Memoir, fiction, autofiction.
Three month mentoring.
Nell Stevens is the author of Bleaker House (2017) and Mrs Gaskell & Me (UK) / The Victorian & the Romantic (US/CAN) (2018), published by Picador (UK), Doubleday (US) & Knopf (Canada). She was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2018.
She has a PhD in Victorian literature from King's College London, and an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University.
Nell is particularly interested in working with writers who want to use their own life in their creative work, as well as projects that explore queer narratives and/or women’s lives in fiction, autofiction or memoir.
A girl, a laptop, and a waddle of penguins. In this witty and genre-defying memoir, a young writer can travel anywhere she wants to finally finish her novel—and ends up on a frozen island at the bottom of the world.
Twenty-seven-year-old Nell Stevens was determined to write a novel, but life kept getting in the way. Then came a game-changing opportunity: she won a fellowship that would let her live, all expenses paid, anywhere in the world to research and write a book. Would she choose a glittering metropolis, a romantic village, an exotic paradise? Not exactly. Nell picked Bleaker Island, a snowy, windswept pile of rock in the Falklands. There, in a guesthouse where she would be the only guest, she could finally rid herself of distractions and write. Before the spring thaw, surely she’d have a novel.
And indeed, other than sheep, penguins, paranoia, and the weather, there aren’t many distractions on Bleaker. Nell gets to work on a charming Dickensian fiction she calls Bleaker House—only to discover that total isolation and 1,085 calories a day are far from ideal conditions for literary production. With deft humour, the memoir traces Nell’s island days and slowly reveals details of the life and people she has left behind in pursuit of her writing. They pop up in her novel, too, and in other fictional pieces that dot the book. It seems that there is nowhere Nell can run—an island or the pages of her notebook—to escape the big questions of love, art and ambition.
Terrifically smart, full of wry writing advice, and with a clever puzzle of a structure, Bleaker House marks the arrival of a fresh new voice in creative nonfiction.
'A fascinating look at a writer’s process, a provocative meta-exploration of the line between fiction and non, and a portrait of the awkward early years in the life of an artist.' Vogue
'One of the most original, entertaining, and thought-provoking books I have ever read about the difficulty of writing a book.' The New Yorker
'Bleaker House is an enthralling reflection on writing: how it is taught and how you learn to do it.' Daily Express
Read more about Nell's books here >>