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Have questions for a Creative #Writing Lecturer at Birkbeck?

Julia Bell is a writer and Senior Lecturer at Birkbeck College, London where she teaches on the Creative Writing MA and is Project Director of the Writers Hub website. She is the author of three novels, most recently The Dark Light to be published in May 2014, the co editor of the Creative Writing Coursebook as well as three volumes of short stories most recently The Sea In Birmingham. She also takes photographs, writes poetry, short stories, occasional essays and journalism, and is the co-curator of spoken word night In Yer Ear. Do you have questions for Julia Bell? Have you come across the Creative Writing Coursebook? Have you done an MFA/ MA in creative writing, or taken any other creative writing course? Would you recommend it?

What Relationship Advice would you give your 16-year old self?

“the overall problem is one of a culture where instead of seeing women as, you know, people, protagonists of their own stories just like we are of ours, men are taught that women are things to “earn,” to “win.” That if we try hard enough and persist long enough, we’ll get the girl in the end. Like life is a video game and women, like money and status, are just part of the reward we get for doing well….

….other people’s bodies and other people’s love are not something that can be taken nor even something that can be earned—they can be given freely, by choice, or not.”

I’ve met my share of men who don’t get rejection. I’ve met girls obsessing over guys who didn’t know said girls existed. I still know kids who’re going through the same struggles. I used to be a nerd myself, always more interested in books than people.

In my WIP I have three adolescents, one of whom has trouble fitting in. I’m wondering what sort of advice his parents/ older self should give him. What would you say to your 16-year old self about finding friends, and lovers?