School of English

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Image of Karen Packwood

Karen Packwood

Research Student,


Research Summary

Landscapes of Belonging: Representing trauma and post-abuse identity reclamation.

Writing: a way of leaving no space for death.

Hélène Cixous, 'Coming to Writing'

Within the overall context of trauma writing, [Re]-claim is a praxis-led creative critical contemporary meditation in which I examine the process of writing the identity reclamation process of the brutalised Self. Building on German émigré author W.G. Sebald's poetics of displacement, my research currently focuses on exile, loss, memory, witnessing, testimony, belonging and identity whilst also examining the relationship between trauma writing, narrative form and the 'women writing themselves' theories of l'écriture feminine. Set within the crumbling bombed out buildings and ubiquitous war graves of post-genocide Bosnia, the primary elements of trauma explored are the gaps and holes (LaCapra, 2004) created within the internal psychic landscape impacted by maternal abandonment and the ensuing post-abandonment breakdown, specifically examining the question: how do you write the unspeakable?

Future Research

Within the context of trauma writing, I aim to continue examining the discourse between 21st century praxis-led contemporary creative writing in relation to trauma and post-abuse identity reclamation with a specific emphasis on narrative form, gender, silence and voicing the voiceless.

School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900