Senior Lecturer in Creative & Professional Writing
Institute of Humanities
tel: 01905 85 5138
Julie MacLusky is a writer whose work encompasses non-fiction screenwriting, short fiction and journalism. She originally trained as a broadcast journalist with the BBC, where her duties included documentary and rolling news production. She wrote and edited over 900 broadcast features and recorded input from around the world; amongst many other things, she covered both the Gulf War and the death of Princess Diana.
A Rotary Foundation Fellowship enabled Julie to move to California, where she studied for a Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Whilst studying, her script The Date was given a staged reading by actor David Schwimmer (Friends) and she was recruited by director, Louise Hogarth (The Gift, The Panama Deception) as a writer for an independent documentary, Mark Twain’s Forgotten Journey: The Nicaragua Route. After publishing short stories and writing scripts both on commission and on spec, she was recruited to assist in setting up the Writing Division at USC's prestigious School of Cinematic Arts. Whilst there, Julie was responsible for a speaker series that attracted Hollywood film industry professionals including directors Robert Zemeckis, (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump), Peter Weir (Witness, The Truman Show) and Oliver Stone (JFK, Platoon), writer Scott Frank (Marley & Me, Minority Report) and actors including Samuel L Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 2) and Tom Hanks (Apollo 13, Forest Gump).
Julie was then recruited to strengthen the faculty at the Dodge School of Cinematic Arts at Chapman University, where she supervised postgraduate students and judged the annual film festival for student films. She also chaired a panel run by Women in Film that brought together leading screenwriters including Amy Holden Jones (Indecent Proposal, Maid to Order), Gina Wendkos (Princess Diaries, Coyote Ugly) and Shondra Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy) to share their experiences. The student questions to guest speakers inspired Julie to write and publish her book Is there life after film school? to provide aspirant filmmakers with guidance on how to achieve success in this most competitive field. Whilst at Chapman, Julie was also commissioned to develop a documentary, Women in America, by Channel 4 Executive Producer Vincent Beasley, and contributed to the making of another Channel 4 documentary, River Phoenix as an Icon.
In 2004 Julie returned to the UK to take up a position as Lecturer at the University of Bangor, where she continued to focus upon the development of opportunities for her students, setting up an International Film Festival, a literary magazine and a showcase for student and alumni writing.
At the University of Worcester, Julie’s responsibilities have included initial design of the English Language Degree course and, latterly, Creative & Professional Writing. The development of a program of Creative Writing workshops encouraging non-traditional students to consider applying to university influenced her recent research and publication, which has been upon the potential of creative writing to transform the educational experience of students across age groups and abilities.
Julie is working with the West Midlands Writers in Higher Education network to contribute to enhanced opportunities for young writers in the region, hosting the ‘Student Writers Toolkit’ at the University. This event brought commissioning editors and publishers to mix with students and share their knowledge of the creative industries. She also provides seminars in creative writing for students and educators across the region’s primary and secondary education sectors. These seminars, developed with an Education specialist, Dr Robyn Cox, led to publication of a book, Teaching Creative Writing in the Primary School: Delight, Entice, Inspire! designed to transform the way writing is taught in schools. It aims to do this by harnessing the narrative tools of screenwriting to provide a structure for the development and enrichment of student writing. The book also seeks to enable teachers to meet government demands that creativity be reincorporated into the National Curriculum.
Worcestershire Department of Education invited Julie to develop research-based seminars for delivery to educators throughout the area's schools, designed to engage pupils and drive up standards. Kingston University's Department of Education has adopted Julie’s book as a set text and she has delivered postgraduate seminars on the teaching of writing to students.
In her own writing, Julie is working across several genres. This year, one of her short stories was amongst only 6% of the submissions to get through to the Long List for the BBC’s ‘Opening Lines’ short fiction competition. She was also commissioned by the National Trust to research and write a book about the Trust’s Worcester centre property, Greyfriars. Currently she is also working on a genre-based novel that works as an antidote to the more conventional aspects of contemporary Chick Lit. Julie has also been invited to contribute to an inter-disciplinary project, and is writing, in collaboration with Piet Grobler from Illustration, a children's picture book designed to challenge/resist heteronormativity. This is part of an interdisciplinary project initiated by Professor Elizabeth Peel.
Julie's teaching reflects her research and she contributes, for example, to modules on Introduction to Writing, Writing for Children, Writer as Researcher and final year, Independent Studies with a focus upon Creative Writing. The development of links with the Worcestershire Literature Festival has resulted in the launch of a new Student Writing Competition. Julie continues to enhance opportunities to develop contacts within the Creative Industries. This semester a Literary Agent and consultant met with third year students to discuss ways to succeed as an author and currently two of the incoming cohort of her students have secured publication in the Guardian only five weeks into their course.
She is also a member of the Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts' Board, and its Learning & Teaching Committee.
- Teaching & Research
Teaching & Research
For the academic year 2014/15, Julie is currently scheduled to teach on the following undergraduate modules:
- ENGL 3021 Creative Writing
- CPWT 1000 Introduction to Writing
- CPWT 2000 Writing as Researcher
- CPWT 2002 Writing for Children
She is Course Leader for the Creative & Professional Writing (Joint Hons) degree, and for the Creative & Professional Writing (Single Hons) degree (subject to validation).
In her current research, Julie has been invited to join an inter-disciplinary team working on the development of a form of children's literature that challenges 'heteronormativity.' She is also currently writing a novel that challenges the conventions of both 'chick-lit' and detective fiction. This year one of her short stories was a finalist in the prestigious BBC Short Story competition, 'Opening Lines.'
- Professional Bodies
National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE)
Julie was a voting member of the awards panel for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) from 2000-2005, and a judge on the Arizona Film Festival Screenwriting Award (1999-2005).
- External Responsibilities
Julie is working with the board of directors for the Worcester Literature Festival to launch a unique Student Writing competition in 2015.
She is a member of the board of writers who support the Oxford Literary Consultancy in its work of assisting writers with the preparation of work for publication.
The West Midlands Excellence Hub, a group of eleven HEIs including the University of Worcester, invited her to make several presentations at a Young Writers' Literary Festival, aimed at enticing students from non-traditional backgrounds to apply to University.
Ledbury Poetry Festival invited Julie to provide writing workshops for young children.
A Further Education Teaching Conference in Cirencester invited Julie to provide workshops to assist practitioners in the development of writing modules.
As an educational consultant, she has worked with Worcester County Council’s Department of Education to design and market a series of workshops and research seminars for teachers.
She was a voting member of the awards panel for British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) from 2000-2005, and a judge on the Arizona Film Festival Screenwriting Award (1999-2005).
She worked on a panel that included the writer Doris Lessing to serve as External Examiner for City University’s MA in Writing (Scripts and Plays) 2005-2009.
She was invited to contribute to a discussion group run for External Examiners’ in Creative Writing, with particular focus upon the role of the research component or exegesis of the degree, held at Portsmouth University.