Stephen Carver was a City College Norwich student from 1988 to 1989. He studied Open Access Arts & Social Sciences while here. Before Stephen came to CCN, he was a labourer. Now he holds a PhD and is soon to be releasing his first novel! He tells us about his memories of his time at college:
“I found myself, figured out what I wanted to do with my life”
“The lecturers were amazing. I was taught by Dr Alan Metters, Garth Clucas, and Shiela Burgoyne (I’m ashamed to say I forget the name of the equally brilliant lady who taught us Statistics on Friday morning). That course was an incredible preparation for university in terms of content and structure. The course taught me how to read analytically, research, formulate and defend an argument, write a decent essay and deliver a class presentation. I look back on that period in my life very fondly, because I think in that year I found myself, figured out what I wanted to do with my life, while gaining the skills to actually make it happen. I also formed friendships there which remain to this day.
The work was intense, and through it I learned self-discipline. I remember in the interview Dr Metters said how dramatic I sounded when I said ‘I want to change my life,’ but I did and his course was the catalyst. Before I went to City College I was a brickie’s labourer, now I hold a PhD and write professionally. I don’t have the words to express my thanks for this.”
Moving on from CCN
“The Access course secured me a place at the UEA. I studied literature and philosophy, and went on to gain British Academy grants that allowed me to take an MA in Modern Literature and a PhD in Victorian literature. In 1995 I started teaching at the UEA. I also taught temporarily on your Access course. My doctorate became the basis for a book, a critical biography of the 19th century ‘Lancashire Novelist’ WH Ainsworth. I was a student and teacher in English and American Studies at UEA in the era of Malcolm Bradbury, Vic and Lorna Sage, Max Sebald, Charles Barr and Andrew Higson, though I just missed Angela Carter. I was the academic director of English, Film and Cultural Studies at Continuing Education, UEA until 2002 when I accepted an associate-professorship at the University of Fukui, Japan.
In 2005 I returned to the UK. Once again I was working at UEA as a creative writing tutor and then at the Norwich School of Art and Design as a part-time lecturer and study skills adviser. As an academic writer I have multiple publication credits on Victorian literature and Gothic film and fiction, while I’ve also had several short stories published. In 2011 I set up a book design and editorial business with my wife, the artist Gracie Carver, called Green Door Design for Publishing.”
The present day
“I’m still teaching, and am presently Head of Online Courses at the Unthank School of Writing. I still run Green Door, and I am also a reader and mentor for The Literary Consultancy in London. All of this I can do from a home office, which allows me to keep working while also being a stay-at-home dad for our four-year-old son. I also blog on literature and creative writing, and my first novel, Shark Alley: The Memoirs of a Penny-a-Liner, will be launching very soon.”