British Society of Aesthetics Workshop: Fiction Writing for Philosophers

June 1, 2017 - June 2, 2017
Department of History, Philosophy and Religion, Oxford Brookes University

John Henry Brookes Building, JHB201 (day 1), JHB201, JHB202, JHB203 (day 2, parallel sessions)
Gypsy Lane
Oxford OX3 0BP
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities


  • British Society of Aesthetics


Helen De Cruz
Oxford Brookes University
James Hawes
Oxford Brookes University
Eric Schwitzgebel
University of California, Riverside
Durham University


Helen De Cruz
Oxford Brookes University

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Are you a philosopher and have you always wanted to write stories, following the lead of Iris Murdoch or Jean-Paul Sartre? Or are you a philosopher who has already written fiction and wants to further hone their skills?

In this workshop, held at Oxford Brookes University on 1-2 June 2017, you will learn to write stories or improve your fiction writing. The workshop will feature talks about fiction writing and philosophy (day 1), and individual mentoring sessions (day 2).

Closer to the time, participants to this workshop are expected to produce a sample of philosophical fiction writing. They will receive feedback on their work in one-on-one mentoring sessions. Inexperienced writers will receive feedback on writing samples by one of the speakers. More experienced participants will be paired up with other experienced writers in peer mentoring sessions.

Invited speakers/mentors are

- Prof Eric Schwitzgebel, University of California, Riverside, “Practical and Impractical Advice for Philosophers Writing Speculative Fiction" 

- Dr Sara L. Uckelman, Durham University, “Plot: It's Just Argument in Disguise" 

- Dr James Hawes, professional author, creative writing, Oxford Brookes University, “'To say in 10 words what others say in a book - what others don't say in a book!' (Nietzsche): making your thoughts speak." 

- These invited talks will be preceded by an introductory talk by Dr Helen De Cruz, Oxford Brookes University, “Why philosophers should write fiction”

Time and location:

The workshop will take place in the John Henry Brookes Building at Oxford Brookes University (Headington campus), on 1-2 June 2017.

We will ask a registration fee of £30 to cover the costs of lunch and coffee/tea (online registration will become available closer to the time).

Is this workshop for me?

This workshop is for you if you are a philosopher who already has experience in academic writing, and (1) you have no experience whatsoever but a desire to write fiction, or (2) you already have some experience writing fiction and want to further improve your work. This workshop is not for professional fiction writers.

How do I apply?

Since the workshop is hands-on, we will cap the number of participants at 30. We will thus have to assess how useful the workshop would potentially be for you.

Please write a cover letter (maximum 2 pages) that explains your motivation for attending and what you hope to achieve. Mention your earlier experience in fiction writing (never written any fiction before, just a bit of fiction but unpublished, already published). We aim to have a mix of newbies and more experienced writers.

If you have a writing sample (no more than 3000 words, can be an excerpt if longer) of fiction you have written (unpublished or not), you are very welcome and indeed warmly encouraged to add this to your application.

Given that you will receive feedback on written work, everyone who is accepted for this workshop should commit to writing a piece of fiction by 1 May 2017. This piece should be between 1500 and 7500 words in length and can be either a short story or a (relatively) stand-alone part of a larger work (e.g., novel).

To express your interest, send your cover letter (required), a recent CV (required), and, if available, a writing sample (optional) as attachments to the following e-mail address [email protected] with “Philosophy through fiction writing workshop” in the subject line by 15 February 2017. Decisions will be made by 15 March 2017.

The workshop will abide by the BPA/SWIP good practice scheme. We can help with arrangments for childcare for participants who require this, either at the Oxford Brookes nursery or through a local professional sitter service.

The rooms in which the event will take place are wheelchair-accessible. 

Helen De Cruz is also running a story competition for philosophical fiction, deadline of 1 February 2017. Please consider submitting your work there. For more details on the story competition, see:

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February 15, 2017, 6:00pm BST

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Saint Louis University
Durham University

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