Over the last few weeks I’ve had the delight of getting to thank the people who have helped me make the journey from starting my PhD to successfully graduating. That ranges from my supervisors Dr Andrew Crumey and Dr James Procter – whose understanding and encouragement kept me on track and whose critical vigilance kept me focused – to the emotional and editorial support of friends, family and flatmates: I owe a particular debt of gratitude to everyone who read and commented on the various drafts over the years. To everyone at the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, Newcastle University – especially my fellow PhD students and the creative writing staff – thank you all and it has been a pleasure studying with you (since I’m staying on at the department for the next year as part-time Creative Writing Development Officer for the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, I’m relieved not to be saying goodbye).
Between 2006 and 2010, my thesis was written with the generous support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Between 2010 and 2011, financial support from the S Y Killingley Trust and from Newcastle University made it possible for me to finish writing-up. As well as being deeply grateful for their financial contribution, I am also indebted to all my funders for believing in my work and considering the project worthy of their investment. Having extracts from Steal This Book selected for publication in print anthologies, as downloads, and online, helped build my confidence in my writing: thank you to Ether Books, Unthank Books, Unbound Press and Spilling Ink Review.
My thesis was dedicated to my parents – Colin and Judy Adams – without whose patience and good humour over the course of my studies it could never have existed. I have no more dedicated or forgiving a reader than my mother.