The English and Creative Writing Department were saddened to learn of the recent passing of the author, Storm Constantine.
Over the years, Storm was a ceaseless supporter of our students and offered meaningful and transformative work experience to our young writers at Immanion Press leading to, for many, publications of their own, further postgraduate study and careers in creative writing.
Storm was a frequent visiting lecturer at the department and her no-nonsense ‘warts and all’ insight into publishing, both large-scale, commercial and independent was of immense value to students learning their craft. She encouraged our students to see the options available to them in modern publishing—an ever-changing industry.
In 2016, Storm Constantine published and co-edited (alongside Paul Houghton) a collection of stories called Dark in the Day:
“The idea for this anthology originated during one of my regular sessions as a guest lecturer in Creative Writing at Staffordshire University. I often speak about the day to day running of an independent press, explaining to students how books are created and all the work that goes into them once the actual writing is done. I thought it would be an interesting idea to involve the students in the creation of a book and what better way than to publish a short story collection that included some of their work?” (Constantine, 2016, p. 7)
And so a beautiful collaboration was born. Professional and polished stories composed by our own students nestle seamlessly alongside more seasoned hands like Rosie Garland, Tanith Lee, and Nicholas Royle. Storm never treated our students quite like students, but as professional writers, and Dark in the Day stands as a testimony to the hard work, care and compassion she generously extended to them—and to us as colleagues.
Storm will be very greatly missed by us and by our writers past and present, and long may she live in the work she leaves behind—in over thirty novels and nonfiction books. She is perhaps best-known for her Wraeththu trilogy (1987-1989)—influenced by Birmingham’s ‘Goth scene’ in the ‘80s—and in words ever-resonant today:
“Wraeththu. I shiver to say the word. Something has happened to them. Where did they come from? How did it happen? Why is it spreading like a plague? I have seen what they do. I have seen their faces. They always take their dead with them, always. There is a secret. Don’t you understand? A secret. Wraeththu are not what they seem. They are more than they seem.” (Constantine, 1987)