George Lea - College of Arts, Humanities and Education - University of Derby

George Lea, English and Creative Writing, 2006

What are you doing now?

Since graduating from Joint Honours, English and Creative Writing in 2006 I've continued to write obsessively, developing a routine that now sees me producing a consistent body of work, the most notable of which is my recently published short story collection, Strange Playgrounds. I edit short stories and larger works for Dark Moon Books whilst working as a support worker and personal assistant for individuals with mental disabilities and learning difficulties.

What were the main reasons you took that course?

I wanted to meet like-minded people who took art and fiction as seriously as I did. 

Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?

The creative writing department at Derby came highly recommended and I found the university to my liking following various visits. Plus I like the city of Derby and its ethos. 

What impacthas studying this course at Derby had on your career?

It has allowed me to find paid work in areas that would otherwise have been closed to me, as well as a number of experiences in fields that would have been much more alien and difficult to engage with if I hadn't gone to university. Most notably, I have worked in the teaching industry and now work in care, both of which have been directly impacted by my educational experience.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

Primarily by providing a framework in which good writing habits can be developed. Previously I’d written in isolation with reference only to routines and methods I’d developed myself. 

How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?

Creative writing workshops provided exposure to a wide variety of approaches and methods plus encouragement and constructive criticism which sharpened my technical skills. I’ve also had some excellent career advice from a number of lecturers on how to produce my work and find a market for it. 

What are your future plans?

I'm currently working on the second draft of a novel, various short stories and notes for an independent film script local film makers are hoping to adapt. 

What would you say to anyone thinking for coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

Expand beyond prescribed exercises and material; though the experiences in the lecture hall will prove vital. If you are not writing and reading beyond that, then that is where your work will stay. Learn to love your failures and mistakes, as they will be your stepping stones to future success.

Georges book Strange Playgrounds is out now

 Strange Playgrounds

“A place where the mind is ripped from reality and where playmates are things of nightmarish imagination that want to keep you forever in their violent throes of ecstasy.”

Strange Playgrounds is available to buy on Amazon.

Cover for Strange Playgrounds credited to artist Grace Burley.