Cordelia Feldman Prize for Life Writing WINNER : Bediye Topal

Birkbeck Creative Writing and the family of Birkbeck alumni Cordelia Feldman, are delighted to announce the inaugural Cordelia Feldman Prize for Life Writing. The winner of the inaugural prize is Bediye Topal with her piece X and I.
Bediye was born and raised in a village in Southern Turkey and came to the UK as a refugee in her early twenties. Her piece X and I is about that experience. You can read and extract from her winning piece on MIR Online.
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Well done me, by Cordelia Feldman – extract

I’m sitting up in bed at my parental home, writing this on Mum’s computer. At the moment I spend about four days per week here, and three days at my flat. This house, where I spent the first thirty years of my life, is in Radlett in leafy Hertfordshire, just on the edge of the green belt. My cat Spitfire, also known as the Fluffy Monster, or more recently, Precious Angel Fluffball lives here as I am too ill to look after him. … Continue reading →


X and I, by Bediye Topal

I belong to a race whose alphabet contains the letters Q, W and X. They are letters. Just letters like any others. But for the Turkish state, these aren’t just letters. They banned them.… Continue reading →

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1960s London. Driven by deep suspicion of the charlatan psychiatrist her sister frequented before her suicide, a young woman decides to visit him herself, under the guise of an alter ego. The psychiatrist in question, Collins Braithwaite, is a notorious celebrity quack, famed for his unconventional methods. In seeking the truth, she finds that even the nature of truth is uncertain… Continue reading →

Review: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Thematically, Sea of Tranquility is a fairly standard time travel mystery, offering three distinct timelines, linked by a fourth. In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. John. St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic to the new world, adrift and uncertain of much at all. In 2020, Mirella Kessler mourns her friend Vincent Alkatis Smith (both of these characters also appear in Mandel’s earlier novel The Glass House) and tries to make sense of the circumstances around her death. … Continue reading →

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They were stones in a champagne flute,
I was always bound to smash.
But they were there for a while,
hanging on, two faceless punters waiting
for the gag, and then it all slipped out
of me as easily as a giggle. Once is a mistake.
Twice is careless. By the end of it
you could hear a pin drop in my heart.… Continue reading →

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