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The University of Southampton
English Part of Humanities

Thomas Brown BA English 2010, MA Creative Writing 2013, PhD Creative Writing 2018

Author, Storyteller, Head of Content

Thomas Brown's Photo

"I still remember visiting Avenue Campus for the first time. I pottered down corridors lined with workstations into archives filled with books. Lunch was held in the central courtyard. It was a beautiful day and I knew I’d feel at home here. Months later, I found myself standing outside halls, my head heavy with expectations, my hair with wet-look gel, my arms with a large crate of beer.

I’ve always loved writing, but it’s at Southampton that I discovered how much I love learning about writing, developing as each of us must develop if we’re to succeed in our chosen field.

If it was Avenue Campus that first endeared me to the University, it was the people I met there who made it the best experience of my life. I lived with two of my Hartley Grove flatmates for three more years before we finally parted ways, and I made other lifelong friends from all walks of life. I still talk with pride about the doctors I know, the psychologists, the teachers, friends who are making their mark in the world with the skills they learned here.

I studied Creative Writing modules in my second and third years of BA English Literature. The availability of these modules was one of the main reasons I chose to study English at Southampton. They furthered my passion for storytelling and equipped me with the skills and mindset necessary for professional publication. It was these modules that inspired me to study Creative Writing at postgraduate level and helped shape the direction of my PhD.

I’ve always loved writing, but it’s at Southampton that I discovered how much I love learning about writing, developing as each of us must develop if we’re to succeed in our chosen field.

For as long as I can remember, storytelling has been my way of expressing myself. Writing is therapeutic, a means of making sense of the world, or if not making sense of it then navigating it at least. From the first stories I wrote as a thirteen-year-old boy to the collection I recently compiled for my doctorate thesis, the fiction I write is rooted in this understanding.

When not writing fiction, I also head up the content team at an award-winning inbound marketing agency outside Oxford. Brand storytelling presents its own set of challenges, but as a result of my experiences at the University I’m well-equipped to address them. Today’s consumers demand authenticity. A brand’s story can communicate this. Show, don’t tell.

If you’re considering studying Creative Writing at Southampton, the best advice I can offer is to find a balance between work and play. The tendency can be to lock yourself in the library, but writing is about living as much as it’s about exploring life through literature. So remember to live as well as write; spend time with your friends, be social, dance, and make the most of your experiences in this wonderful city so that you’re better informed to write about them.

It’s now eleven years and two months since I first traipsed up the stairs to Hartley Grove. I walk away from Southampton a doctor but also a more passionate storyteller, because this is how I count the beats of each day, in work and in life. Now, where’s that crate of beer?"

In 2010, Thomas won the University of Southampton’s Flash Fiction Competition for his story, ‘Crowman’. In 2014 he won the Almond Press Short Story Competition, ‘Broken Worlds’. In the same year, his novel LYNNWOOD (Sparkling Books, 2013) was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize. He has since published a second novel, FEATHERBONES (Sparkling Books, 2016) and is currently working on completing his third.

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