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Dr Suzanne Joinson

Reader in Creative Writing

Suzanne Joinson Edit


Dr Suzanne Joinson won the New Writing Ventures Award for Creative Non-Fiction for Laila Ahmed, a piece about a box of letters found at Deptford Market.

In 2012 she published a novel A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar (Bloomsbury UK/US, long-listed for IMPAC Dublin International Literary Awards, Observer Book of the Year, LA Times Bestseller, National Bestseller (US). International publishers: Brazil: Intrensica; Denmark: Turbulenz; The Netherlands: House of Books; France: Presses De La Cité; Germany: Berlin Verlag; Italy: Elliot; Japan: Nishimurashoten; Norway: Vigmostad & Bjorce; Serbia: Laguna; Spain: Roca).

In 2016 she published The Photographer’s Wife with Bloomsbury (above plus China: Zhejiang Literature and Art Publishing House). With both novels she has attended a range of international literary festivals and events, from the Edinburgh Festival and Hay to Kuala Lumpur, Segovia and Istanbul Tanpinar Festival.

Her research, teaching and writing interests include the following: creative non-fiction and contemporary writing that blur the divide between memoir, autobiography, fiction and auto-fiction; international narratives with strong travel, sense-of-place and movement themes; innovative approaches to re-imagining historical fiction; modernism and female novels of the Twenties, Thirties and Forties; and works concerned with exploring the ‘local’, particularly through nature, found-items, photographs and landscape.

She also has a strong interest in Sussex writing connected to the South Downs, the marginalised coastal strip and rural spaces.



  • ENL 228 BA Creative Non-Fiction Writing Lives
  • EENL 125 BA Creative Non-Fiction Starting with the Self
  • Forthcoming Digital Writing

Residencies and awards:

2017: Writer in Residence at the University of Malta, delivering workshops and creative writing activities for the university and research for forthcoming non-fiction work.

2016: Arts Council England funded project A View from the Hills for residency at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum; working with staff to explore stories in the Museum archives; research for a forthcoming novel.

2015: Writer in residence at Translating Myanmar, run by UEA, working with writers from Myanmar (Burma) in Yangon on creative translation of my short story.

2014: Writer in residence at the BCLT Chinese-English Translation summer school, working with writers and translators in Huang Shan (Yellow Mountains, China) on creative translation of my short story.

2010: Arts Council England funded project The Flying Machine for residency and programme of activities exploring psychogeography of Shoreham and surrounding South Downs; working with aviation historians connected to the airport to unearth stories and photographs from the airport archives; research for the novel The Photographer’s Wife.

2009: Arts Council Research and Development Grant (Grants for Artists) for research trip to Kashgar, NW China for A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar

2007 Winner of New Writing Ventures Creative Non-Fiction Award with ‘Laila Ahmed’.

Key Publications

A sample of cross-genre essays and creative non-fiction:

Essay: Writing, travelling and the Creative Act, Lithub Feb 2016

Essay: Hotel Melancholia, Aeon Magazine, June 2015

Essay: Dirty Talk and Dostoevsky on the Night Shift, New York Times, April 2015

Essay: Constantinople and Patrick Leigh Fermor Salmagundi Literary Magazine spring 2015

BBC Radio 3 Essay: ‘I’ve Never told Anyone This Before …’ broadcast December 2014

Essay: Flea-market stories Vogue, UK, November 2012

A sample of journalism and reviews:

Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, New York Times, December 2017

Review: Moving the Palace by Cherif Majdanlani, New York Times, June 2017

Review: Liberty Street by Dianne Warren, New

Review: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, Independent on Sunday, March 2016

Review: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, Independent on Sunday, Sept 2015

York Times, September 2016

Review: The Secret Sister by Fotini Tsalikoglou, Independent on Sunday, Jan 2015

Journalism/Essay:  What if you had no family photographs?, The Guardian, May 2016

Journalism/Travel Why I like travelling alone, The Telegraph, May 2016

Journalism Contemporary Art in Beijing, Raffles Magazine, Spring 2016

A sample of short stories:

Short story: Looking for Deer in Beijing, Raffles Magazine Autumn/Winter 2015 (written as part of a creative writing residency at Raffles Hotel Beijing)

Short story: Theory of Flight (BBC Radio 4 short story commission part of the Skylines serie)  broadcast June 2014

Short story: Lonely Planet anthology ‘Innocents Abroad’ published November 2014 UK and US.

Short story Lonely Planet anthology ‘Road Trip’ published November 2015

Short story: Lonely Planet ‘Better than Fiction’ Anthology Contribution: ‘Chasing Missionaries’ Nov 2012

Research Output


Joinson, S. (2016) Constantinople: an essay on travel and Patrick Leigh Fermor. Salmagundi.

Joinson, S. (2016) Antlers in the Nanhaizi Milu Park. Raffles magazine.

Joinson, S. (2015) Dirty Talk and Dostoyevsky on the Night Shift. The New York Times.

Book Sections

Joinson, S. (2021) Between the Georgic and the Pastoral: The British Weald. In: A History of English Georgic Writing. Cambridge University Press, pp. 296-315. ISBN 9781009019507 10.1017/9781009019507.018

Joinson, S. (2016) Jasmine and Other Flowers that Make me Cry. In: The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology: True Stories from the World's Best Writers. Lonely Planet Publications, UK and US. ISBN 9781786571960

Joinson, S. (2015) In a Caucasian Wonderland. In: Better than Fiction 2: True Adventures from Great Fiction Writers. Lonely Planet Publications, London, UK and US. ISBN 9781743607497

Joinson, S. (2015) The Middle of the Air. In: #1 Short Story Anthology. Vanguard Editions, UK.


Joinson, S. (2017) The Photographer's Wife. Bloomsbury, London, UK and USA. ISBN 9781620408315

Joinson, S. (2013) A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar. Bloomsbury, London, UK. ISBN 9781408830918


Joinson, S. (2017) Theory of Flight. [Audio]

Other department members

Alison MacLeod
Visiting Professor in Creative Writing
Clare Toombes
Student Employability Adviser
Dave Swann
David Swann
Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

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