Published: 02 March 2016

Write your future with Professor Marion Wynne-Davies

Professor of English Literature, Marion Wynne-Davies, founder of English Literature as a discipline at the University, has shaped the extraordinary expansion of our English Literature and Creative Writing programmes.

Professor Wynne-Davies is primarily known for her path-breaking work on Renaissance Literature and women writers, publishing a prize-winning edition of four plays in 1996.  She teaches a wide range of modules at Surrey, in particular, Renaissance Literature and women writers. She particularly enjoys teaching the postgraduate module, Gender and Identity: Marketing in Practice, for which she regularly receives 100 per cent satisfaction scores from students.

The University of Surrey’s English Literature programme has enjoyed a growth in reputation since Professor Wynne-Davies established the Department in 2007. Our English literature programmes rose 15 places to rank 22nd in The Guardian University Guide 2016 and leapt 55 places to rank 23rd in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide. In recent years our Creative Writing programmes have also enjoyed huge success and were ranked seventh inThe Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.

Professor Wynne-Davies was one of the first to pioneer the use of placements in English Literature and Creative Writing programmes in the UK. In autumn 2016, she plans to teach screenwriting having developed links with Raindance, the longest running independent film organization in the UK, and with the experience of writing her own television crime drama.

Professor Wynne-Davies said: “Screenwriting is a growth area and our students will benefit from learning how to write scripts for television and film.”

Professor Wynne-Davies holds a lifelong interest in freedom of expression. She has recently been commissioned to write a three-volume history of PEN International for Bloomsbury Publishing.

Dangerous Words: the history of Pen International, examines the fraught relationship between literature and politics from the end of World War One to the present-day war against terror through access to the archive of the international organization, PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists, Novelists).

Professor Wynne-Davies said: “The theme that runs through most of my research is Freedom of Expression.

Dangerous Words exposes how, over the last century, international politics has increasingly manipulated literature for its own ends.

At the same time, this fraught liaison means that, rather than writing from within an ivory tower, modern authors have had to engage with the most significant events occurring across the globe.”

Professor Wynne-Davies has uncovered radical new material of major historical significance and with important relevance for writers today. This research, based on freshly unearthed archived material drawn from PEN papers at the Harry Ransom Center (The University of Texas, Austin), demonstrates that while freedom of expression was curtailed and ideals compromised, sometimes literature was able to change the course of events.

The ability of writing to influence politics is particularly relevant for today when freedom of expression is curtailed in so many societies. Professor Wynne-Davies’ research asks us, therefore, to champion authors from around the globe who dare to tell the truth. 

Explore our English Literature and Creative Writing programmes.

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