Monique Roffey joined Manchester Metropolitan University as Lecturer in Creative Writing (Fiction) in 2016.
I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and have life-long and ongoing links to Trinidad and the Caribbean region. I come and go a lot and I teach creative writing in Port of Spain as well as the UK. Three of my five novels, The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, Archipelago, and House of Ashes are set in the region. In these books I have drawn on family biography, history, academic research, witness testimony and contemporary life. Most of these books contain an element of what Cuban writer, Alejo Carpentier called lo real maravilloso, or the marvellous real. In short, I am a writer, born in the Caribbean, living half there and half in diaspora, and something of a magical realist. Until now, I have written close to home, the place of my birth.
My memoir, With the Kisses of his Mouth ( 2011) and a new novel The Tryst (early 2017) are linked and form a smaller body of work which examines female sexuality in the early 21st century.
I also write essays and journalism. Writing was a childhood habit which became a practice, which in turn became a vocation and way of life.
I think it's vital that emerging writers spend a period of time as an apprentice, learning their craft. Ideally, this is within a safe peer group, one facilitated by an experienced and working writer. It's an exciting time to be in that zone, when a new writer is growing and learning and she or he is within touching distance of publication. It's an honour to be entrusted with the job of guiding new writers. There is some karma, too, in that early on in my career I was lucky and received much generosity and support from other writers, as well as good teaching. So I'm passing some of this on.
Do the best you can.
Tackle difficult subjects, with great care.
Oh, and slow down.
I teach the workshop on the Novel MA/MFA at MMU. I also teach Reading Novels 1. My creative writing workshop classes are designed to cultivate an awareness of how fiction works on the page. Students' work will be critically examined every week, by the class, and by me. I also provide some taught sessions on various aspects of craft, for example: dramatisation, characterisation and how to capture a first draft. You may be given some reading homework too.
MA, Creative Writing, Lancaster University
PhD, Creative Writing, Lancaster University
I have taught and continue to teach creative writing for many organisations including: The Norwich Writers Centre, City University, The Arvon Foundation, The Writers' Lab, Skyros, English PEN, First Story, and I have led and set up numerous private writing workshops and retreats in Trinidad. I have also been a Centre Director for The Arvon Foundation and worked for Amnesty International.
My research has been based in the Caribbean region over the last ten years. I am interested in outsiders, otherness and exile. My novels have examined the white colonial in the post independence era, the changing environment in the Caribbean, an historic coup d'etat in Trinidad and a new novel, in progress, is a feminist rewriting of an old Caribbean myth.
A Stranger to Tears (in progress)
The Tryst (2017)
House of Ashes (2014)
With the Kisses of his Mouth (2011)
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (2009)
Sun Dog (2002)
I have received two grants from the Arts Council of England (2009 and 2015) and one from The Author's Foundation (2016).
The Costa Fiction Award, 2014 - shortlisted, House of Ashes
The OCM BOCAS Fiction Award, 2014 - shortlisted, House of Ashes
The OCM BOCAS Award for Caribbean Literature, 2013 - overall winner - Archipelago
The Orion Award, 2014 - shortlisted - Archipelago
The Encore Award, 2011 - shortlisted - The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
The Orange Prize, 2010 - shortlisted - The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
I am the first female Caribbean writer with a collection of papers held in the West Indiana Collection of the Alma Jordan Library, University of the West Indies, Trinidad.