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The Chichester Centre for Critical and Creative Writing

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An exciting forum for critical and creative writing practice

The Chichester Centre for Critical and Creative Writing supports interdisciplinary research related to the forms and processes through which the written word is created, made possible, inherited and read.

Drawing on a diverse community of novelists, poets and writers from one of the country’s longest-running and most successful creative writing programmes, as well as literary critics and intellectual historians, it provides an exciting forum for critical writing practice at the foot of the South Downs National Park.

We host a range of regular events, including well-known guest speakers, book launches and panel discussions. The Centre is inclusive and outward looking as well as a hub for supporting research excellence within the University itself. Over 45% of our English and Creative Writing research submitted to last Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) achieved the highest 4* (world leading) rating.

Our writers and scholars work closely with a wide range of cultural institutions, including libraries, publishing houses and journals – both locally, within the South Downs’s rich literary ecosystem, and much further afield. As well as the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and South Downs Poetry Festival, these include the Pallant House Gallery, National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE), the British Council, and the Anglo-Portuguese poetry festival Casa dos Poetas. We also have strong links with Vsesvit, a leading Ukrainian cultural journal.

Contact us

If you are interested in studying with the Centre, or working with us as a partner organisation, please get in touch with Suzanne Joinson at s.joinson@chi.ac.uk.


The Centre is run by and for a diverse range of staff and students at the University of Chichester, and its wider community.

Alongside its current academic lead, Suzanne Joinson, postgraduate researchers Alessandro Pozzolo and Eleanor Piddington take a leading role in organising Centre events.

A full list of University staff associated with the Centre is given below.

Suzanne Joinson
Hugo Frey
Professor Hugo Frey
Hugh Dunkerley
Professor Hugh Dunkerley
Professor Fiona Price
Benjamin Noys
Professor Benjamin Noys
Karen Stevens
Karen Stevens
Paul Quinn
Dr Paul Quinn
Naomi Foyle
Dr Naomi Foyle
Dr Miles Leeson
Dr Miles Leeson
Dave Swann
David Swann


Exploring how the written word is created, made possible, inherited and read


Novels, novellas, stories, collections, monographs, articles and scholarly collections by Centre members have been published by Bloomsbury, Cambridge University Press, Indigo, Palgrave Macmillan and other leading publishers.

Non-fiction creative writing has been pioneered by, among others, Alwyn Turner, author of the popular contemporary history series, and about the life and times of the iconic Biba store.

Alison MacLeod is a Booker longlisted Penguin and Bloomsbury author.

Suzanne Joinson won the 2007 New Writing Ventures Prize for her short story Laila Ahmed, a tale based around her real quest to find the author of a box of letters she bought from Deptford Market.

Graduates and current students in the department include Zoe Gilbert, K J Orr, Juliet West, Graham Minett, Maggie Sawkins and Karen McCarthy Woolf.

Books written by South Coast Creative Writing Hub writers

See our full list of publications on our ChiPrints page.


Opening doors to new ideas and perspectives

Reading and writing open doors to new ideas and perspectives, empowering us to cross boundaries, connect with others and explore the world anew. Thus, while our work is invested in the power of literary creation – of fiction, of poetry, of intangibility – it is also rooted in real-world challenges and outcomes.

Engaging artists and audiences with social and environmental challenges

With its creative access, diverse cast, and themes of climate crisis, racism, disability rights and child sex abuse, ASTRA won the 2022 Brighton Fringe ONCA Green Curtain Award for work engaging artists and audiences with social and environmental challenges.

Naomi Foyle is now working with a transatlantic team to upscale ASTRA into an epic theatre experience directed by Peter Hinton-Davis, Order of Canada, renowned for his work in Canadian theatre and opera.

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Dr Naomi Foyle with two puppets from the ASTRA production
'Naomi Foyle with the puppets Astra and Lilt, created by Raven Kaliana' | Credit Diensen Pamben @photo_diensen

Reconnecting with a sense of place

Suzanne Joinson’s My Downs, My Home project with the South Downs National Park Authority is working to create gateways to green spaces for local people – particularly communities on the coastal strip and members of economic and/or socially disadvantaged areas who currently do not have easy access to the National Park. The project is being developed with a range of local partners, including West Sussex Mind.

Events and News

The Centre will be publishing its 2023/24 programme of events soon.

Writing IRL

Writing IRL will be a two-day event exploring the writing, teaching, and experience of memoir, autobiography and autofiction, in partnership with the Indigo Press and a range of literary partners. It will take place in November 2024 at the University of Chichester.

Day One will focus on teaching and academic work: how we teach autobiographical material, legal and ethical considerations, and support and safeguarding issues related to teaching autobiographical writing. Day Two will be more outwardly focused on a public audience: how to write a memoir, workshops, and talks from a wide range of writers. Watch this space for updates.


Suzanne Joinson

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