Leah tackles sensitive subjects to write collection of short stories



leahby Sam Chambers

A former DMU Journalism student is putting pen to paper to write an interlinked collection of short stories.

Leah Stafford, who studied Creative Writing alongside Journalism, graduated from the university last summer, and was inspired to begin writing her tales following a final-year group project for the former that required her and two colleagues to write and publish a book.

Their publication concerned stories tackling the issue of mental health, and piqued Leah’s interested sufficiently enough for her to begin writing a fresh collection.

She said: “The book is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now.

“I’m not someone who writes happy things, I like taboo subjects – subjects people need to read about but sometimes can’t, stuff like mental health, or abduction or rape.

“I know it’s dark and sensitive, especially for those who have experienced the things I’m writing about, but I hope reading stories like their own inspires those people to be strong.

“I always wanted to write something like this so when we got set the assignment it kind of opened my eyes a little and inspired me to continue with it when I left.”

The as-yet-unnamed collection is still in the creative stage at present, as Leah attempts to balance writing with other commitments such as work.

She said: “I’m still at the writing stage at the minute. Last time, I wrote with other people whereas this time I’m doing it on my own, in my own time.

“Setting my own goals can be hard at times as I am so busy at the minute in my personal life, but having passion for writing pushes me to do that.

“I’ve written a few of the stories and I’m currently planning what I can do for the others.

“I want them all to have significance and link in some way. I’m not quite sure what that will be yet but it’s certainly going to be fun writing it all.”

Though still in the nascent stages of a writing career, Leah is already making plans for future efforts, explaining: “It’s going to take a lot of time to finally get the finished product but I’m already starting to have ideas for more books – so I’m just noting them down.”

Away from writing fiction, Leah has been busy writing for various online platforms, and plans to return to Journalism by studying for her NCTJ qualifications.

She said: “I’ve started my own blog (https://thelifeofatwentysomethinggirl.wordpress.com/), so that keeps me up date with writing and getting my work out there.

“I love arts and entertainment so whenever I go see a show or a film or listen to a new album I’ll review it and send it out to online platforms.

“Whilst I’ve been writing reviews, I’ve realised I want to go on and become NCTJ-accredited so I have a better chance at doing what I want to do.”

Leah said her time at DMU has given her a perfect grounding for her fledgling career in writing, and even helps with aspects of everyday life.

She added: “The skills I learnt from both the Journalism and Creative Writing sides of my course balance each other out, fitting together to really help in everything I do.

“Having the stylistic skills and knowledge of how to tell stories from different angles really helps with writing the book.

“Journalism certainly helped with my confidence and being able to talk more openly with people, which helps with my communications in everyday life.”




%d bloggers like this: