissertation (a short story collection focusing on moral philosophy) for her MA in Creative Writing while working alongside it. The Safe Place is a short creative nonfiction piece based on the theme of recovery.

When Things Get Better by Nancy Bluebell Dowman

Nancy has just finished her BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing and is now moving on to study Creative Writing at MA level. She predominantly writes poetry, prose and scripts. This piece is a prose poem, a form that she has been experimenting with and enjoying. With the theme of recovery, Nancy felt motivated to write a poem surrounding current events and life in lockdown. She ended up discussing what people are excited to do in a post-COVID-19 world with some of her friends and was inspired by the things that they missed to write ‘When Things Get Better’. For more on the author and her poems, you can follow her Instagram @bluebellnancy.

Recovery by Richard Ward

Richard Ward, a BA (Hons) Creative and Professional Writing student, lives in Plymouth and, after three diverse careers, has finally found the time to study the art of writing prose and poetry. His hobby of walking ancient pilgrimage routes, such as the Camino de Santiago and Via Francigena, is the inspiration for a collection of poems that he is currently working on that relate to pilgrimage in the modern world. 

Recovery by Shannon Chegwin

Shannon is a second-year BA (Hons) English with History student. She spends much of her spare time working on creative writing pieces, especially during lockdown. The theme of recovery gave her a great opportunity to discuss how the local environment has changed and is still changing during this uncertain time.