Fiction novel set in Preston will explore city's Mormon links and an 'under-examined moment in history'
An academic and author will write a fiction novel based on Preston's Mormon links after receiving coveted funding.
Preston's rich Mormon history will be explored in the book, which is currently being drafted by the University of Central Lancashire's Dr Naomi Krüger.
Dr Naomi's novel is still in progress but will follow the journey of a young herbal physician and Mormon missionary challenged to travel to England to persuade existing Preston converts to emigrate to ‘Zion’.
When the missionary arrives, he discovers a divided town, simultaneously reeling from the aftermath of a mill-worker’s massacre while also preparing for the lavish Preston Guild celebrations.
The literature and creative writing lecturer is one of 36 academics who will be awarded a visiting fellowship at the British Library’s Eccles Centre.
A month of research will also be funded as part of the fellowship.
“The fellowship means I can spend valuable time at the British Library immersing myself in archive materials such as original letters, diaries, maps and newspapers," said Dr Naomi Krüger.
“I am excited to build on the research I have already conducted through the Lancashire Archives and Digital Library to help me create a detailed and believable fictional world and perhaps even make some discoveries that will push the novel in new and unexpected directions.”
Exploring what has been called an 'under-examined moment in history', the book highlights the journey of American Mormon missionaries in Britain - who arrived as far back as 1837 - and the subsequent migration of thousands of British Mormon converts to the US.
The tale will also examine the tensions that can arise between faith and science as well as the competing demands of collective responsibility and the desire for personal salvation.
Dr Krüger teaches across a range of subjects at UCLan including short fiction, life writing, story shapes, experimental fiction and creative industry projects.
In 2017 she helped found the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction in collaboration with Comma Press: a prestigious annual writing prize shortlisted by UCLan undergraduate students.
Naomi’s research into the representation of dementia was part of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD that led to the publication of her debut novel, 'May' in 2018.
The novel focuses on central character May's memory loss in the midst of a terrible accident and explores themes of regret and holding on to the past.
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