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Ms Carole Burns 

Head of Creative Writing

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Southampton English lecturer announced winner of the Ploughshares Zacharis Award

Ms Carole Burns is the Head of Creative Writing in English at the University of Southampton.

A former journalist who continues free-lance reviewing for The Washington Post, and a graduate from Columbia University’s MFA program in Fiction Writing, I find this blend of fiction and non-fiction continues to be reflected in my work and writing.

My first book developed through these dual passions.  Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between (Norton 2008) looks at elements of the craft of fiction (place, voice, character, experimentation) through my interviews with 43 leading writers including A.S. Byatt, Colm Tóibín, Andrea Levy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Tobias Wolff and Stuart Dybek.  The book was reviewed or featured on the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Irish Public Radio and National Public Radio in the U.S. More information is available on my Web site:

My collection of short stories, The Missing Woman, is being published by Parthian Books in April 2015.  A story from the collection is being published in August 2014 by Ploughshares.  Others have been published in Other Voices and Puerto del Sol, nominated for a Pushcart Award, or won the Mary Roberts Rinehart National Award in Fiction.  I am currently working on a novel.

I have been awarded grants to support my writing from Arts Council England and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, as well as residencies at The MacDowell Colony, The Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  I held a year-long visiting fellowship in 2008 at the University of Virginia Center for Humanities in Medicine to research the character of a cardiologist in my novel.

I was appointed Head of Creative Writing within English at the University of Southampton in February 2014.  Before this I was a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader of the MA Creative and Critical Writing at the University of Winchester (2006 to 2012); and Lecturer in Creative Writing and Cardiff Metropolitan University (2012- 2013).  I previously worked as a journalist for The Washington Post and The New York Times.

I have been External Examiner for MA Writing the Visual at the Norwich University of the Arts (2011-12).  I am a member of the Higher Education Association and the Association of Writers and Writing Programmes (AWP). 

Research interests

I would welcome applications from prospective postgraduates to work with me on creative writing, specifically fiction, both the short story and the novel, as well as creative non-fiction.  I am particularly interested in aspects of narrative craft; the creative and critical in both fiction and non-fiction; and fiction that delves into other disciplines.

While my own work concentrate on short fiction and the novel,  in addition, I am co-curator on another on-going project, Imagistic: Flash Fiction and Image, with the artist Paul Edwards.  This international project, which pursues our joint interest in image and word, involves writers – such as Philip Gross, Patrick McGuinness, Joanna Scott, Rhian Edwards and Richard Gwyn -- writing flash fiction that is a response to work by artists including Shani Rhys James, Kevin Sinnott, Harry Holland, Maja Spasova and Janet Passehl.  Excerpts and images from this project can be viewed at

I am co-founder and co-organiser of XX Women’s Writing Festival in Cardiff, funded by the Arts Council of Wales, which aims to celebrate the work of women writers in the UK and internationally.  Our guests have included A.L. Kennedy, MsLexia editor Debbie Taylor and Virago editor Lennie Goodings.

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The Missing Woman & Other Stories, to be published by Parthian Books in April 2015.  Stories from this collection have appeared in Ploughshares, Puerto del Sol, Other Voices.

Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between, published by W.W. Norton in 2008.  Reviewed or featured on the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Irish Public Radio and National Public Radio in the U.S.


“Before Letting Go,” Ploughshares, Autumn 2014

“The Space Between: The Relationship between Image
and Narrative in ‘Imagistic’”, in VaroomLab Journal, Issue 2, 2013

Reviews and interviews in The Washington Post



Book Chapter

  • Burns, C., & Llewelyn, B. (2015). Long division. In B. Llewelyn (Ed.), Secondary Character and Other Stories Cardiff, GB: Opening Chapter.



I currently teach Great Writers Steal: Creative Writing and Critical Thinking, which looks at how writers respond both creative and critically to work by other writers, as well as Brief Encounters: Writing Short Stories.  I am developing an MA module in Creative Non-Fiction as well as a module in Interdisciplinary Writing, which would examine how creative writing draws from science, the arts, or other fields of study.

Ms Carole Burns
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2041

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