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 (July, 2017) are linked and form a smaller, but equally committed, body of work which examines female sexuality. This enquiry is ongoing.
I also write essays and journalism, most recently Turtle Diary, for the 17th International Berlin Literature Festival, and Menage a Trois, an essay for Boundless, a new online magazine dedicated to the literary essay form.
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 creative 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.
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 mostly based in the Caribbean region over the last ten years. I am interested in outsiders, otherness and exile. My novels have examined whiteness and the white colonial in the post independence era (The White Woman on the Green Bicycle), the changing environment in the Caribbean (Archipelago), and an historic coup d'etat in Trinidad (House of Ashes). A new novel, A Stranger to Tears, a feminist rewriting of an old Caribbean myth, examines female jealousy and interracial love.
I am also intersted in female sexuality and desire. Two of my books, The Tryst and With the Kisses of his Mouth, have tracked my personal enquiry for better sex and my journey away from the heteronormative mainstream.
A Stranger to Tears (under UK submission)
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.