Hello! My name is Rosie Canning.

I’m doing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton under the supervision of Ms Rebecca Smith. My thesis title is: Hiraeth: Finding a Fictional Home.

I want to examine this research through the lens of both creative and critical practice. This means that I will write an autobiographical novel and a critical thesis.

‘Hiraeth’ is an autobiographical novel. Hiraeth has no word in English. It is a Welsh word meaning homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was. I’ve adopted this word for care leavers.

There does not appear to be any critical research about care experience in literature.

The focus of my research is the representations of orphans and care leavers in fiction. I want to examine the research through the lens of both creative and critical practice. This means that I will write an autobiographical novel and a critical thesis. The creative piece will explore my own experiences of leaving care as well as considering the positive aspect that reading fiction has had on my life.

The aim of this blog is to write about orphan literature and the process of doing a PhD and writing a novel.

I am a campaigner for care leavers and helped set up the Every Child Leaving Care Matters campaign.

I’m also Creative Director of  Greenacre Writers where I run writing groups, workshops and festivals.



I have known Rosie for a number of years and what strikes me is her level of commitment and dedication to a cause she believes in. Her drive to document the fictional lives of people in care is remarkable and unique. Only the most compassionate of all of us could undertake her task. The stories she has researched are harrowing and heartbreaking but she is determined that these tales should be read by all to increase empathy for all people who have been through the care system. I cannot reccomend her highly enough.                                                                                                                                         – Alex Wheatle, Author, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (2016)

I first met Rosie when she invited me to speak at The Finchley Literature Festival in 2014, an incredibly well organised event with a really diverse group of authors. It was then that I realised how much of a powerhouse Rosie is, encouraging new writers, creating platforms for established authors, and providing audiences with inspiring talks – and all at the same time as furthering her own academic and creative writing career. Rosie is an excellent networker, with a clear passion for bringing readers and writers together.                                              – Caitlin Davies, Author

I met Rosie in November 2014 at a children’s conference jointly organised by Glyndwr University and The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities. The following year Rosie delivered a presentation about her research, “The representation of orphans and care leavers in literature”, at the 2015 children’s conference and during Care Leavers Week 2016 she presented again at, “HANDLE WITH ‘Therapeutic’ CARE”, the main conference hosted by The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities. In 2017, Rosie is co-led a residential writers group hosted by TCTC which is bringing care leavers with literary aspirations together with published authors in a therapeutic community to tell their story. Rosie’s passion for books and creative writing is infective, she is an admirable ambassador for care leavers and a highly recommended memorable speaker with creative ability to reach the audience.                                                                                                 – Amanda Knowles, The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities



6 Responses to About

  1. What an interesting thesis, looking forward to reading more of your blog! 🙂


  2. Kirsty Capes says:

    Hi Rosie, I’ve just come across your blog and have found it really useful. I’m also a care leaver doing a Creative Writing PhD. I would love to chat to you about your research. Please drop me an email! 1107957@my.brunel.ac.uk – Thanks, Kirsty Capes


  3. bexhillwriter says:

    Hi Rosie, I came across your really interesting blog and wondered if you might be interested in hosting a guest post from me as part of a blog tour for my latest novel in July. One of the main characters is a care leaver. If you could email baldryclaire@btinternet.com I will send you a few details. With thanks, Claire


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