Rosemary Kay



A professional novelist and screenwriter, since 1996, Rosemary has written for BBC Drama, ITV, Festival Films, Headline Pictures, Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures and Granada; and is currently in development with World Productions, Endor Productions, and Warp Films.

She has won many industry awards, including BAFTA, RTA, Sony, Banff International, Richard Imison, Alfred Bradley, Toronto Festival Jury Prize, Telluride Festival Audience Prize, the Dennis Potter BBC2 Award and a Prix Europa.

Her first book, Between Two Eternities, was published by Headline in the UK. Saul was published by Random House in Canada, and St Martin’s Press in America, and has been translated into several languages. An updated version has just been reprinted under the title: Saul: Between Two Eternities.

Thesis title

Fictionalising Real People in Creative Media and Literature: How creating characters based on real people influences the quality and validity of a piece of imaginative fiction.


Ian McGuire, Jerome De Groot, John McAuliffe.

Research summary

Using critical and fictional methodologies I am examining the process of creating different versions of real people in fiction, specifically Dickens; and through the praxis of writing a fictional version of Dickens in a novel, I’m exploring the symbiotic relationship we writers negotiate between the verifiable lived details of the real people who constantly provide us with inspiration, and the details of the characters we invent. In the process I create a new version of Dickens, and give a fictional voice to the “real” woman behind Dickens’ creation Miss Havisham.

As an academic and creative writer, I search for access to the “real” within fictional structures, (often giving expression to people who are marginalised or rendered silent,) and exploring the complex nexus where biography/autobiography and fiction interconnect.

For instance, in Between Two Eternities, (made into an award-winning film, This Little Life) I projected the real life-experience of a premature baby. Part-novel, part-biography, part-authorial self-exploration, I melded a premature baby’s imagined flights of fancy with the raw data of his life-experience, to explore the nature of dependant and independent existence.

My first radio play, Wilde Belles (Radio 4 1996) was autobiographical fiction, and my first TV screenplay Whose Baby (ITV 2004) also dramatised real lives.

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