A Song for Issy Bradley: a Novel and Poetics


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This practice-led research with poetics examines, though creative practice, themes of doubt, faith and miracles in a Mormon context. A Song for Issy Bradley (Hutchinson, 2014) is a product of practice-based research and research for form and content. The novel describes the effects of a sudden bereavement on the Bradleys, a Mormon family. The third person narrative moves between the perspectives of each family member as they grieve and re-examine long-held beliefs, amid the comfort and confinement of their religious community.
The poetics investigates some of the themes that surfaced during the practice-led research, including the absence of parenthood and domesticity from traditional happily-ever-after endings, the use of autobiography as a feminist resource and the presence of domestic dramas in non-fiction writing as a matter of intersection rather than one of invasion.
The poetics discusses the derogatory use of the word ˜domestic' when referencing fiction written by women and the ˜problem' of motherhood for female writers. These issues are explored with reference to fiction by Helen Simpson, Carol Shields, Tillie Olsen, Tessa Hadley, Lionel Shriver and Margaret Forster.
This is followed by a discussion of the narrative strategies in Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, Ali Smith's The Accidental and Alice Munro's short stories, with reference to the narrative strategies employed in A Song for Issy Bradley. And finally, the poetics considers silences surrounding women's life experiences and the illuminating properties of ˜domestic' fiction and non-fiction.
Date of Award29 Apr 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorAILSA COX (Director of Studies) & ROBERT SHEPPARD (Supervisor)


  • novel
  • poetics

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