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Suzanne Joinson

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing | 01243 81 6195

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’.


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