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Oxford Brookes law graduate published in The Barrister magazine

ToksFormer president of the Oxford Brookes Law Society and 2014 LLB graduate Adetokunbo Hussain has been published in The Barrister magazine, the UK’s largest independent magazine for practising barristers. His legal article was based on the third year module Computer Law and Intellectual Property.

In his article, Adetokunbo constructs a critique of the feasibility of regulating the Internet, with a focus on hate material and the concept of free speech. He cites the ineffectiveness of state law beyond national borders, forming a discussion of alternatives – in particular non-regulation and self-regulation through education and democratic choice, based on the formation of a culture of internet users.

Mark O’Brien, Head of the School of Law at Oxford Brookes, commented “It’s very encouraging to see our students and graduates increasingly sharing their research with the wider legal community. As a staff team we actively encourage students to engage with the practice of law outside the classroom, and we’re very pleased to see Toks’ success.”

If you’d like to read Adetokunbo’s article in full it is available on the link below: http://www.barristermagazine.com/responding-to-cyber-hate/

Brookes Professor named as editor of prestigious new journal

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Professor William Gibson from the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion was named as the editor of a new international journal in an announcement in the Times Literary Supplement last Friday (19 June).

Professor Gibson will be editor of the new Journal of Religious History, Literature and Culture launched this year. He will lead a distinguished editorial advisory board which includes Lord Williams, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and leading scholars from the University of Sydney and Yale University as well as UK universities.

The peer-reviewed journal will publish articles on all aspects of the history, literature and culture of religion in all parts of the world. The journal will be published twice-yearly, with one regular issue in June and one special themed issue in November.

The first issue of the journal is available now and the special issue in November will comprise of papers given to the 2014 Oxford conference on the 300th anniversary of the birth of George Whitefield; a prominent English Anglican priest and powerful orator born in the 18th century.

Professor Gibson said: “Since the formation of this new interdisciplinary journal it has attracted world-wide attention with submissions from scholars in China, Hong Kong, Portugal and Germany.

“The journal aims to provide coverage of those aspects of religious culture which illuminate and exemplify religious practice and ideas. I am delighted to be editor for this new journal, and look forward to the special edition in November.”

The journal is published by the University of Wales Press and will be available in print and online through Ingentaconnect.

Brookes alumna signs three-book deal with Penguin

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MA Creative Writing graduate, Mandy (Kit) de Waal, has signed a three-book deal with Viking Books, part of the Penguin Books stable. This high profile breakthrough follows a string of awards in 2014: Mandy won both the Bridport Flash Fiction and the SI Leeds Literary Reader’s Choice prizes, along with second place in both the Costa Short Story and Bath Short Story awards.

Writing as Kit de Waal, her first novel My Name is Leon is a dazzlingly painful and uplifting story that takes the reader inside the mind of Leon, a little boy who faces a world where adults say one thing but mean another, and strangers are allowed to take his baby brother.

On acquiring the book for Viking, Publishing Director Venetia Butterfield said, “My Name is Leon is a truly extraordinary novel; heart-wrenching and powerful, its characters leap off the page. I’m thrilled to be publishing a major new talent.”

This is just great. Every writer dreams of being published but to have this level of commitment from Viking is unbelievable. I keep looking at myself in the mirror and saying, ‘Really?!’

Kit de Waal

My Name is Leon will be published by Viking in 2016.

Celebration of newly published authors in Humanities and Social Sciences

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The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences recently celebrated the launch of six new publications across various subjects. Ranging from using indigenous knowledge in modern science to the concerns and consequences of counter-terrorism, the books present a range of research interests across the Faculty. Each author briefly explained the main themes of their book and their process of writing.

Mary BriggsCreative Teaching: Mathematics in the Primary Classroom (School of Education) enables teachers to see and teach in creative ways that will develop their pupil’s mathematical thinking potential. It encourages students, trainees and practicing teachers to envision and develop a classroom where children can take risks, enjoy and experiment with mathematical thinking, and discover and pursue their interests and talents in an imaginative yet purposeful way.

Science and Sustainability: Learning from Indigenous Wisdom (Social Sciences), by Joy Hendry, is a personal account of an anthropologist, originally trained as a scientist specialising in physics and astronomy, with extraordinary examples of long-standing scientific knowledge held by Indigenous peoples in several countries of the world. Although often ignored by settlers and national governments, this knowledge offers sustainable solutions to living within a range of local environments, and the book considers subjects such as fire, water, architecture, health, calendars and climate change, astronomy and navigation skills. It also reports on recent efforts of education systems in Australia, Canada and New Zealand to include this traditional knowledge within the regular curricula.

Constantine SandisCultural Heritage Ethics: Between Theory and Practice (History, Philosophy and Religion) provides cutting-edge arguments built on case studies of cultural heritage and its management in a range of geographical and cultural contexts. This intra-disciplinary book bridges the gap between theory and practice by bringing together a stellar cast of academics, activists, consultants, journalists, lawyers, and museum practitioners, each contributing their own expertise to the wider debate of what cultural heritage means in the twenty-first century.

The Commonwealth Caribbean comprises a group of countries (mainly islands) lying in an arc between Florida in the north and Venezuela in the south. Varying widely in terms of their size, population, ethnic composition and economic wealth, these countries are, nevertheless, linked by their shared experience of colonial rule under the British Empire and their decision, upon attaining independence, to adopt a constitutional system of government based on the so-called ‘Westminster model’. Derek O’Brien’s The Constitutional Systems of Commonwealth Caribbean (School of Law) examines the constitutional systems of these countries in their context and questioning how well the Westminster model of democracy has successfully adapted to its transplantation to the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Michael Lister’s Critical Perspectives on Counter-Terrorism (Social Sciences) examines the rationale, effectiveness and consequences of counter-terrorism practices from a range of perspectives and cases. Drawing on a range of timely and important case studies from around the world including the UK, Sri Lanka, Spain, Canada, Australia and the USA, it focuses on three questions of vital importance to any assessment of counter-terrorism. First, what do counter-terrorism strategies seek to achieve? Second, what are the consequences of different counter-terrorism campaigns, and how are these measured? And, third, how and why do changes to counter-terrorism occur?

Marius Turda’s Latin Eugenics in Comparative Perspective (History, Philosophy and Religion) offers a comparative approach to eugenics as a scientific programme as well as a cultural and political phenomenon. It examines the commonalities of eugenics in ‘Latin’ Europe and Latin America. As a program to achieve the social and political goals of modern welfare systems, Latin eugenics strongly influenced the complex relationship of the state to the individual. Drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources in many languages, this book offers the first history of Latin eugenics in Europe and the Americas.

In closing, Professor Gary Browning, Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange) noted:

“The range of books celebrated at the launch showcase the breadth of what we offer. Academics produce interesting things to read and we certainly do in this Faculty”.

Creative Writing alumna signs three-book publishing contract

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Alison Knights, an Oxford Brookes Creative Writing alumna who completed her MA in 2013, has signed a three-book publishing contract. The deal with Accent Press will see two romance novels and a young adult time-slip adventure published.

Alison decided several years ago that, if she wanted to be a novelist, she needed to learn her craft. She studied part-time, first at the University of Bristol, and later at Bath Spa University, where she graduated with first class honours. She loved studying creative writing, and experimenting with different genres, so it seemed natural to her to go on to study for her masters at Oxford Brookes.

After graduating from Brookes, Alison attended a conference organised by the Romantic Novelists Association in July 2014. “I had the opportunity to meet with Hazel Cushion, director of Accent Press, to talk about my young adult book, Rosie Goes to War. Hazel and her editor liked it, and asked me to send in anything else I had for consideration. I submitted two romance novels – Branded, and French Kisses. Within days, Accent Press offered me contracts for all three books.”

It has been an amazing experience. I’ve been trying to get published for a long time, and to sell three books at once is a dream come true.

Alison says that she is now on a steep learning curve – completing book cover design forms and publicity questionnaires, setting up a website, and getting to know the other authors at Accent Press. She feels that her years as a student have helped her become a far better writer.

I’ve served my apprenticeship, and now I’m looking forward to a new career as a novelist.

Brookes alumnus to set ‘Monsters’ loose on public

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Liam Brown, a former MA Creative Writing student and recipient of the de Rohan Scholarship, is set to publish his debut novel, Real Monsters, in March next year by Legend Press

Since graduating in 2010, Liam has already enjoyed literary success through the publication of numerous short stories in magazines and journals; and in 2013 his novel Fade to White was shortlisted for the prestigious Luke Bitmead Bursary. With a second novel already underway, Liam hopes the publication of Real Monsters will prove a stepping stone to a lasting writing career, the foundations of which, he says, were laid at Oxford Brookes:

The MA programme really encouraged me to go outside of my comfort zone and gave me the time and space to try and create something completely new, something that, without the generosity of the de Rohan Scholarship, I would never have had the opportunity to do. For that, I will always be thankful.

Billed as a gritty and uncompromising debut, Real Monsters tells the story of two young lovers separated by a violent conflict overseas. Legend Press describes it as ‘a surreal and ferociously recognisable allegory for our war-torn times.’ Due for release March 2015, the novel is likely to cause a stir in literary circles, both for its topical subject matter and its idiosyncratic prose style, which was largely written on a traditional typewriter to create a free-flowing stream of consciousness effect reminiscent of the ‘Beat’ writers of the 1950s, albeit with a distinctly 21st century twist.

Short story success from Brookes’ Creative Writing alumna, Mandy de Waal

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Kit de Waal, one of our former MA Creative Writing students, has won second prize in the Bath Short Story Award 2014 with her story The Beautiful Thing.

Kit describes her story as “a true story told to her over many years and in many different ways” by her late father. ‘The Beautiful Thing’ was his phrase to describe a moment of kindness from a stranger which he never forgot and which enabled him to make a new life in England in the 1950s. Kit says that she was driven to write the story, which you can read the story in full on the Bath Short Story Award website, so that she wouldn’t forget what he used to say.

“Really strong story-telling perfectly paced and pitched. I love the father’s voice, and the way we move between New York, Antigua, the shoe shop and the kitchen is beautifully handled, and the ending is extremely well-done. Very good indeed.”

Lucy Luck, Literary Agent and judge of 2014 Prize

The Bath Short Story Award success comes just months after Kit found herself shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Short Story Award with The Old Man & The Suit. This story, which is available both to read and listen to on the Costa website, was inspired, obviously, by Hemingway’s short novel ‘The Old Man & The Sea’ which she listened to four times as an audiobook before she thought she could try and emulate his style – spare but rich, factual, and from the heart.

Kit says that she owes her success to the friends and fellow writers that she met during her time on Oxford Brookes’ MA Creative Writing course. The group still meets up on the second Thursday of every month in Oxford to look at their work, hold it up to the light and see what shines. They have three things in common, their love of writing, their desire to improve, and the time they spent at Oxford Brookes.

Kit says: “I’ve had a marvelous year. Coming second in the Costa Short Story Award with The Old Man & The Suit and today finding out that I came second in the Bath Short Story Award with The Beautiful Thing, is in no small part due to the collective wisdom and critical eye of this committed group of writers. I’m also grateful to James Hawes for his insistence that I write and write and write – rather than pursuing further study – which isn’t always what I wanted to hear.  His ‘just do it’ approach has made me get on and write and enter competitions even when I had no chance of winning because it made me revise and edit and revise again until I could finally say ‘it’s done.’ It’s the same advice I would give to any writer who wants to be published. And read – don’t forget to read.”

Dr Wes Fraser publishes article on changes in spore chemistry and appearance with increasing maturity

816832681Dr Wes Fraser leads a team investigating the chemical changes and alteration in physical appearance of plant spores under increasing thermal maturity conditions. The article is now available in Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology as an unedited online-first proof format for rapid access.

Citation: Fraser et al. (2014) Rev. Pal. Pal. 201, 41-46.