School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

Bonny Brooks

Bonny Brooks

Doctoral Student in Creative Writing

Email: b.brooks@ncl.ac.uk

Supervisors

  • William Fiennes
  • Anne Whitehead
  • Linda Anderson
Bonny Brooks - Creative Writing PGR
Bonny Brooks - Doctoral Student in Creative Writing

Thesis

Interventionist Gods: Story, history, and transcultural interpretation of trauma

Both in the creative and critical sense, my project is concerned with transcultural interpretations of trauma and political activism.

My novel If No One I Love is Going explores the colliding lives of two dissidents; one a criminal defector from North Korea; the other a small-town Korean-American adoptee, both risking death in a quest for absolution.

The study also involves a critical enquiry into fiction written on North Korea from a cross-cultural standpoint (Westerners writing about North Korea).

It is important to try to understand the role fiction might play in sparking debate in the public realm. Indeed, fiction can arguably at times illuminate the nuances of human experience in a way in which visual media perhaps cannot. Fiction can also say things that straight, on-the-record testimonies – such as those found in journalism and academia – often won’t. Indeed, the words of one dissident I interviewed reminded me of this, when he described his repeated witnessing of brutal killings: ‘Normally I would not discuss something like this. I would be too ashamed.’ Since my account would be ‘fictional’ and he would not be named, he felt he could disclose things he wouldn’t usually say.

At the same time, such literary works carry the discursive capacity to construct that which they describe. Do historical/political novels have responsibilities, and if so, what are they? Key to the conceptual thrust of this project is an attempt to investigate the bounds of the novel; exploring macro historical realities through micro fictional subjectivities. 

Research Interests

Political fiction; North Korea; transcultural fiction; narrative, subjectivity and empathy; epistemologies; trauma; cognitive dissonance; populism.

Research Activities

RESIDENCIES

  • AHRC IPS Research Fellow at The John W. Kluge Center for Scholars at The Library of Congress, Washington D.C. (2015)
  • Writer in Residence at Sage Gateshead (2013) 

TEACHING

  • Introduction to Creative Writing (SELLL) Newcastle University (2016-2017)
  • Introduction to Creative Writing (SELLL) Newcastle University (2014-2015)
  • Creative Writing Introductory Workshop - designed and led workshop, Washington DC 2015
  • After School Creative Writing Club, Ponteland High School, Funded by the Catherine Cookson Foundation (2014)
  • Introduction to Media, Culture and Society at The University of Birmingham (2005-2006)

CONFERENCES

  • ‘An Evening with Iosi Havilio, in Conversation with Bonny Brooks’ at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Newcastle, August 2017.
  • ‘North Korea via Washington’ at Northern Bridge Global Resonances Conference, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art October 2016.
  • ‘Highlights from a Geek’s Paradise’ at AHRC IPS Showcase University of Manchester November 2015.
  • 'North Korea, Literary Ventriloquism, and the Archives: Paralleling cognitive dissonance through creative juxtaposition’ at The John W. Kluge Center for Scholars at The Library of Congress, Washington D.C. May 2015.
  • 'Zadie Smith’s On Beauty: Postmodernism and “the real”’ at Newcastle City Library April 2014.
  • ‘No Place for the End of a Life’ at Write Around the Toon, Newcastle University December 2013.
  • ‘Across the Border: Literary reflections on North Korea’ for Writing in a Digital Age conference at The Free Word Centre, London June 2012
  • Selected Poems at Glastonbury Festival June 2005
  • Compere of 'Women's Time (Poetry)' at Glastonbury Festival June 2005
  • Selected Poems at Glastonbury Festival June 2004
  • Compere of 'Women's Time (Poetry)' at Glastonbury Festival June 2004 

PUBLICATIONS

AWARDS

  • 2017 Shortlisted for the Fish Prize
  • 2017 Shortlisted for the Strands International Short Story Prize  
  • 2016-2017: Newcastle University School of English Writing Up Fund  
  • 2015: AHRC IPS Research Fellowship at The John W. Kluge Center for Scholars at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
  • 2015: AHRC Research Training Support Grant (Fieldwork in Korea)  
  • 2015: Newcastle University School of English Placement Award.
  • 2013- AHRC Funded PhD Studentship: If No One I Love Is Going: Story, history, and transcultural interpretation of trauma
  • 2012 Shortlisted for the Fish Prize
  • 2012 TLC Pen Factor Runner Up
  • 2011 Longlisted for the Fish Prize
  • 2010 Arts Council/Literature Works Award for Poetry
  • 2010 TLC Recommended Manuscript and selection for Showcase
  • 2008 Arts Council Award for TLC Mentoring
  • 2005-2006 University of Birmingham MA Studentship Award    
  • 2004 Top Dissertation Prize, University of Birmingham (Sociology)   

ADMINISTRATIVE

  • Course Representative on the Postgraduate Staff Student Committee

Academic Background

  • MA in Social Research (Cultural Studies and Sociology) at The University of Birmingham (Distinction) - 2006
  • BA in Cultural Studies and Sociology at The University of Birmingham (First Class Honours) - 2004

Website

Bonny Brooks