Rachel Bentham is an award-winning writer currently based at the University as part of a Royal Literary Fund Fellowship. The fellowship allows Rachel to share her experience and skills with Cardiff students who would like to develop their written work...
What a thoroughly enjoyable experience Cardiff Uni has been so far! On the first day I came here to look round the School of Journalism, Media, and Cultural Studies, it was very quiet - almost deserted, as there had been heavy snow. However, the snowman with a fag in its mouth outside Bute building gave me that nice tweak of encouragement - good humour.
During my first semester as Royal Literary Fellow, I have had people of all nations warily pushing my door open. My tutees so far have been Japanese, Ghanaian, Indian, Kashmiri, Saudi, Korean, German, Norwegian, Finnish, Nigerian and of course English and Welsh.
Each student has brought something fresh and unpredictable for us to work on together - every piece of writing presents a unique set of abilities, and of course areas for improvement. Even for professional writers, there is generally room for further polishing and clarity.
There was one exception - a member of staff whose writing was so carefully thought out and finely edited I was almost at a loss, apart from offering respectful appreciation. Tutorials with the Fellow are confidential, but you know who you are, Professor Perfect Hair!
This Fellowship is a bit of a boon for a working writer. Part of my week is spent working alone at home with little feedback and no colleagues, so it's a good balance to get out of my burrow to come to Cardiff and interact with real people rather than fictional ones.
Even better, students seem mostly pleased with the work we've done together, and staff are friendly and helpful, so it's a satisfying and pleasant place to be. The academic work done at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies seems gratifyingly worthy, and I'm proud to be associated with such a respected institution.
As soon as I step off the train at Cathays and begin to walk through campus, I begin to soak up the atmosphere of calm, application and mutual respect.
Rachel Bentham is an internationally published author based at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies for the 2007/2008 academic period. Rachel, who is currently working on her next novel, joined the School after the University was selected for a Fellowship placement by the Royal Literary Fund.