Awarded the President’s Doctoral Scholarship, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Rosemary is currently researching at The University of Manchester, within the Centre for Creative Writing. She is writing a novel as part of her PhD, under the supervision of award winning poet John McAuliffe, and acclaimed novelist Ian Mcguire, whose novel The North Water has just been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2016.
Rosemary’s PhD thesis, ‘Fictionalising Real People in Creative Media and Literature: How creating characters based on real people influences the quality and validity of a piece of imaginative fiction,’ examines different versions of real people in fiction, specifically Dickens; and gives a voice to the real woman behind Dickens’ creation: Miss Havisham.
“Using academic and practical research methods I’m investigating the way we writers combine the characters we invent with the lived details of real people who provide us with inspiration. As an academic and creative writer, I am always searching for the ‘real’ within fiction, (often giving a platform to people whose lives have been marginalised or rendered silent.) So my current scholarship is an exploration of the places where biography/autobiography and fiction interconnect, in biofiction, autofiction, fictionalised memoirs, biopics, or any of the multifarious hybrid genres which contribute to the arena of ‘Life-writing.’
“For instance, in Between Two Eternities, (Headline/Random House 2000), I projected the real life-experience of a premature baby. Part-novel, part-biography, part-authorial self-exploration, I melded a premature baby’s imagined flights of fancy with the raw data of his life-experience, to explore the nature of dependant and independent existence. My first radio play, Wilde Belles (Radio 4 1996) was autobiographical fiction, and my first TV screenplay Whose Baby (ITV 2004) also dramatised real lives. My current screenwriting work is also often based on or inspired by real people and events. ”
The novel Rosemary is writing, as part of this research is a biofiction: Anchorage. The story presents an invented version of Dickens, who is exploiting and manipulating the life and image of a real person, the woman who inspired his iconic creation Miss Havisham.