purpureus is a fiction writing group consisting of PhD students at Royal Holloway, University of London. Apart from workshops dedicated to discussing short stories, flash fiction and extracts from novels, we organize readings and events featuring visiting writers.

The group’s name came up during a debate on the definition of purpureus, which in Latin apart from the colour purple signifies the brilliant, shining and beautiful. Yet its use by Roman poet Horace led the term to acquire the negative connotation of ‘purple patches’ in prose. The apparent obscurity of the word seemed fitting for the group, since its journey and one of its main purposes is to explore fiction, and attempt to discover which parts of it are brilliant and which are, well, purple.

Our Members, past and present:

Susan Gray is a first year in the Practice Based Research PhD course, focusing creatively and critically on the act of staging Science Fiction. Originally a chronic short story writer, she experimented with poetry, spoken word and monologues before finding her feet in playwriting and hasn’t quite looked all the way back (she’s not an owl, after all). She has performed at Shunt at London Bridge, the Poetry Cafe, the Roundhouse and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and recently had her one act plays staged in London – one of which was a 2 hander Science Fiction play.

Ishita Mandrekar grew up in Mumbai, in a house by the sea. Before she came to the UK, she received a degree in Mass Media, worked as an interior designer and had her first article published as a freelancer. Her short story was published in Milestone, an online magazine. She is currently pursuing her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Aamir Mehar studied English Language and Literature for his BA at King’s College London, and then completed the MA in Text and Performance at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King’s College London. He is currently working on a Creative Writing PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Dimitris Melicertes was born in Athens in 1988. He studied Greek Philology and Linguistics at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens before undertaking the MA in Writing at the University of Warwick. He now lives and writes in London, working on a novel for the PhD in Creative Writing and Practice-based Research at Royal Holloway University of London, under the supervision of Benjamin Markovits. In 2012, he translated into Greek three children’s books by Leila Rasheed which are published by Metaixmio. — dmelicertes.com

Preti Taneja is a Visiting Lecturer and Doctoral researcher in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is also a journalist and filmmaker specialising in human rights. Her campaigning documentaries from Kenya and Rwanda among other places can be seen on erafilms.co.uk. ‘Verity’s Summer’ which deals with secrets surrounding the torture of Iraqis by British troops, is her first feature length drama as script editor. It will be in UK cinemas in March 2013: veritys-summer.com

Emma Venables, originally from Staffordshire, gained a BA in English with Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing from Bangor University in North Wales. Recently, she swapped the serenity of the Welsh mountains for the chaos of life down south. She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing and Practice-based Research at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the supervision of Dr Douglas Cowie. She mostly writes short fiction and is currently working on a collection of interlinking short stories.

Eley Williams’ previous writing commendations include the Christopher Tower poetry prize and awards from the London School of Journalism, the Franco-British Council and London Fringe Festival Short Fiction Awards. Recent creative projects have included a short story ‘Hang-Ups’ developed for an interactive installation with ShadowStage, the country’s first contemporary shadow theatre company, and prose pieces set to music by composer Steven Jackson for ‘Noise of Many Waters’, the Royal Northern College of Music’s exhibitive showcase event. — giantratofsumatra.com