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Nathan Filer

Personal statement

Nathan Filer has taught at Bath Spa University since 2014. He works on the MA Creative Writing programme and coordinates the undergraduate core novel writing module.

He originally trained and worked as a mental health nurse, then later as a mental health researcher at the University of Bristol. He began his writing career as a stand-up poet, featuring at many of the UK’s leading poetry nights and festivals, including Latitude, Port Eliot, Shambala, Big Chill, Glastonbury and the Cheltenham Literature Festival. His poems have been broadcast on BBC radio 4’s Bespoken Word and Wondermentalist Cabaret, and BBC radio 7’s Poetry Stand-up. In 2005 his poetry short film Oedipus won the BBC Best New Filmaker Award and Berlin’s Zebra Poetry Film Award.

The Shock of the Fall, his novel about the life of a young man grieving the loss of his brother was a Sunday Times bestseller and translated into thirty languages. It won The Costa Book of the Year, The Betty Trask Prize, The National Book Award for Popular Fiction and The Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel.

He has written for The Guardian and The New York Times. His BBC radio 4 documentary, The Mind in the Media, which explored portrayals of mental illness in fiction and journalism was shortlisted for a 2017 Mind Media Award.

His research interests focus on mental health and working creatively with marginalised individuals. He holds an Honorary Doctorate of Liberal Arts from Abertay University, conferred in recognition of his work in mental health and literature.

Academic qualifications

  • BSc (Hons) Mental Health Nursing
  • MA Creative Writing

Professional memberships

  • Fellow - Higher Education Academy

Teaching specialisms

  • Creative Writing
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction and journalism
  • Mental Health

Impact

Nathan has featured as a panelist on a number of radio programmes, including: The BBC Radio 2 Book Club; BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking; and BBC Radio 4's Open Book, Front Row, All in the Mind and the Today Programme.

He has guest-lectured at many universities in the UK and overseas, including: London School of Economics; University of Hull; St Mary's University; Birkbeck University of London; Stockholm University; University of Pécs in Hungary; Boston University (UK campus); Ithaca College (UK campus); and the School of British Studies at Berlin Humboldt University.

He has also given presentations at national and international literature festivals, including Hay-on-Wye, Birmingham Lit Fest, Wells Lit Fest, Plymouth International Literature Festival, Morges Literary Festival (Switzerland), Festival du Premier Roman in Chambéry (France) and the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival (US). 

Journalism and Essays

Selected work includes:

  • Life, death and everyday miracles on the NHS frontline – The Guardian Weekend (Cover story), April 2015
  • Rules of Engagement – New York Times, November 2014
  • Why you should ignore superlatives on book jackets – The Guardian, July 2014
  • My Hero: Malala Yousafzai – The Guardian, February 2014
  • Mental Health Care: Where did it all go so wrong? – The Guardian, January 2014

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

The heartland: finding and losing schizophrenia
book

Filer, N (2019) The heartland: finding and losing schizophrenia. Faber & Faber, London. ISBN 9780571345953


The shock of the fall
book

Filer, N (2014) The shock of the fall. Borough Press, London. ISBN 9780007491452


Untitled
book_section

Filer, N (2018) 'Untitled.' In: Cannon, J, ed. Three things I’d tell my younger self. The Borough Press, London. ISBN 9780008318673


Be patient and enjoy what you do
book_section

Filer, N (2017) 'Be patient and enjoy what you do.' In: 31x Pécs : Pécsi iróprogram 2011-2016 = Pécs writers' anthology 2011-2016. VerArtis, Pécs, pp. 317-328. ISBN 9789631283976


18th November 1916
book_section

Filer, N (2015) '18th November 1916.' In: Bartlett, N and Pullinger, K, eds. Letter to an unknown soldier: a new kind of war memorial. William Collins, London, p. 236. ISBN 9780008127251


How to write an award-winning first novel
book_section

Filer, N (2015) 'How to write an award-winning first novel.' In: Owen, A, ed. Writers' & artists' yearbook 2016. Bloomsbury, London, pp. 261-264. ISBN 9781472907073


How to write an award-winning first novel
book_section

Filer, N (2014) 'How to write an award-winning first novel.' In: Owen, A, ed. Writers' & artists' yearbook 2015. Bloomsbury, London. ISBN 9781408192450


Borderline personality disorder: attitudes of mental health nurses
article

Filer, N (2005) 'Borderline personality disorder: attitudes of mental health nurses.' Mental Health Practice, 9 (2). pp. 34-36. ISSN 1465-8720


Nathan Filer in conversation with Professor Anthony David
conference_item

Filer, N (2019) Nathan Filer in conversation with Professor Anthony David. In: UCL Institute of Mental Health Launch, 16 July 2019, University College London, UK.


The heartland: finding and losing schizophrenia
conference_item

Filer, N (2019) The heartland: finding and losing schizophrenia. In: Bristol Festival of Ideas, 19 June 2019, Waterstones, Bristol, UK.


Voices in my head: exploring schizophrenia
conference_item

Filer, N (2019) Voices in my head: exploring schizophrenia. In: Dalkey Book Festival, 15 June 2019, Masonic Lodge, Dalkey, Ireland.


The Heartland: Nathan Filer in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink
conference_item

Filer, N (2019) The Heartland: Nathan Filer in conversation with Cathy Rentzenbrink. In: Literary Event Series, 6 June 2019, Foyles Charing Cross, London, UK.


Nathan Filer talks to Bryony Gordon
conference_item

Filer, N (2019) Nathan Filer talks to Bryony Gordon. In: Hay Festival, 25 May 2019, Starlight Stage, Hay-on-Wye, UK.


Explaining the extraordinary
conference_item

Filer, N (2019) Explaining the extraordinary. In: The Bath Festival, 17 - 26 May 2019, Masonic Hall, Bath, UK.


The heartland
conference_item

Filer, N (2018) The heartland. In: Engaging Empathy Through Creativity Conference, 30 November 2018, Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, UK.


Exploring the effectiveness of a creative writing intervention to promote refugees’ integration and wellbeing
conference_item

Vitale, A, Filer, N, Ryde, J and Smart, A (2017) Exploring the effectiveness of a creative writing intervention to promote refugees’ integration and wellbeing. In: VI International Congress on Migration and Mental Health, 12 October 2017, Rathaus Pankow, Berlin, Germany.


Nathan Filer and Agata Vitale
conference_item

Filer, N, Vitale, A and Hamblyn, R (2017) Nathan Filer and Agata Vitale. In: Writing Well and Writing to Get Well, 19 May 2017, Birkbeck School of Arts, London, UK.


Nathan Filer
conference_item

Filer, N (2016) Nathan Filer. In: Meet the Writer Series, 4 October 2016, Boston University, London, UK.


Keane - introductory talk
conference_item

Filer, N (2016) Keane - introductory talk. In: Psychosis on Screen, 13 June 2016, Watershed, Bristol, UK.


Perceptions of madness: understanding mental illness through art, literature and drama
conference_item

Knapp, M, Carr, S, Farmer, P, Filer, N and McGowan, J (2015) Perceptions of madness: understanding mental illness through art, literature and drama. In: PSSRU LSE Literary Festival, 25 February 2015, London School of Economics (LSE), London, UK.


How to write an award-winning best selling first novel
conference_item

Filer, N (2014) How to write an award-winning best selling first novel. In: TEDx Youth@Bath, November 2014, Bath, UK.


The Shock of the Fall and The Last Asylum at the Royal College of Nursing
conference_item

Filer, N and Gold Taylor, B (2014) The Shock of the Fall and The Last Asylum at the Royal College of Nursing. In: RCN Public Lecture Series, 10 October 2014, Royal College of Nursing, London, UK.


Archive on 4 - The Mind in the Media
audio

Filer, N and Weston, P (2017) Archive on 4 - The Mind in the Media.


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