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Dr Paul Johnston


LECTURER IN CREATIVE WRITING
English
0151 291 2151
johnstp@hope.ac.uk

Paul Johnston MA MPhil (Oxford) MSc (Edinburgh) PhD (St Andrews)


I am a lecturer in Creative Writing at Liverpool Hope. I teach at all three undergraduate levels and cover many aspects of the course. With my colleague, award-winning poet Eleanor Rees, I am responsible for lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and one-to-one meetings with students. We are very committed to the student learning experience and are proud to have inspired some excellent writing.

My first degree was in classics and Modern Greek (first-class); I then read general and comparative literature at postgraduate level (English and Modern Greek), studying literary theory and critical practice and writing a 25,000-word dissertation on the fictional landscapes of D.H. Lawrence and the Greek writer Stratis Myrivilis. Later, I took a second Master's, this one in applied linguistics, graduating with distinction and writing a 15,000-word dissertation on bilingual reading acquisition. I then researched reading as it is conceptualised in different academic disciplines (very differently...) for two years. Finally, I wrote a novel that was very different to my previous ones and submitted a 40,000-word extract from it, plus 40,000 words of critical and reflective critique on the process, for my PhD; it was entitled Carnal Acts: From Theory to Publication. 

I am the published author of twenty novels at the politically and socially aware end of crime fiction and thrillers. They have received many positive reviews and been translated into over fifteen languages. One series, consisting of eight novels (the latest, Impolitic Corpses, was out in August 2019), is set in a futuristic Edinburgh. The first, Body Politic, won the Crime Writers' Association Award for best first novel and was described in the Sunday Times as 'Plato's Republic with a body count'. The series has been classed as science fiction as well as crime - I have an interest in both genres. Another series - of seven novels, so far - is set in Greece and deals with contemporary and historical politics: the second, The Last Red Death, won the Sherlock Award for best detective novel. Several other novels have been shortlisted for awards. I have also written numerous short stories. My poetry was published after winning a competition. I have also worked on an Athenian newspaper; written the Greek prime minister's foreign press review; and translated books, museum captions, and exhibition catalogue chapters from Greek to English. I am fluent in Modern Greek (and English). Finally, I have produced academic book chapters on crime fiction and pedagogy.

My main areas of interest are writing practice and pedagogy; critical and creative reading (of any and almost all texts); the links between writing and film, drama, philosophy, music, and art; fiction of all kinds except chick-lit; comedy writing, from Aristophanes to Fleabag; epic and lyric poetry; and anything else that grabs my attention. I also like to test the elasticity of the crime fiction genre until it snaps.

I count many writers as personal friends and have a wide range of contacts in the writing world. For ten years, I chaired events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (I lost count after 200...). Among the major writers I interviewed were Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith, Julian Barnes, Kate Atkinson, Howard Jacobson, Maggie O'Farrell, Iain Banks (RIP), Elif Shafak, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and William Boyd.

For more information, see my website: www.paul-johnston.co.uk