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Creative writing student publishes short story

18 October 2023

Sharif Gemie

Sharif’s tutor at Lifelong Learning encouraged him to submit his story for publication.

When Sharif Gemie retired from his role as a Professor of History in 2017, he felt he needed a new challenge. Sharif, who is 65 and lives in Abergavenny, had completed several creative writing courses but wanted to hone his skills and be able to write in a different genre. He enrolled on the Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy course which was led by Dr Gemma Scammell.

When Sharif submitted his final assessment, a piece called Leading the Way, Gemma was mesmorized. She encouraged Sharif to develop the story and to try and get it published. Leading the Way is an excellent and eerie narrative based on a not-so-future climate change crisis in Wales, where global warming begins to make Wales uninhabitable, and people are forced to migrate to Greenland in order to survive.  The story was recently published by the American journal Muleskinner.

Sharif commented:

“Gemma's course was extremely useful. I learnt of some authors I'd never heard of and was given some useful pointers about describing situations and people in fantastic or future societies. Part of the module was to write a 2,000-word piece of fiction. Gemma introduced me to cli-fi (Climate Crisis fiction) and, as this reflects a deep concern of mine, I decided to write some.

Gemma made some helpful observations about the piece I handed in as an assignment, so I decided to press on and expand it.  The story was set in a future Wales, maybe in the 2060s or 2070s. I entered it for a Welsh short story competition but wasn't lucky. I then heard of a special issue on the theme of 'Refuge' organised by an American e-mag called Muleskinner. To my delight, they accepted my entry within days.”

Sharif has enrolled on Gemma’s next course Further Adventures in Science Fiction and Fantasy which started on 12 October.

The writing bug has continued for Sharif.  Sharif's next novel will be published by Abergavenny Small Press in autumn 2023. It's called The Displaced and it's about a British couple who volunteer to work with refugees in Germany at the end of the Second World War.

Read Leading the Way here

Pre-order The Displaced here

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