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Novelist graduates with a PhD

Published: 14 July 2010
Christian DeFeo

The first student to graduate from the Humanities with a PhD in creative writing will leave with both a doctorate and a published novel.

Christian DeFeo’s book Mister Shah is the fruit of many years research into a subject that has long fascinated him; the story of a Pakistani man wrongly accused of terrorism. Expert help from his supervisor Professor Aamer Hussein helped him explore the issues and work through his ideas.

“Writing this novel has taken up much of my life, I can hardly believe it is almost over,” he says. “I shall only be convinced when I receive my certificate at the ceremony.”

The New Yorker believes he is following a family tradition by becoming a novelist.

“My Norwegian grandfather was an expressive and masterful story teller; perhaps I have inherited some of his talents,” he says. Completing his PhD at Southampton has taken almost three years: “My enthusiasm never dampened but it was hard work; there were times when I was very tired but kept on going. I even had flu during my viva!”

The book jacket of Mister Shah was designed by Winchester School of Art students Andrew Reaney and Danny James Quanstrom. The novel is available through Green Sunset Books, a publisher for new and established writers which specialises in travel writing and narratives about different cultures.

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