Martyn Bedford

Martyn Bedford

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


Martyn Bedford, an internationally renowned novelist, has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He has written five novels for adults: Acts of Revision (Transworld 1996), winner of the national Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award; Exit, Orange & Red (Transworld 1997); The Houdini Girl (Penguin 1999); Black Cat (Penguin 2000); and The Island of Lost Souls (Bloomsbury 2006). Between them, his novels have been translated into 13 languages and two of them – Acts of Revision and The Houdini Girl – were published in the U.S. He has also written a solo short-story collection, Letters Home (Comma Press, 2017).

Martyn also writes for teenage and young adult readers. His debut novel in the genre, Flip, was published to critical acclaim in 2011 by Walker Books in the UK and by Wendy Lamb Books (an imprint of Random House) in the U.S. It was also published in Canada and, in translation, in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, China and Thailand. Flip won four regional prizes in the UK and was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Book Awards. His second teen/YA novel, Never Ending, was published in 2014 in the UK, U.S., Canada, Germany and Poland and was nominated for the 2015 Carnegie Medal. His third teen/YA novel, Twenty Questions for Gloria, was published in spring 2016 in the UK, the U.S. and Canada, and in translation in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the Netherlands. His latest YA novel, The House that Jacaranda Built (Yaffle Press) is scheduled for publication in spring 2021.

In addition to his solo collection, Martyn has also had numerous short stories published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines and broadcast on radio and the Internet. The most recent are Withen, published in the anthology Protest: Stories of Revolution (Comma Press 2017), My Soul to Keep, published in the anthology Spindles: Stories from the Science of Sleep (Comma Press 2015), and The Sayer of the Sooth, published in a science-fiction anthology, Beta-Life: Stories from an A-Life Future (Comma Press 2014). These stories were researched in collaboration, respectively, with leading academics on their fields at Sheffield Hallam University, Exeter University and Manchester Metropolitan University. Two stories - Room Zero (2015) and A Capsule of Time (2013) - were written as special commissions for Malvern College, Worcestershire, and Wellington College, Berkshire, to celebrate World Book Day and were published on the schools' intranets. A Missing Persons Inquiry appeared in the Crime Writers’ Association anthology M.O. (Comma Press 2008). Another story, Letters Home (Leeds Stories, Comma Press 2006), was made into a short film, premiering at the 2009 Version Film Festival, at the Cornerhouse, in Manchester.

From 2008-2010, Martyn was a Royal Literary Fund academic writer-in-residence at Leeds Trinity, a role he also undertook at the University of Leeds: School of Law in 2018-19. He is also a Reading Round lector for the RLF (2019-21), running a community reading group. Martyn has previously taught creative writing at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Manchester, the University of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan University. He is External Examiner for the Creative Writing BA programmes at Liverpool John Moores University from October 2017 to September 2021.

Before becoming a writer and teacher, he worked for 12 years as a journalist in regional newspapers.


Teaching and Administration

ENG5743 Writing & Theme (Co-ordinator/Co-tutor)
ENG5783 Life Writing (Co-ordinator/Tutor)
MA in Creative Writing:
HUM7123/7153 Prose Workshops (Co-ordinator/Tutor)
HUM7113 Writing as a Profession (Co-ordinator/Tutor)
HUM7103 Reading as a Writer (Co-tutor)
HUM7166 Dissertation (Co-tutor)
Creative Writing PhD supervision:
Liz Flanagan, The Teenage Outsider (completed 2017)
Elizabeth Mistry, Crime Fiction and Society (completed 2022)
Kerry Drewery, Digital Narratives in YA Fiction (commenced 2019; did not complete)
Progress Tutor: levels 4, 5, 6 and MA

Research interests

My main areas of interest are the novel, the short story and teenage/young adult fiction. I have been reading and researching teen/YA fiction in conjunction with work on my first four novels for that readership.

Most recently, I researched and wrote a short story, Withen, as a special commission for Comma Press, for an anthology of fiction about political protest, published in July 2017. The anthology pairs writers with academic experts working in the field of social and political history; in the research for mine, which is centred on the 'battle' of Orgreave during the 1984-85 miners' strike, I collaborated with Prof. David Waddington of Sheffield Hallam University.
I have also put together a solo collection of my short fiction, Letters Home, commissioned by Comma Press and published in November 2017, and recently completed a new young-adult novel, The House that Jacaranda Built, for which I am seeking publication. My current work-in-progress is a novel for an adult readership, Frankie Jackdaw Chooses Happy.
I was also one of the supervising team at Leeds Trinity for a PhD Studentship in Creative Writing, titled The Teenage Outsider, which commenced autumn 2014 and completed in autumn 2017. I supervised the creative element of the PhD, a 70,000-word novel for teenagers and young adults, titled Eden Summer, which was published during the second year of the PhD.
I also supervised the creative element of a PhD, Crime Fiction and Society, which completed in 2022, and a PhD in Digital Narratives in YA fiction, which commenced in 2019 but did not complete.
I have been involved in a wide range of public literature-related activities for many years. Appearances at events and festivals include: Melbourne, Turin, Amsterdam, Rimini and, closer to home, Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Huddersfield, Halifax, Wakefield, Norwich, Harrogate, Otley, Swindon, Durham, Manchester, Conwy, Tyneside, Brighton and St Albans.
In 2002 I was a judge on the national Betty Trask Awards for first novels and have judged numerous short-story competitions for local writers’ groups as well as the national Olive Cook Prize (2006). In 2016, I was a panel judge for the children's category and overall-prize category of the Costa Book Awards.
I was a fiction critic for the Literary Review (2000–2009) and previously reviewed for the New Statesman. Other creative-writing teaching includes school writing groups and residential courses for the Arvon Foundation (2001–present), Moniack Mhor, and the Art of Writing (Tuscany). From 2006–09 I was a founding consultant and critic-in-residence for the online writing
I am a member of the Society of Authors, the National Association of Writers in Education and English PEN.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, University of East Anglia

External positions

External Examiner, Liverpool John Moores University

1 Oct 201730 Sept 2021

REF 2029 UOA

  • UOA27 - English Language and Literature


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