Leila Howl

MA Creative Writing 2016-18

Leila Howl

On Friday 16 February I attended the Verve Poetry Festival in Birmingham for the first time, courtesy of Birmingham City University (BCU) who had sponsored the event and offered free tickets to students. Staged amongst the hardcovers on the second floor of Waterstones Birmingham, it featured the poets Mir Mahfuz Ali, Karen McCarthy Woolf and Sasha Dugdale.

Jo Bell, chairing the event, opened by asking the three readers who their ‘desert island poet’ would be – and as Jo observed, each chose a poet reflective of their own talents and interests. Mir Mahfuz Ali named Rabindranath Tagore, admiring his ability to find depth in the simplest subjects, though regretting that translation does not do justice to his verse. Sasha Dugdale chose Pushkin, another poet better appreciated in the original, who would offer many years of reading material, while Karen McCarthy Woolf preferred the more concise work of Louise Glück, commending her hypnotic, lyrical style built on a range of complex structures. Karen added that if she were to take a poet simply as a companion, though, her choice would be Joy Harjo, who after she heard Karen make wolf noises at a sound check invited her to travel to America, dance around a fire and howl at the moon together! Continue Reading

Creative Writing, Drama, English, Language, Literature

by Mesha Pope, 3rd year student


“I hide them in bowls under the bed. Packets of Marks and Spencer’s crisps, Kettle Chips… Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar, they’re the best ones.”

Uplifted. Nostalgic. Heartbroken.

Just three of the varied emotions I felt whilst watching the wonderful Maria Ferguson. Fat Girls Don’t Dance was both hilarious and heart-warming in equal measure. She describes herself as being a ‘chubby kid’ and so her work exposes her continued struggle with food and how this affected her as an up and coming performer.

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Drama, English, Literature

As our final year students head towards the end of their time with us at University, we asked a few of them to reflect on their journey and experiences with us so far.


sophie and katie eng blog 1

BA (Hons) English Literature student Sophie and BA (Hons) English and Drama student Katie answer a few questions on their views on the university, their chosen course and their future plans.

Why did you initially apply to study in Birmingham?

Sophie: The city life! I wanted to be near everything.

Katie: I currently live in Wolverhampton and wanted to live at home and commute. I have school friends who chose Birmingham City University and I heard really positive things. I also like how the campus is in the city centre and very accessible.

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