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 2018/2019

We are happy to welcome back David Watson and to introduce two new Fellows to QMUL for the 2018-2019 academic year, Andrew Martin and Rahila Gupta.

David Watson

David Watson is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. His work has been staged at venues including the Royal Court and the Bush in London, and Manhattan Theatre Club in New York. Having written poems and stories for as long as he can remember, he began writing for the stage as a teenager, as part of Birmingham Rep’s Transmissions scheme for young writers.

His early work focused on the lives and concerns of young people, most significantly in Flight Path (2007), about the relationship between a teenage boy and his learning-disabled brother. By Pieces of Vincent (2010), he had extended his canvas, journeying across the British Isles from County Down to London, in an exploration of how a collage of individuals are united by one act of terrorism.

He has collaborated extensively with community companies, including Only Connect, for whom he has written plays that were developed and performed by both former and serving prisoners. For the Big House company, he worked with young people on the point of leaving the care system on pieces including The Realness (2014), his first foray into musical theatre. For television, he wrote for three series of L8R (2008–13), an educational drama that was awarded three Children’s BAFTAs. Other screen work includes The Hope Rooms, a short film that premiered in 2016.

Currently he is under commission to the Birmingham Rep and the Royal Court, and is also collaborating on new musical and film projects. He lives in North-East London with his wife and son.


Rahila Gupta

Rahila Gupta is a freelance journalist and writer. Her latest book, a dramatic monologue, Don’t Wake Me: the ballad of Nihal Armstrong, was published in 2013. An abridged version of this ballad was produced and toured as a theatre piece in London and the South-east and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. It was nominated for Best New Play for the Off-West End awards in 2014.
She has contributed short stories and poems to many anthologies and journals. She co-edited with Rukhsana Ahmad a collection of short stories by Asian women, Flaming Spirit (Virago, 1994). With Kiranjit Ahluwalia she wrote Circle of Light (HarperCollins, 1997), ‘the story of a battered woman who killed her violent husband’, and co-scripted the feature film Provoked, which was based on the book and released in 2007. As a journalist, she writes for the Guardian and openDemocracy among other papers and websites.
She was a member of the writing team on Westway, an award-winning drama series set in a fictional medical centre in multicultural London, for the BBC World Service. In 2003 she edited a collection of political essays on the issues faced by black women in Britain, From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall black sisters (Zed Press). She was writer-in-residence at Bromley-by-Bow Centre from 2000 until 2005 and has run writing workshops in a range of community and educational settings. Her book on the link between immigration controls and slavery Enslaved: the new British slavery was published in 2007 and was reissued by Portobello Books in May 2008.

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is a prolific author of novels and non-fiction books. Most of his fiction is in the historical crime genre, and he is perhaps best known for a series of novels set in the early twentieth century and featuring a railway policeman called Jim Stringer. The series achieved four Crime Writers’ Association listings, and in 2011 The Somme Stations won the CWA Ellis Peter award for historical crime fiction. Martin’s other novels include The Yellow Diamond, about rich Russians in London, and The Martian Girl, which is set both in the modern day and the world of late Victorian music hall.
Martin’s interest in railway history (he is the son of a railwayman) is also reflected in his non-fiction, which includes Underground, Overground: a passenger’s history of the Tube, and Night Trains: the rise and fall of the sleeper. Amongst his other nonfiction titles are Flight by Elephant: the untold story of World War II’s most daring jungle rescue (concerning the British exodus from Burma following the Japanese invasion) and How To Get Things Really Flat: a man’s guide to ironing, dusting and other household arts.
Martin decided to become a full-time writer after winning the Spectator Young Writer of the Year award back when he was young. He had previously qualified as a barrister, which partly accounts for his interest in crime. He broadcasts regularly and has written and presented BBC TV documentaries on historical themes. He often gives talks, and has taught creative writing for various organisations.