Creative Fellowships

Picture of Billie Whitelaw at the Beckett Centenary exhibition, 2006Throughout his life and since his death in 1989, Samuel Beckett has influenced and inspired the work of countless international writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. Many have spoken of their indebtedness to his work, from Sarah Kane, Harold Pinter, Morton Feldman, Avigdor Arikha and J. M. Coetzee to Charlie Kaufman, Kate Tempest, György Kurtág, Thomas Kinsella and Philip Glass.

In recognition of Beckett's living legacies within the creative arts, the University of Reading's Samuel Beckett Research Centre will host a series of Creative Fellowships, enabling leading writers, performers, artists, and musicians to develop new projects and insights through unique access to and engagement with the University's archival resources and Beckett specialists.

On 27th October 2017, it was announced that the multi-award-winning author, Eimear McBride, was confirmed as the University's first Beckett Creative Fellow. Her year-long fellowship will be one of three, funded by a £20,000 donation to the Samuel Beckett Research Centre. 

Eimear McBride - Samuel Beckett Research Centre Creative FellowEimear McBride (2017-18 Beckett Creative Fellow)

Award-winning novelist, Eimear McBride, grew up in the west of Ireland and studied acting at Drama Centre London. Her debut novel, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, received the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize, the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year, the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second novel, The Lesser Bohemians, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, Irish Novel of the Year and the RSL Encore Award. She occasionally writes and reviews for the Guardian, TLS, New Statesman and New York Times Book Review. She has also featured on several BBC radio programmes, including 'The Verb', 'Free Thinking', 'Only Artists' and 'A Good Read'.

McBride, whose novel, The Lesser Bohemians, won a James Tait Black Prize earlier this year, will set out to create a new piece of creative work inspired by Samuel Beckett. She will have unique access to the University's internationally-recognised Beckett Archive and be able to draw on academic expertise with in-depth knowledge of the Irish novelist, poet, and playwright

On receiving the fellowship, McBride said: "It's a tremendous honour, and pleasure, to be the inaugural holder of the Samuel Beckett Creative Fellowship and I'm very much looking forward to the daunting task of creatively engaging with Beckett's inestimably important archive".

The Beckett Archive will allow her access to the largest collection of publicly accessible Beckett materials in the world, including notebooks the author kept while he worked and drafts of his fiction, poetry and drama. These will all offer a special encounter with his creative process.

McBride will keep a record of her experience of working with the Beckett materials, in the form of a monthly journal, as she produces the new creative work. You can follow her progress by clicking the link above.

To enquire about future Creative Fellowships, please contact the Centre Director, Professor Steven Matthews.

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