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Dial MA for murder

MA Creative Writing graduates return to City to discuss their journey from students to published authors
by Ben Sawtell

They looked pensive as they sat at the front of the hall, staring out at an expectant audience. They knew that the secrets they were about to unleash would captivate, horrify and shock the gathering of the great and good of London's literary and academic worlds. They were here to discuss police corruption, terrorism, sex trafficking and the brutal murder of a clergyman. Crimes that lay bare the dark underbelly of British society.

nullThankfully, the crimes in question were committed more than one hundred years ago. They were the themes taken up by two graduates of City's MA in Creative Writing course, Peter Moore and Bridget O'Donnell, who returned to discuss their recently published novels at an event chaired by Director of the Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) MA Julie Wheelwright.

Peter Moore, who graduated in 2008, revealed that his debut 'Damn His Blood' started as a book about a victim of Shell-shock from World War One: "Much to my annoyance the more I tried to uncover about this man, the more I heard about this murder in Oddingley. However, as the story unraveled the more intrigued I became."

nullA change in emphasis was something that Bridget O'Donnell, who has worked a TV producer on shows such as Crimewatch, discovered too: "I wanted to write about sex trafficking in modern times, but I found during the research that the issue was just too raw, too shocking. Writing about it through the prism of a policeman from Victorian London seemed like a more palatable way of dealing with it. Discovering a real-life character like Inspector Minahan made that possible."

City's MA in Creative Writing has pathways in Novels, Narrative Non-fiction, and Plays & Screenplays. And was the first course of its kind in the UK to require all students to complete a full-length book, play or screenplay.

Find out more about and buy 'Damn his blood' and 'Inspector Minahan makes a stand'

Bridget and Peter will be appearing as the Guilford Festival on 26 October. Find out more here.

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