We take students of any age and from anywhere in the world. All you need is a desire to write exciting words and spend two years working on a novel. This is the only Creative Writing MA in the UK or USA which helps you write a whole novel. And it works: one in six of our students currently goes on to sell their novel and The Guardian named this programme as one of the top three in the country.
All our group teaching is conducted in the evening – so if you have a job or a family, you can still take this course. We actively seek to attract people who, with other life commitments, are still 100% committed above all to writing great fiction. This is a one-hundred week course which turns you into a novelist. Find out more about our students who are now published.
At the end of this Novels MA, you will be very different; you will have written a novel - polished and ready to send to publishers and agents.
This unique MA allows you to focus on one of two areas: Literary Novels or Crime Thriller Novels. This is a focused, high-intensity course, so we never take more than 14 students each year (14 for Literary and 14 for Crime Thriller), therefore you must apply for a place for Literary Novels or for Crime Thriller Novels at the outset.
At the core of City's unique Novels programme is the experience of established writers. Everyone who teaches on this MA course is a working, published novelist. Find out more about the prize-winning writers who are currently teaching on this course. Their experience underpins all the teaching. They understand the industry and they know what it takes to get published.
We also host regular Q and A sessions with major, established authors. Find out who has visited our students recently. We value range of opinions and approaches on this course. We don't believe in rules, we believe in what works.
Workshops, seminars and lectures are 6pm to 9pm every Tuesday and Wednesday of the first two terms. Thereafter tutorials are fixed at mutually convenient times – we are always happy to work around your other life commitments.
Everyone who teaches on this course is a published and working novelist – we strongly believe that only published writers understand everything it takes to write a novel.
The core of the teaching comes in one-to-one tutorials which are used to discuss a minimum of 10,000 words of your novel in progress. Thus, across the two-year programme we read and discuss more than 200,000 words of creative writing from each student. Tutoring is adapted and flexible to the needs of the novel you are writing.
In the first two terms, we aim to provide you with the toolbox for when you start the novel. This covers every way in which you might approach constructing and writing and steering your novel: we look at the word, the sentence, the paragraph, the chapter and the overall plotting and structure of a full-length novel. During these terms, we encourage you to experiment with your writing, to find skills and aptitudes you didn’t know you possessed. We also examine published novels, taking them apart like clockmakers, to see how the constituent parts make them tick. There is no literary criticism on this course – we are not theorists, we are a craft-based course, teaching you the techniques and devices (and pitfalls) required when writing your first novel.
In addition to the tutors and lecturers, there are termly Q and A sessions with visiting guest authors each term.
To get the most out of this course you will write 2,000 words a week for 100 weeks. 2,000 in order to generate 1,000 proper, edited words. During the first two terms, the exercises requires you to submit 1,000 words each week. For the remaining 80 weeks of the course, you will be writing your novel and the average length is 80,000 words. This is a serious course for serious writers who want to work hard and push themselves to write better.
In addition, during the first two terms there are two other modules which will help you analyse and plan.
Terms 3 to 6
This course will help you to bring a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction as near to publishable quality as possible. Working with tutors and other writers on the course, you’ll develop your writing and build up a substantial body of work. Weekly workshops are taught by a strong team of published writers, and there are regular visits by literary agents, publishers, magazine editors and broadcasters, as well as other writers.
Due to the reputation of the MA in Creative Writing, we are able to recruit excellent students who form an exciting and mutually supportive community of writers every year.
The course is modular and is currently offered for full-time study only.
• To plan a manuscript (a novel, collection of short stories, collection of poems or book of literary non-fiction) and complete it, or a substantial part of it, brought to publishable quality or as near as possible.
• To understand literary form, style and genre, as relevant to your chosen form of writing
• To acquire a variety of relevant writing techniques, and research techniques to support writing, and adapt them to your particular creative project.
• To understand and respond creatively to questions arising from the subject-matter, themes, genres, traditions and other literary contexts with which your chosen manuscript is engaged.
• To receive and give precise and sensitive critical feedback in workshop groups and one-to-one tutorials.
• To respond creatively to feedback provided by tutors and other students, adapting that feedback to your particular vision of your book.
• To understand choices and opportunities relevant to your chosen manuscript, including questions of how to place your work, and the role of agents, publishers and editors.
Each student will take two workshop modules, two context modules and a double module entitled 'The Manuscript':
In the first trimester ‘Professional Skills’ provides intensive group discussion and some plenary lectures. You’ll bring short pieces of writing to workshop groups consisting of a tutor and not more than seven other students. There are separate groups for prose and poetry. You’ll submit a manuscript proposal halfway through the module.
In trimester two, you’ll take a second workshop module in either prose or poetry.
Each context module explores connections between your creative writing and the wider world as represented by a theme or genre. Seminars are divided between considering set texts and workshopping your creative writing. You’ll take a context module in trimester one and another in trimester two.
In trimester three, ‘The Manuscript’ will be taught by means of one-to-one tutorials. This is the culmination of the course – the book, or substantial part of a book.
For more information on course structure and modules please go to: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/courses/pg-creative-writing/
You’ll be taught in group workshops and seminars, one-to-one tutorials, plenary lectures and a residential weekend.
The teaching team in 2015-16 included the novelists Ian Breckon, Nathan Filer, Maggie Gee, Tessa Hadley, Samantha Harvey, Philip Hensher, Beatrice Hitchman,Tricia Wastvedt, Fay Weldon and Gerard Woodward, the poets Tim Liardet, Lucy English, Neil Rollinson and Sean Borodale, the historical novelists Celia Brayfield and Kylie Fitzpatrick, the nature writer and memoirist Richard Kerridge, the nature writer Stephen Moss, the travel writer Joe Roberts and the literary memoirist Gavin Cologne-Brookes.
You’ll be assessed entirely by coursework: mainly creative writing, plus two short essays, a manuscript proposal and a short commentary on the manuscript in progress.
For more information on assessment please see the course handbook: https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/media/bathspaacuk/course-handbooks/course-handbooks/PG-Creative-Writing-Handbook-2016-17.pdf
Current or former students have been awarded excellent contracts for novels; been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Orange Prize, Costa Prize and the Guardian First Book Award; received the Betty Trask Prize, Manchester Book Award and a W.H. Smith New Talent Award, and reached the best-seller lists.
In recent years, several current or former students have been awarded excellent contracts for novels; Two were long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, three for the Orange Prize, one for the Costa Prize and one for the Guardian First Book Award. One received the Betty Trask Prize; another the Manchester Book Award; another a W.H. Smith New Talent Award. One reached the best-seller lists. Student poets have had their poetry accepted for publication in numerous literary journals, including Ambit, Magma, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, PN Review and The Reader, among others, and have been placed in such competitions as the Bridport, the Frogmore, Mslexia, and Writers Inc. Janklow and Nesbit Ltd, a leading literary agency, awards an annual prize for the best novel or novel in progress by a student on the course.