Mark P. Donnelly

Professor Mark P. Donnelly (S.S.S./ E.A.A./ B.F.H.S./ S.W.A.S.H.) has been studying armed combat in various incarnations since the age of thirteen.  After years of research and training in the disparate disciplines of western martial arts, sport fencing, stage combat, tournament fighting and eastern martial disciplines, he moved from the US to England in 1996 to undertake a PhD in Medieval Archaeology through York and Oxford Universities.

Professor Donnelly is the host of the Steampunk Social along with several other events this year.

Swordplay Workshop is a combination of “Writing Swordfights” and “Swordplay for Writers“.

Writing Swordfights:
Lots of writers, it seems, want to include sword-fights in their stories. Rather fewer actually manage to include anything which is remotely exciting. If you’re a writer looking for inspiration, I will try to draw together some examples of what works and what doesn’t. If you’re a literature student, this will probably be more for amusement than anything else.

I’ve certainly never seen an examination essay entitled: “Discuss the sword fights in Chrétien de Troyes…

Given that an awful lot of films (and not merely a lot of awful films) feature a sword fight as the climax, it may seem surprising that novels have not taken the same course. That is, until you actually try to write a sword-fight. That’s the point where you realise that what works on stage, or on film, is rather more difficult on paper.

This talk is about how swords work. About the forces that govern the shape and use of a sword, and – most importantly to you – how that relates to your story, and how that can be used to assist in your drama.

Swordplay for Writers:
This talk is about how swords work. About the forces that govern the shape and use of a sword, and – most importantly to you – how that relates to your story, and how that can be used to assist in your drama.

Kicking Ass in a Kilt
Scottish Backsword and dirk – the use and variation of the sword of George Silver (1590s), the Roundheads of the English Civil War (1640’s) and the Jacobites of Culloden (1745). This session is an interactive workshop.

Depending on the setting, the students/participants may be expected to bring their own equipment, though equipment for about 30 can be provided by Professor Donnelly. All gendered people in kilts, skirts, and dresses welcome!