Joanna Quinn

Read ‘Mudlark’ by Joanna Quinn


Joanna Quinn has written a short story entitled ‘Mudlark’ about a notional inhabitant of Flood House, surviving in a future flooded, dystopic landscape. Building on the idea that the structure is primarily a space to inhabit through the imagination (rather than in physical form), Quinn’s approach develops themes that are central to the Flood House programme such as our looming environmental catastrophe; the need to rethink our relationship to land and sea; and a potential future in which living a nomadic, off-grid existence in challenging circumstances becomes a way of life. Although the story is set in the future, it raises questions about issues that concern us now: mass surveillance; the decline of natural resources, and the movement of people across borders, asking us to consider the choices that may be forced upon us if we are to survive. It also draws on the Thames Estuary as a liminal, shifting landscape, and acknowledges the rich history of radical, alternative communities in Essex.

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Joanna Quinn is a fiction writer who lives in Dorset. Her work has been published by The White Review, Comma Press, New Welsh Review and The Bridport Prize. In 2009, she was chosen along with two other gifted writers to be mentored by Booker-nominated author Romesh Gunesekera as part of a national scheme run by the Arvon and Jerwood Foundations, and in 2011, she was one of four writers shortlisted for the national Arts Foundation Fellowship for Short Stories.

Her most recent commissions have been to imagine the future of artificial life for a short fiction anthology that paired writers with scientists (Beta-Life, Comma Press), and to revisit the radical women of Greenham Common for a forthcoming anthology about protest movements.

She is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where her work examines themes of landscape and inheritance.