I was fortunate enough to be taught Creative Writing by Graham.
I was fortunate enough to be in his final MA workshop group.
I was lucky enough to have him mark one of my assignments.
I was crushed to hear, yesterday, that he had died.
As well as being a wonderful writer, Graham Joyce was a fantastic tutor. He painstakingly went through my manuscript with me, helping me to get it to what he called ‘publication standard’. He wasn’t a soft touch – every tiny flaw in a student’s work was open to criticism and we welcomed it.
Graham reminded me of the importance of storytelling. Where, on an MA there is a strong focus on craft and criticism, Graham was a stickler for story, characters and voice.
He also gave us important DO NOT points to bear in mind when submitting to literary agents.
So, thank you, Graham, for coming back to teach us this year. Thank you for the laughs about characters going for a walk, for shouting at us all about page numbers, and for discussing the evolution of Fantasy writing with us.
Thank you for reading my manuscript and telling me to call this one the ‘final draft’. Thank you for lending me Sister Emily’s Lightship (though I fear it never made its way back into your hands and may still be in your pigeonhole). Thank you for making such an impact in me in such a short space of time.
I will miss you.
You can read Graham’s final blog on the clarity of cancer here: Graham Joyce.co.uk