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Catching up with... Dr Laura-Jane Foley

This month we catch up with playwright and academic Dr Laura-Jane Foley who has recently been shortlisted for a Women of the Future award.

When were you at Kingston and what did you study?

Dr Laura-Jane FoleyI completed my PhD at Kingston between 2011 and 2013. My research was centred on ekphrasis (poetry from art). I also taught on the undergraduate Creative Writing course.

What have you been up to since?

My play An Evening with Lucian Freud ran in the West End last year; I've written opera pieces with composers Luis Soldado and Stephen Barlow; I curated 'The Shakespeareans' exhibition at The Club at the Ivy; I've written occasional newspaper articles and I've also lectured part time at Cambridge University.

Why did you choose Kingston?

I live in Central London so it was conveniently located tube and train-wise. And it was close enough to get a black cab.

What do you remember about your time at Kingston? In three words. 

Very helpful librarians.

Have you been back to Kingston since graduating? If so, what for?

Last year I was invited back by David Rogers to give a reading and a talk to the Kingston Writing School. It was great to interact with Kingston's engaging and committed student community.

What's your greatest achievement?

Definitely the PhD. I've had quite a lot of success in the past 3 years but how do you judge success in the creative arts? Reviews? PR? Book sales? It's so subjective. A PhD is a huge undertaking and the assessment is so academically rigorous that when you pass you know you've really achieved something special.

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

"This too shall pass". It's not just advice for my 18 year old self but for me to remember now and in the future too. Sometimes life can be traumatic or disappointing but you have to have faith that "this too shall pass" - if not today, eventually.

What last made you laugh?

My beautiful baby daughter. She's gloriously eccentric.

What's your ideal weekend?

I'm really lucky that the things most people do for pleasure - going to the theatre, or art galleries - are things I do for work. So my ideal weekend would probably involve going to spend time with my parents who live by the sea. I find the sea troubling and inspiring in equal measure. I think it reflects back the mood you're in (which might not always be a good thing) but it is beautiful and mesmerising.

You are to live out your final days on a desert island ...

a.           Who would you take with you and why? (one person only)

I'm a new mother (I had a baby 3 weeks ago) so it's quite exciting and novel to be able to say my daughter.

b.           What book would you take and why?

It would be hard to be bored with an encyclopedia.

Tell us something no one would guess about you

I love tennis. I used to play well when I was younger but I'm more of a spectator now. I'm a big fan of Roger Federer - I'm not sure how I'll cope when he retires.

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