TEACHING

Alongside her own writing, Lesley teaches creative writing at all levels from absolute beginner to post-Graduate. She’s worked at several universities including Sheffield Hall, Edinburgh and St Andrews as well as numerous other venues: schools, libraries, festivals etc.  Lesley considers it a privilege to work with student writers and finds it fascinating to be witness to their developing projects. Her own work has certainly been enriched and stimulated by the process.

She’s often been asked: is it really possible to teach writing? The answer, of course, is yes – and no! You can’t teach someone to have an ear for language, a subtle understanding of human psychology, or a gift for observation, (i.e. talent). Neither can you teach them to have the obsessive nature or the sheer stubbornness it takes to complete a long project like a novel. However, you can teach elements of the craft, thus helping to nurture existing talent. And an important part of teaching creative writing is, like a coach, to be there at the side-lines, willing and cheering the student on.

Her special interest is the study of narrative perspective, voice and point of view – in other words, the delicate and invisible manipulation of reader response that can subliminally (it seems until pointed out) elevate a work of fiction. Often it is the pointing out of these effects that provide her students with those exciting light-bulb moments …

She often teaches one-off workshops and residential writing courses, most recently in Loutro, Crete and at Moniach Mhor for the Arvon Foundation. She also acts as a mentor on the Gold Dust Scheme, and accepts occasional private mentees.