We’re delighted to announce that Jamie Edgecombe has been appointed as Writer-in-Residence at Plymouth University supported by Literature Works. This exciting programme is back for another year to inspire the creative writers of the future who are studying English and Creative Writing at the university to get writing.
Engaging with students in a programme including workshops, talks and blog posts from October 2016 – May 2017, we wish Jamie the very best of luck! Look out for Jamie’s work appearing our website and around the Plymouth University campus soon.
Literature Works caught up with Jamie to find out more about him ahead of his residency:
Jamie Edgecombe (appearing in print as James Edgecombe) is an author of historical fiction set in the Far East, predominantly Japan. He was the recipient of the inaugural Manchester Metropolitan University Novella Award in 2014 for The Art of Kozu. With connected stories that unfold within early twentieth century Paris and the Saigon of the Japanese occupation during World War Two, The Art of Kozu, ‘spans epic proportions as it moves between countries, continents, and time periods. Edgecombe is nothing short of ambitious in this meticulously detailed, well-researched story. His writing is evocative of both place and time’ (Eric Nguyen of Diacritics). The Art of Kozu is available from Sandstone Press.
Born in Plymouth, Edgecombe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and geography from The University of Wales, Swansea in 2001. In 2008, he was a writing fellow for Single Island Press, a small publishing house based in New Hampshire, USA. It was during this time that he worked under the guidance of Dr Thomas D’Evelyn and exclusively on Japanese poetic forms, especially haiku and haibun – an apprenticeship in image making and structure that was crucial to his development as a prose writer. He has won a number of awards in haiku. He gained a MA in Creative writing with distinction from Plymouth University in 2012. It was during his MA studies that he began to explore in earnest his two major passions in prose: historical fiction and the ‘writing of, and out of, art.’ These themes came together to form The Art of Kozu and also his work-in-progress, Bone Painting.
His interest in Japanese culture, its history and art, began after a trip to Sapporo, Hokkaido, as a teenager in 1999. Having grown up in the monocultural Plymouth of the 1980s, the experience was both humbling and exciting. Afterwards, while studying the poetry of post-war American poets like Gary Snyder, he was inspired to explore Japanese literature and aesthetics. Between 2001 and 2004, he returned to Sapporo to work for the city’s local education authority as an assistant language teacher on the JET Programme.
His writing takes a strong interest in Japan’s wartime experiences, too, and, as such, Bone Progress is a novel that seeks to explore the relationship between the past and art’s role in memory making (or forgetting). This is quite a personal topic given that his wife is Japanese and his two children are blessed with a multicultural background. This coming together of cultures still amazes him, especially given that his own grandfather fought against the Japanese in Burma and that his father’s uncle was a prisoner of war on the outskirts of Hiroshima City at the time of the atomic bombing.
Since 2005, he has lived in Tavistock, Devon, where he teaches English at Tavistock College.