Lauren Hayhurst



College: College of Humanities
Discipline: English
Department: Creative Writing

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Lauren is an Associate Lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. In December 2017, she completed her Doctoral degree with Exeter for which she produced a 100,000-word novel and a 20,000-word thesis. 

The novel – entitled The Girl Upstairs – presents a dramatic family saga exploring the complex issues of honour and loyalty within situations involving violence-against-women. There is specific focus on the overlap and interactions between 'Muslim' and 'non-Muslim' in an attempt to confront homogenisation, and also challenge the apparent incompatibility of these groups, a perception often broadcast by mainstream media.

The thesis – entitled “Fictive Responsibility: Why all novelists are political writers (whether they like it or not)”, accessible here – explores how the ‘political’ relates to ‘literature’ through the writer’s creative process. It suggests that failing to recognise the politics-of-representation which operates alongside invention in Creative Writing has contributed to the recent exacerbation around ‘cultural appropriation’. As such, Lauren’s thesis presents an original action-model termed 'fictive responsibility' which is primarily concerned with the ethical implications of fictionalising particular characters; those with identity markers that appear external to the writer’s own experience. The Girl Upstairs acts as a demonstration of the practical application of this new model.