Belfast Telegraph

Queen's University snub for novelist Bateman

By Amanda Poole

He's a crime writer of renown, and his books have been on Queen’s University’s curriculum.

Yet in a twist that Kafka would have been proud of, Colin Bateman has been left baffled after the university ruled him out of lecturing in creative writing — because he doesn’t have a degree.

The Bangor author recently applied for a post as a lecturer in creative writing at the university.

Bateman, who currently teaches creative writing at the South Eastern Regional College, received a letter on Wednesday telling him he was not getting an interview.

When the author, recently listed in a Top 50 Crime Writers of all-time poll, queried this, he was advised that staff are bound by job specifications and as he does not have a degree, he could not be shortlisted for interview.

He has branded the decision to refuse him an interview for the post as “ridiculous” and “crazy”.

During his career, Bateman, who was born in Newtownards, has produced some 30 best selling novels, including Divorcing Jack, which became a hit film, and Murphy’s Law, a successful television series starring James Nesbitt.

“I’m not for one minute saying I should just be able to walk into this job,” Colin said.

“But to be denied an interview just seems a bit ridiculous.”

Colin told the Belfast Telegraph he is annoyed because he had been encouraged to apply for the job by three different lecturers in the department, his books have been taught on the curriculum and he has been a guest speaker at Queen’s creative writing course.

He said the honorary degree he received from the University of Ulster for services to literature means he could call himself Doctor Bateman if he wanted.

“It just seems a bit crazy that someone with vast experience can be excluded in favour of someone with a piece of paper,” Colin said.

“I’ve been teaching creative writing at South East Regional College since the start of the year, and they didn't even ask if I’d passed my cycling proficiency.”

Colin said he would love to know who writes the job specifications at Queen’s and wonders how many other talented people, whose experience could be used to enhance the education of students are being denied the opportunity to do so.

A Queen’s spokeswoman said: “In order to be shortlisted for interview, all applicants for lecturing positions at Queen’s University must meet the essential criteria as listed in the job description.

“This is to ensure that the process is fair for all the candidates.”

Background

A selection of Colin Bateman’s work: Divorcing Jack; Cycle of Violence; Mohammed Maguire; Chapter And Verse; The Horse With My Name; Maid Of The Mist; Of Wee Sweetie Mice And Men; Murphy’s Law; Turbulent Priests; Wild Harry; Murphy’s Revenge; Shooting Sean; I Predict A Riot, Titanic 2020; Orpheus Rising, and Belfast Confidential.

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