Dr Carolyn Jess-Cooke
- Senior Lecturer (English Literature)
- creative writing in recovery from mental illness
- writing for public spaces
- the poetry of Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield, Galway Kinnell, Sylvia Plath, Sharon Olds
- contemporary Northern irish poetry
- fantasy/supernatural fiction
- Shakespeare on film
- literary adaptation
Dr Carolyn Jess-Cooke is an award-winning poet and novelist published in 23 languages. Her work has been published internationally in eminent publications such as The Poetry Review, New Statesman, Poetry London, The Stinging Fly, and others, and received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors, the Tyrone Guthrie Prize for Poetry, a place in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, and she has won a Northern Writer’s Award three times in both fiction and poetry categories.
As founder of the Arts Council-funded Writing Motherhood project, Carolyn took 20 female writers on tour around 13 literary festivals in the UK to discuss the impact of motherhood on women’s writing. A creative anthology, WRITING MOTHERHOOD: A CREATIVE ANTHOLOGY, was published by Seren in 2017 – the book was called ‘ground-breaking’ by POETRY magazine and won Book of the Year by Wales Arts Review. As co-editor of the academic journal Studies in the Maternal, Carolyn brings the issues confronting female writers to the forefront of scholarly enquiry. She is a regular keynote speaker at events dedicated to motherhood and mental health, advises a number of arts and literary bodies, and has taught in a variety of community settings, including prisons, schools, libraries, museums, and mental health institutions. Her public textual art is prominently featured in the Astronomy Garden at Framewelgate Moor in County Durham and the multi-million pound mental health complex, Roseberry Park in Middlesborough.
Carolyn’s most recent novel, I KNOW MY NAME, was published by HarperCollins (as CJ Cooke) in June 2017 and is being adapted by Catalyst Global Media into a 6-part TV drama. The novel is also being published in the US and several other languages, and her fourth novel, THE BLAME GAME, is published in March 2019. She is currently working on a psychological gothic novel based in Norway and a poetry collection about invisible illness, astrophysics, and the Anthropocene.
Previously a film academic (with four books published on film sequels and film adaptations of Shakespeare, Carolyn was Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Sunderland University from 2005-2009, followed by a period as Programme Leader for Creative Writing at Northumbria University. At Glasgow University Carolyn is PGT Convenor for Creative Writing and also convenes the MLitt Creative Writing by Distance Learning.
- Arts Council of England Grants for the Arts Award (£4860, 2018)
- PI, ‘Creative writing Interventions for young people in recovery from mental illness,’ British Academy (£9992, 2016)
- K. Blundell Award, Society of Authors (£3000, 2015)
- ‘Writing Motherhood’, Arts Council of England (£14,920, 2013)
- K. Blundell Award, Society of Authors (£1500, 2010)
- British Academy Travel Grant (£400, 2007)
- Arts Council of England Major Writer's Award (£4400, 2006)
- Arts & Humanities Research Council Research Leave Grant (£29,264, 2007)
Dr Jess-Cooke has successfully supervised postgraduate research projects on eco-poetry, historical fiction, representations of Asperger’s Syndrome in fiction, gothic fantasy, amongst others.
She currently supervises projects on memoir and illness, science fiction, transhumanism, poetic representations of the female experience in combat, and the relationship between between creative writing and mental health.
She is interested in supervising projects on any aspects of poetry and fiction, creative writing for mental health, women’s writing, motherhood, fantasy, YA, psychological gothic, memoir, and science fiction.
- Poetry and Poetics (u/g)
- Craft and Experimentation (p/g)
- Creative Writing Workshop (p/g)
- Editing and Publication (p/g)
- Practical Pedagogy (p/g)
- Distance Learning Convenor
I have presented and chaired conference panels, published book chapters in academic textbooks and published numerous academic articles in prestigious peer-reviewed journals such as Literature/Film Quarterly, Screen, Scope, and The International Journal for the Theory and Practice of Creative Writing. As Poetry Advisor for Mslexia magazine I write a quarterly poetry column for an international readership.My creative work has appeared in a broad range of prestigious international and national publications, including New Statesman, Litro, Poetry Review, Poetry London, Stand, Ambit, The Stinging Fly, Tower Poetry, Poetry Wales, Mslexia, Magma, The Wolf, Literary Orphans (USA), Black Mountain Review, Poetry Ireland Review, The SHOp, Interpreter’s House, Women’s Work: Modern Women Poets Writing in English (Seren, 2008), The Lonely Poets’ Guide to Belfast (Belfast: New Belfast Arts Initiative, 2002), and Poetry New Zealand.
- The Blame Game (novel), HarperCollins (UK); Hachette (USA), and other languages, March 2019
- I Know My Name (novel), HarperCollins (UK); Hachette (USA), and other languages, June 2017.
- The Mind Thief (novel), Global (Taiwan), 2016.
- BOOM! (poetry collection), Seren, 2014.
- The Boy Who Could See Demons (audiobook), Random House US (narrated by Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Bruce Mann), 2013.
- The Boy Who Could See Demons (novel), Little, Brown/Piatkus (UK), Random House/Bantam Dell (US), Italy (Longanesi), Germany (Piper), France (JC Lattes), Spain (Longanesi), Portugal (ASA), Brazil (Rocco), the Netherlands (Orlando/AW Bruna), Norway, Estonia, and others, 2012.
- The Guardian Angel’s Journal (novel), Little, Brown/Piatkus (UK & Commonwealth), Guideposts (US), also published in Italy (Longanesi), Serbia (Alnari), China (Beijing Book company), Taiwan, Germany (Piper), France (JC Lattes), Czech Republic (Plejada), Spain, the Netherlands (Orlando/AW Bruna), Russia, Portugal, Turkey (Dogan), Slovenia (Ucila), Norway, Israel (Modan), Croatia, Bulgaria, Brazil, Poland, and others, 2011.
- Inroads (poetry collection), Seren, 2010.
- Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Sequel – co-edited with C. Verevis, SUNY, 2009.
- Shakespeare on Film: Such Things as Dreams are Made of, Wallflower/Columbia UP, June 2007.
- When the Orchard Withers it will be Spring for the Words & Music Festival 14-17 May 2010 at the Sage Gateshead. With fiddler Peter Tickell and commissioned by New Writing North.
WORKS OPTIONED/DEVELOPED FOR TV/FILM/RADIO:
- I Know My Name, optioned by Catalyst Global Media for 6-8 part TV drama, 2017-18.
- The Boy Who Could See Demons, optioned by Sebastian Dungan, 72 Productions, Los Angeles, 2014
- Poem ‘Hare’ (2014) made into a film poem by Melissa Diem in collaboration with the Poetry Society and Poetry International – screened at festivals around the world.
SELECTED JOURNAL ARTICLES/BOOK CHAPTERS:
- ‘Safeguarding Writing for Wellbeing: How Safe is Too Safe?’, Mslexia, January 2018.
- ‘Should Creative Writing Courses Teach Ways of Building Resilience?, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, 12: 2, 2015.
- ‘Writing Motherhood,’ ‘Poetry News’, Poetry Society, Spring 2014.
- ‘What rhymes with “Sesquipedalian”? On poetry and rhyme,’ Mslexia 49, Spring 2011.
- ‘Sequelizing Spectatorship and Building up the Kingdom: The Case of Pirates of the Caribbean, Or, How a Theme Park Attraction Spawned a Multibillion-Dollar Film Franchise, Second Takes: Critical Approaches to the Sequel, eds. Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Constantine Verevis, SUNY, 2008.
- ‘The Promised End’ of Cinema: Portraits of Cinematic Apocalypse in 21st Century Shakespearean
- Cinema’, Apocalyptic Shakespeare, eds. Melissa Croteau and C Jess-Cooke, McFarland, 2008.
- ‘Narrative and Mediatized Memory in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, Scope, June 2007.
- ‘Screening the McShakespeare in Post-millennial Shakespeare Cinema’, Screening Shakespeare in the 21st Century, eds. Ramona Wray and Mark Thornton Burnett, Edinburgh University Press, 2006.
- ‘Virtualizing the Real: Sequelization and Secondary Memory in Steven Spielberg’s A. I.: Artificial Intelligence’, Screen 47: 3 (Autumn 2006), 347-366.
- Editor of Studies in the Maternal Journal, an open-access, international, peer-reviewed scholarly online journal published by the Open Library for the Humanities, 2017-present.
- Writing Motherhood (edited creative anthology) Seren, 2017.
- Butcher’s Dog, issue 5 (as guest editor), 2015.
- Film Sequels: Theory and Practice from Hollywood to Bollywood, Edinburgh UP, 2009.
- Apocalyptic Shakespeares – co-edited with Melissa Croteau, McFarland Press, 2009.
SELECTED ENTERPRISE ACTIVITY
- Poet in Residence, Northern Poetry Library, 2015/6 – I was invited by Northumberland Council to act as poet in residence for a new digital project based at the Northern Poetry Library. The residency involved engaging schools and prisoners at HMP Northumberland in creating a poem for publication in an anthology, and a commissioned poem which was displayed at Palace Green Library, Durham.
- Commissioned Textual Artist for Miller Homes residential development, Framwellgate, Durham, 2011 – approached by an art consultancy to produce a poem for two sculptures produced for an ‘astronomy park’ to be used by local residents (particularly children) in engaging with the stars. This process involved researching astronomy in tandem with the physical properties of stone and the processes used to carve it. The sculpture park was opened at a ceremony by the mayor of Durham.
- Commissioned Writer, Sightlines Initiative, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2010 – I was commissioned by a children’s literature organization to work with an artist to produce a children’s book specifically designed to reflect Reggio Emilia principles of early development.
- Commissioned Textual Artist for Roseberry Park Medical Facility, Middlesbrough, 2009 – I was approached by an Art Consultancy to produce a poem to be carved into a 700m ribbon of corten steel, which is laid into the floorscape of a new mental health facility in Middlesbrough. As part of this commission, I held writing workshops with mental health practitioners and patients, collaborated with typographers, and sculptors, produced a poem, ‘Finding Ways’, and participated in associated PR activities.
- Commissioned Textual Artist for Miller Homes residential development, Framwellgate, Durham, 2009 – I was approached by an Art Consultancy to produce a poem to be carved into a perimeter wall of a new housing development by Miller Homes. I researched the local history of Framwellgate with particular emphasis on its mining heritage, and endeavoured to write a poem that current residents would be able to lay claim to.