Poetry in Aldeburgh, 8-10 November 2019 will be hosting 100 poets, artists, academics and musicians performing in more than 40 events. At Life Writing Projects we are delighted to announce that one of our first contributors, Clare Best, will be reading her work alongside poets such as Mona Arshi, Dame Gillian Beer, Julia Blackburn, Alison Brackenbury, Niall Campbell, Carrie Etter, Rebecca Goss, Seán Hewitt, Matthew Hollis, Maria Jastrzębska, Grace Nichols, Richard Osmond, Richard Scott, and Martin Shaw. Clare’s  Breastless: Encounters with risk-reducing breast surgery published here, is a skilled literary and photographic exploration of an often silenced experience. Clare has recently published a new collection: Each Other, with Waterloo Press.


In Life Writing Projects we publish life writing which involves commitment to a project – a set of original, self-imposed rules or constraints that allow the writer to develop a new form of autobiographical writing, and new insights. The concept is inspired by the work of C20 and C21 French artists and writers such as Annie Ernaux, Georges Perec and Sophie Calle (see Further Reading). Projects often relate to place, and take the writer outside into public space or nature (here the work by Katherine Collins, Nirmal Puwar, Christina Sanders and Tanya Shadrick exemplifies this) but they can equally be of a more intimate nature, as in Louise Kenward’s Wardrobe Diaries, or Annie Ernaux’s  The Uses of Photography, a literary and photographic project exploring the erotic in the context of life-threatening illness (Ernaux and Marc Marie, Gallimard, 2005). Life Writing Projects often explore the relationship between text and image, and can combine a variety of forms and media: Clare Best’s Breastless, for example includes a journal, essays, poetry, and collaboration with photographer Laura Stevens. However, the quality of the writing and originality of the project are our primary considerations. Although currently the work is organised around the themes: body; clothes; place; books, future submissions do not have to fit into this rubric.

Life Writing Projects will be open for new submissions of autobiographical projects, between 21st and 31st January 2019.  Maximum word length: 1000 words (if selected, contributors may be invited to expand their work). Please submit within the prescribed dates to, with ‘LWP submission’ in the subject field of your email, and a 100 word biographical note.



Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research

Wednesday 17th October 2018
Room 115, Jubilee Building
University of Sussex

Join us in celebrating the beautiful shades of autumn discussing new experiments in life writing. We are proud to present Clare Best and her new memoir The Missing List. Clare Best has been haunted all her life by dark family secrets. When she agreed to help her dying father record his memoir, she embarked on an urgent quest for the truth. This brought particular ethical and aesthetic challenges, weaving together her father’s words, his ciné-film footage, her own journal entries and scraps of childhood memory. Clare’s reading will be followed by a presentation from Professor Lyn Thomas, curator of Life Writing Projects, which publishes creative and experimental representations of lived experience. Jenni Cresswell will present her new collaboration with Lyn ‘The Black Beaded Dress’. LWP also includes Clare’s multi-media Breastless and excerpts from Lyn’s Clothes Pegs, in which stories of class and gender identity are ‘pegged’ onto items of clothing.

Together, we will debate questions of perspective, identity and art central to the task of life narration in any media, as well as the challenge of finding truth in an age when it is arguably threatened, paradoxically, by ‘truthiness’.

There will be time for questions and discussion, followed by wine, soft drinks and nibbles till 6.30pm.


This event is jointly organised by the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research and the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex It is supported by the John Smith Bookshop and open access publisher REFRAME.

For further information, please contact Margaretta Jolly



Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research

Strange Sussex: The Old Weird Albion – Psychogeography and the Space of Life Writing

Join us to welcome in the spring by celebrating strange Sussex landscapes in readings and discussion.

We are proud to present Justin Hopper and his new book The Old Weird Albion.

Hopper traces personal memories, myths and forgotten histories from Winchester to Beachy Head, joining New Age eccentrics and accidental visionaries on the hunt for crop circles, ancient chalk figures and eerie suburbs: the ruins of prehistoric pasts and utopian futures. Hopper casts himself as the outsider – an American initiate searching for an English heritage – and mixes doubt with desire in pursuit of mystical encounters in the Downs.

This will be followed by contributions from the Lewes Psychogeography Group and Dr Hope Wolf, curator of the recent exhibition Sussex Modernism as well as time for questions and discussion.

Monday 19 February, 5-6.30pm
Fulton 104, Fulton Building
University of Sussex

Brighton BN1 9RH

Free entry. RSVP essential.

ALL WELCOME; DISABLED ACCESS. FREE EVENT with wine and nibbles till 6.30pm.

his event is jointly organised by the Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research and the John Smith’s Bookshop.

For further information, please contact Margaretta Jolly