Michael is the author of Novel Histories: Past, Present, and Future in South African Fiction and numerous journal articles and book chapters, primarily on the uses of history in fiction and practice-led research. He is currently chair of the interdisciplinary Northumbria Practice Research Group and heads the university’s Creative Writing Research Group. He has completed a full term on the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Peer Review College and continues to serve as an assessor on bids to the AHRC. He is also a project evaluator and individual ratings referee for the South African National Research Foundation. He serves on the Higher Education committee of the UK’s National Association of Writers in Education and the Programming Committee of the international Historical Fiction Research Network. He was the Business and Engagement Lead for Humanities 2013-2016 and helped establish the extremely successful Northumbria/New Writing North partnership.
He set up the now well-established PhD programme in Creative Writing at Northumbria and served as principal supervisor for the first PhD in Creative Writing at the university; he has since supervised and co-supervised a number of Theses to completion. He serves nationally and internationally as an external doctoral examiner, primarily in the area of creative writing. He is also external examiner for 3 international research Masters programmes in Creative Writing.
His creative/research interests include:
- Creative Writing – prose and verse fiction
- Practice Research – research through creative writing/creative practice as a mode of research
- Reflection as a generative mode in the creative process
- Uses of History in Fiction
- Postcolonial/Southern African Literature
As a student and lecturer in South Africa he performed regularly as a singer songwriter, drawing more attention from the apartheid-era Security police than the music industry; an album of original songs, White Eyes, was banned from air play.
PhD, Philosophy, University of York
`Fiction as a Historicizing Form: Uses of History in Modern Southern African Fiction'1 Sep 1986 - 30 Jun 1993
MA, American Studies, Stanford University
Affirmation in the Contemporary American Novel’
BA (Hons), English Literature, University of KwaZulu-Natal
English Honours (Cum Laude)
Full Member, Society of Authors1 Apr 2010 -