Novelist Takes up Residence at the University of Gloucestershire

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Prison warden turned novelist, Anna Lawrence Pietroni, has been appointed as the first writer-in-residence at the University of Gloucestershire.

Anna, whose first novel, Ruby Spoon, was published in 2010, took to scribbling in her notebook whilst training to be a prison governor. She has since escaped the prison walls and has been a writer for ten years. More recently she has been delivering writing workshops to children and teenagers, as well as postgraduate bioscientists and running an all night workshop at the Locksmith’s House as part of the Birmingham Book Festival.

“We are delighted to welcome Anna to a role which is the first of its kind for the University of Gloucestershire,” said Dr Shelley Saguaro, Head of the School of Humanities. “The writer-in-residence post is unique in the fact that it’s primarily a research role enriching the work of two Research Centres: Writing, History and Place and Media, Memory and Community, as well as enhancing curriculum and practice-based provision; workshops, surgeries and creative support across the entire faculty, which includes courses in media, arts and technology.”

Anna grew up in the Black Country and read English at University College, Oxford. She has worked in a variety of jobs, from graphic designer to trainee prison governor, before committing to writing fiction.

Anna, who will be based at the University’s Francis Close Hall Campus in Cheltenham, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work across the entire faculty, with photographers, illustrators and creative writers. I look forward to enhancing my own learning, as well as the learning of others, including working with the broader community.”

Anna will be working on a project around the concept of Place, saying: “I want to explore the idea that we’re all strangers to each other’s experience of place. While we might move through exactly the same physical space we have entirely different personal histories, motivations and needs that shape our experience of it. Give us the same co-ordinates, we each navigate with a completely different mental map. I’m interested in trying to make these mental maps explicit and to share them and the stories that they tell. To see if we can become friendly and curious visitors to each other’s place.”

The Faculty of Media, Arts and Technology is home to four research centres and over 40 postgraduate research students. Recent projects include the Hidden Lives project, the Dennis Potter Heritage project and several research centre including the Centre for Writing, History and Place.

To find out more about research at the University of Gloucestershire, please visit

About the University of Gloucestershire

The University of Gloucestershire gained official university status in 2001 but has existed as an educational establishment for nearly 200 years. Our heritage lies in the Mechanics Institutes of the 1830s, with our Francis Close Hall campus founded in 1847 as the Cheltenham Training College.

Today, we have three thriving campuses, Francis Close Hall and The Park in Cheltenham, and Oxstalls in Gloucester, which are occupied by approximately 10,000 students. In 2010, the University invested £5 million in teaching facilities including a new, state-of-the-art media and art and design studios.

The University of Gloucestershire delivers approximately 100 undergraduate course choices including accounting, law, business and management, fine art, TV production, humanities, leisure and tourism, social work and education plus and a diverse range of postgraduate and research degrees, and professional courses.

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Source: University of Gloucestershire

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