Two playwrights appointed as Royal Literary Fellows at University of East London

PICTURED: Dipo Agboluaje and Clare Bayley

TWO DISTINGUISHED London playwrights have been selected as Royal Literary Fellows at the University of East London, specifically tasked with helping students with their essay writing.

The two Fellows, Clare Bayley and Dipo Agboluaje, are funded by the Royal Literary Fund to work in partnership with the University. They are working one-to-one with students, using their expertise in language and communication to help them develop their writing. Clare and Dipo are among 91 Fellows this year who are working in 56 universities across the UK.

Clare Bayley’s plays have been produced at the Young Vic, the National Theatre, Hampstead theatre and internationally, as well as for BBC Radio. She started out as a journalist and theatre critic on Time Out and the Independent newspaper.

Oladipo ‘Dipo’ Agboluaje, a playwright and academic, who has written and staged over 12 plays, is the 2009 winner of the Alfred Fagon prize for playwriting for Iya-Ile (The First Wife).

Bayley, who was a Royal Literary Fellow last year at the University of East London, said she had enjoyed the role very much and was looking forward to helping students again this year as a Royal Literary Fellow. Previously she has also taught theatre writing at London South Bank University and New York University in London. As well as her teaching, Bayley is currently working on a new play to be shown at the Bolton Octagon Theatre in Lancashire.

“What is nice about this role is that there is a real range of students who tend to come and see me, from undergraduates to post graduate students doing MAs,” Bayley said. “Our role is to help students with writing their essays as well as sometimes with things like planning their work timetable or just organising their ideas.

“Often just talking through issues helps things to become clear and enables students to plan and structure their work. Lecturers are so overworked that they often don’t have the time to provide the one-to-one help that we are able to offer students. As we are not employed directly by the University, students can discuss their problems with us as independent advisors.”

For Agboluaje this is his first year as a Royal Literary fellow at the University of East London, although he spent a previous year at the University of Greenwich on the same scheme. He was a Writer in Residence at the National Theatre last year.

He said, “I am really excited about this role. I like interacting with students, helping them to improve the quality of their writing and advising them across the board with their thesis and dissertation.”

As well as his work as a Royal Literary Fellow at the University of East London, he is working on a ‘secret’ film project and also writing a new play. Dipo is available on Mondays between 9am and 5pm at the University’s Docklands campus.

Bayley can be found on the Docklands Campus on Tuesdays and at the University Square campus in Stratford every Thursday, both days between 9.30am and 5pm.

The Royal Literary Fund is a benevolent fund for professional published authors. It is funded exclusively by bequests and donations from writers and others who wish to help writers.

The (RLF) Fellowship scheme for writers in partnership with universities help students, using their expertise in language and communication to enable them to develop their essay writing. Writing Fellows are appointed based on their literary merit and aptitude for the role, and irrespective of their financial circumstances.

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