Students Get Writing Assistance from Distinguished Authors

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Two distinguished authors have joined the University of Worcester as writers in residence to help support students with their writing skills.

Sue Fletcher and Caroline Sanderson are both celebrated authors in their own right. Sue has to date published six novels, and her debut, Eve Green, won the Whitbread prize – now the Costa prize – in 2004. Caroline is a freelance writer of non-fiction, and an editor for The Bookseller. She has published five books, including 2012’s Someone Like Adelle – a biography of the eponymous songstress.

They have been appointed to the University under the Royal Literary Fund’s Fellowship scheme, and will focus on helping students with a range of writing skills.

“If you are a student who fears writing assignments, it can be really intimidating,” Caroline said. “To support that student so that they can successfully complete their course is a real privilege, especially if it helps them go on and make a real difference in the world as an excellent teacher or a compassionate nurse.”

“I always say to them, you know plenty about your subject, it’s just a case of having confidence in your knowledge and then getting that down on paper effectively,” Caroline added. “A lot of people think the hard part when writing is actually getting the words down, but I think it’s more about how you work your text once you have it. It’s like a potter at their wheel - throwing the clay is just the start, you then have to have the skill and dexterity to turn a beautiful pot.”

Sue said she was finding her role as a writer in residence to be more of a two way street than she had imagined. “Often I’m working with a student, and there’s a lightbulb moment for both of us, which is lovely,” she said. “I feel very lucky to have this role. To be able to help, to give someone confidence in their writing when maybe it wasn’t there before, that is a real privilege. If a student can get the hang of completing their assignments, it frees them up to realise their full potential. It’s wonderful to think that someone you have worked with is going to go on and make a real contribution to society as a result of success in their studies.”

The Royal Literary Fund Fellowship scheme places professional writers in higher education institutions as an independent resource to support students who wish to develop their written communication skills. The principal aim of the Fellow’s work is to foster good writing practice across disciplines and media.

Professor Jean Webb, who has been the Project Manager for the RLF Fellows at Worcester for more than a decade, said: “Normally only one Fellow is allocated to a University, however, Worcester has had two working with us consecutively for a number of years, because the RLF recognises and values the Worcester approach which places student learning and experience at the centre of university life. In addition most of the Fellows are placed in London, which makes the support from the RLF particularly special. The Fellows add a great deal to the learning opportunities and are very talented and great people to work with.”