Anne Youngson

Thesis title: Starting the story: an exploration of the impact of the first words in a story, demonstrated through a short story collection

Start year: 2015


Anne Youngson

Research topic

My proposal is to explore beginnings of stories through looking at different approaches used by authors in contemporary and classical literature, understanding how these work in what context. This will be underpinned by a review of critical commentary on beginnings, of current critical theories and how these can be applied and of the theory and practice of creative writing. I will produce a collection of short stories which will experiment with the different ways to begin.

The start of a short story is a particularly critical part of the whole, given the need to compress the ideas expressed into a relatively short narrative arc. Through a series of short stories and a review of existing writing on or around the subject, and an exploration of novels and short stories by the best writers, I would hope to produce both a creative body of work and a contribution to understanding the art of beginning.


Openings; storytelling; narrative

General research interests

Approaches to story-telling; short stories, the way they are constructed, the themes and pre-occupations of the authors; theories of narrative

Academic school / department

School of Education, Humanities and Languages

Further details

Academic and professional training

  • BA (Hons) English Literature from Birmingham University 1970
  • Undergraduate Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford Department of Continuing Eduction 2005. Distinction
  • MA Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University 2012. Distinction

Other experience and professional activities

I took early retirement from a career in the motor industry, in the Product Development Department of Rover Group and then Land Rover. My final position was MD of Special Vehicles. Since then I have worked as a consultant on skills development, mainly in the field of enterprise, working with major national clients and government departments.

I have had stories published or awarded prizes in a number of competitions. I contributed to and co-edited a collection of personal experiences of working within the Rover Group relationship with Honda When Rover met Honda, CSR Publishing 2009. I am co-author of a history of British Leyland up to the closure of Longbridge in 2005 British Leyland Motor Corporation 1968–2005: The Story from Inside to be published by The History Press in May 2015.