Dr Pragya Agarwal is the writer of four non-fiction books including the widely acclaimed (M)otherhood and Hysterical. Pragya is a visiting professor of social inequities at Loughborough University and a visiting fellow at University of Oxford. Her writing has been published widely in The Guardian Scientific American, New Scientist, Prospect, Florida Review and Literary Hub. She also teaches creative writing courses for Irish Writers Centre and Arvon.
The topics of motherhood and womanhood can provoke a range of feelings, emotions, and responses. This cross-genre weekend course, led by writer and behavioural scientist, Pragya Agarwal and poet, editor, and novelist Carolyn Jess-Cooke, will encourage you to explore your own personal experience whilst also discussing the societal, historical, and scientific factors that shape the way we think and talk about motherhood.
You will be supported by the tutors and your fellow participants as you consider topics such as fertility, physical change, joy, trauma, and mental health. The tutors will also encourage you to think honestly about the modern-day context of the climate emergency and how such factors can impact our personal and communal decision-making. Over the course of the weekend, the tutors will also share creative writing and research advice tailored to your work, varying from poetry and novels to long-form creative non-fiction.
In a welcoming, supportive, safe, and inclusive environment, you will be invited to take part in group discussions, readings, and writing exercises that will inform, inspire, and hone your thinking and writing, whatever your genre or experience may be.
Carolyn Jess-Cooke is a writer published in 23 languages. In 2014 she led an ACE-funded touring project titled Writing Motherhood around literary festivals in the UK. Her novels The Nesting, The Lighthouse Witches, The Ghost Woods, and A Haunting in the Arctic explore motherhood and feminism and are published under the name CJ Cooke. Based in Scotland, she is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.
Mari Ellis Dunning (Digital)
Mari Ellis Dunning’s debut poetry collection, Salacia (Parthian, 2018), was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year 2019. Her second collection, Pearl and Bone (Parthian, 2022), explores the complexities of early motherhood, and specifically considers the circumstances of becoming a mother during the COVID pandemic. It was selected as Wales Arts Review’s Number 1 Poetry Choice of 2022. Mari is a PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University, where she is writing a historic novel set in sixteenth-century Wales, exploring the relationship between accusations of witchcraft, the female body and reproduction. Mari lives on the west coast of Wales with her husband, their two sons, and their very adorable poochon.