The Royal Literary Fund Fellows

The Royal Literary Fund Fellowship scheme was conceived with the intention of placing professional writers in higher education institutions to offer writing support to all students. The principal aim of the Fellow's work is to foster good writing practice across disciplines and media. Each year Queen Mary University of London plays host to three Royal Literary Fund Fellows, who offer one-to-one tutorials to students and staff on all aspects of their writing. The scheme is co-ordinated by Learning Development.

For more information about the Royal Literary Fund, and the Fellowship scheme, take a look here.


RLF Fellows 2016/2017

Lynn Knight

Lynn is interested in the larger narratives behind ordinary lives, most particularly the lives of women. Her biography, Clarice Cliff (Bloomsbury, 2005), charted the working-class designer’s rise through the pottery industry and the way her designs spoke to the changes in  women’s lives     between  the  wars. Lemon Sherbet and Dolly Blue: the story of an accidental family (Atlantic, 2011), told the story of the three generations of adoption in her own family and made use of oral recollection, notebooks and domestic objects, as well as social history. The  Button Box (Chatto   & Windus, 2016) uses an  assortment of family buttons buttons to explore the story of women in the 20th century through the clothes they wore. She is especially interested in everyday objects as repositories of memory and history and in women’s relationship with their  domestic space.   Work at Virago (latterly as editorial director of the  Modern Classics series) led her to edit two collections of short stories, Infinite Riches: classic stories by twentieth-century women writers (Virago, 1993), reissued as The Secret Woman (Virago, 2000) and Dangerous  Calm: the selected   stories of Elizabeth Taylor (Virago, 1995). She has also  abridged the diaries of Beatrice Webb (Virago in association with the LSE, 2000), and written critical introductions and reviews. Lynn teaches fiction, as well as autobiography and memoir, at City Lit in London.  She has also taught at the Women’s Library, Charleston and the Geffrye Museum and runs  independent courses. 

Rukhsana Ahmed

Rukhsana has achieved distinction across several genres. Song for a Sanctuary, her first play, led to numerous commissions for the stage and radio. River on Fire (2001) was runner-up for the Susan Smith Blackburn theatre award and Wide Sargasso Sea for the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain radio  adaptation award. Her first novel The Hope Chest (Virago, 1996) captures the conflicting parallel lives of young women from the two worlds she knows best. Many of her short stories, published internationally, are included in The Gate-keeper’s Wife (ILQA, 20140.

 With Rita Wolf, Rukhsana co-founded Kali Theatre Company, which she led for eight years. For a decade, she served as the (founding) chair of a South Asian literature and arts archive, Salidaa (now Sadaa). Rukhsana has held writing residencies across London and the regions, including bilingual  ones, but has found her RLF fellowships to be the most sustaining and inspiring. Her acclaimed translation of Urdu feminist poetry We Sinful Women (The Women’s Press, 1991), an overtly political work, sprang equally from feminist concerns and her love of Urdu literature. It explores themes of  belief and unbelief that still obsess her, permeating the work in progress: a second novel Shrine in the Desert and a feature film The Tainted Gene.

 Karachi-born Rukhsana acquired an English MA from Karachi University, where she also taught briefly. Her most recent Masters degree reflects her current passion: screenwriting.

Andrew Lycett

After graduating, Andrew travelled in and began writing about India. Some of his earliest articles appeared in  the Illustrated Weekly of India and the Rising Nepal. In the mid-1970s he returned to Africa and later spent considerable time in the Middle East, working in both  areas as a foreign correspondent, mainly for The Times and Sunday Times. Over a period of twenty years he also edited several magazines and other publications dealing primarily with the Arab world. He acted as a consultant to the Economist Intelligence Unit and was a contributing editor of GQ.

As a result of regular visits to Libya, Andrew wrote his first book, 'Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution' (with his Sunday Times colleague, the late David Blundy).  Since the mid-1990s, he has concentrated on writing non-fiction books, mainly biographies, including 'Ian Fleming', 'Rudyard Kipling', ‘Dylan Thomas – A New Life’ and ‘Conan Doyle – The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes’, the latter winning Book of the Week in the Guardian. 

Andrew has edited and contributed to several other books. He has also contributed to the new Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His  journalistic output includes feature articles, book reviews and radio broadcasts. He speaks regularly at literary festivals, in schools and in universities, and at other events where his subject matter includes his books, biography in general, and aspects of current affairs in countries he knows, such as Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, India and elsewhere.