'The short knife', a novel for young people & Contextualising commentary - Liminal language: the poetics and power dynamics of Welsh-English transnational creativity in 'The short knife'

Caldecott, E (2019) 'The short knife', a novel for young people & Contextualising commentary - Liminal language: the poetics and power dynamics of Welsh-English transnational creativity in 'The short knife'. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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Abstract

This critical commentary makes explicit some of the implicit ideas of the accompanying novel for young people, 'The Short Knife'. The two parts should be read together, as a piece of Arts Praxis research. There are four sections to the commentary, mirroring the narrative journey of the novel's main character. Each section develops in a dialogue between critical reflection, creative writing, and the conceptual framework of both transnational creativity and writing for young adults, including reference to other texts, notably 'Sweet Pizza' by G.R.Gemin and 'The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo' by Catherine Johnson. The section entitled "Protected" sets out the poetics of the novel; the moments of position enunciation that led to the creation - by the use of transnational creativity - of a unique voice. I sought to find a liminal space between Welsh and English that would seem simultaneously familiar and alien to both English-only and bilingual readers. The resultant voice is a new contribution to knowledge in the field of creative writing. The sections "Disrupted" and "Confined" deal with the discovery and emergent implications of my poetics. Significant insights were gleaned by applying techniques inspired by transnational creativity explicitly to writing for young people. Themes developed demonstrating the commonalities of the two writing forms, which can be harnessed by creative writers wishing to enrich their writing for young adults. These themes include: determining in-group or out-group status; personal identity; balance of power, and, most significantly for me while writing 'The Short Knife', betrayal. "Fledged" explores the synthesis of these themes, both within the novel and within myself, in my role as writer and guardian. The scope of this work is limited by the methodology which requires that the experience of the author remains central to the process. I have focused on betrayal because this was the most creatively useful emergent theme for me. However, I can see that there is potential for other effects to be dominant, if the approach were used by another author. I have also limited the discussion of power to the relationship between community and individual. I recognise that there are other power dynamics at play, especially that of gendered power. While this was considered during the writing process, it is not included here because of pressures of word count. The conclusion sets out the significance of these findings for other creative writers. Beyond the academic and artistic audience, however, I also hope that the creative work will have an impact on young readers in the process of negotiating their own coming of age.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Note:

The document attached to this record is the contextualizing research section of the thesis only. It does not include the creative component, which is the manuscript for the novel 'The short knife'.

This research was carried out in partnership with the University of Aberystwyth and funded by the South-West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Keywords: creative practice, creative writing, YA literature, narrative journey, transnational writing, liminal space, Welsh language writing, English language writing, bilingual readers, personal identity, power dynamics, betrayal, coming-of-age literature
Divisions: School of Creative Industries
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2020 14:06
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2020 14:35
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