School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Staff Profile

Ann Coburn

Lecturer: Creative Writing

Background

Ann Coburn is a children’s and YA novelist who also writes for the theatre. Her fiction includes: Glint (2005), a novel for older readers which won an Arts Council writer’s award and a Northern Writer’s award; Dream Team (2006− ), an ongoing series for younger readers; and a book of re-written fairy tales (2014). Ann's work is published in Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, as well as in the UK.

Ann's theatre plays include: Get Up and Tie Your Fingers (1997), winner of the John Whiting award; The Devil’s Ground (2003), winner of a C.P.Taylor bursary; and, for children, Alex and the Warrior (2004) and The Last Snow Rider (2010). Her plays are published by Oberon Books.  For further details of Ann's fiction and theatre plays, go to: www.anncoburn.com

Ann's theatre and prose writing are both rooted in a strong sense of place and she continues to draw on the history and mythology of North Northumberland and the Borders as a source of inspiration. The liminal space created by a transformed landscape features strongly in her work for children and young adults. 

Ann is an accredited Royal Literary Fund Fellow. For further details go to: https://rlfconsultants.com/consultants/ann-coburn/

Research

Research interests: contemporary fiction for children and young adults.

In my own fiction for children and young adults I am interested in the ways in which landscape, particularly the liminal space created by a transformed landscape, can serve as a spatial representation of the stages of childhood and young adulthood, and how the nature of those transformed spaces can be adapted to suit the needs and interests of the child/YA reader across the age range. Threshold literature, where the child ‘steps through’ into another landscape, can create border points of transition and rupture which reflect the protean nature of a young adult reader. For younger readers the threshold may work the other way, putting the child reader into a position of greater knowledge as protagonists from another place attempt to negotiate the reader’s world. I have held a number of Writer-in-Residence posts in the region, including at Seven Stories: the National Centre for Children’s Books (2004), Bailiffgate Museum (2007), The Grace Darling Museum (2009), and Hexham Book Festival (2014), all of which involved mentoring writers through the process of researching archives, interviewing local people, and responding creatively to that research. In each residency, I also produced my own creative work based on interviews and archival research. My John Whiting Award-winning theatre play, ‘Get Up & Tie Your Fingers’, is a creative response to an historical event in the region, for which I collected and utilised verbatim accounts.   

Teaching

Degree Programme Director: MA Creative Writing

Strand Leader: SEL3333 Prose

Module Leader: MA Masterclass SEL8518 Writing for Children & Young Adults

Supervising MA Creative Writing Final Portfolios

Publications