Oxford Brookes planning major OutBurst in May

Thursday, 17 April 2014

OutBurst logo

This May, OutBurst, the Oxford Brookes festival at Pegasus Theatre, showcases cutting-edge research and expertise from right across the University in a variety of stimulating and fun events.

The week-long festival (now in its third year) will see the theatre’s café, corridors, studio, garden and dressing rooms (as well as the main Philip Pullman stage itself) filled with performances or interactive events aimed at unlocking visitors’ creativity. Some of the activities are free and they are suitable for all ages.

As in previous years, one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the week will be the writing showcase during which Oxford Brookes Creative Writing MA students read from their work at an evening hosted by Kate Clanchy, Oxford Brookes Creative Writing Fellow and author of Meeting the English which was shortlisted for the 2014 Costa Awards.

As part of the 2012 showcase, Helen Eve read from the beginning of a novel which has since been published by Pan Macmillan. Stella is a dark thriller for young adults and Helen read the opening of the draft manuscript to a packed audience.

Shortly after appearing at the festival Helen won a publishing deal. She said: “The creative writing showcase was the first time I’d read my work in public, and it was a great experience. I read a section of Stella. Tutors from the course were present, as well as literary agents and some of the Creative Writing Fellows, including Philip Pullman and Kate Clanchy.

“I had very positive feedback from the audience and the tutors. Philip Pullman was particularly encouraging, and this gave me the confidence to submit my novel to literary agent Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White. Claire worked with me on the book before submitting it to publishers, and I signed a two-book deal with Macmillan UK and USA shortly afterwards. Stella was published in January 2014, and my second novel Siena will be published next year.

OutBurst brings Oxford Brookes into the heart of the community to engage people of all ages with the wonder of discovery and the arts and sciences.

Eleanor Lowe, OutBurst organiser

“The Oxford Brookes MA gave me a writing focus and the opportunity to meet other aspiring writers, as well as authors and agents. I enjoyed the supportive and generous atmosphere, and found it an invaluable experience. Taking part in the showcase was absolutely transformative for my writing career, and I am grateful to the organisers at Brookes as well as the tutors involved.”

Eleanor Lowe, OutBurst organiser, said: “When Helen read out her work two years ago it received a wonderful reaction from the audience and this year I am sure there will be other rising stars for the audience to spot.

“OutBurst brings Oxford Brookes into the heart of the community to engage people of all ages with the wonder of discovery and the arts and sciences.

“Whether people want to try and spot the literary stars of tomorrow, immerse themselves in architectural displays, listen to talks by the university’s world-leading scientists or write haiku poetry in the peace of the Pegasus Garden, our aim is to inspire and entertain.”

Other acts and events include:

  • Philosophy with Dungeons and Dragons
  • The slow loris, the world's only venomous primate, with Professor Anna Nekaris
  • Artie the humanoid robot
  • English PEN, an organisation which campaigns for freedom of expression around the world
  • An exhibition of 3D microscope imagery
  • A display of architectural models
  • Film screenings.