This programme is designed to meet the needs of committed students who are interested in exploring and exploiting their own possibilities as writers, and in critically examining their own writing. It is unique in combining creative and life writing in a stimulating and enriching programme.
We examine relevant literary and cultural theory as well as the politics and practicalities of language and writing from the point of view of the writer.
Practitioner-led, the programme offers you the opportunity to work with a range of published writers who visit the College to give readings and lead workshops.
Visiting writers have included William Fiennes, Jackie Kay and Aminatta Forna. Poetry Masterclasses have been led by Sharon Olds, Les Murray, Derek Walcott and C K Williams. We also expect to draw fully upon London’s rich tradition as a converging point for culturally diverse literary practices.
Our graduates have gone on to have successful careers as writers and have won awards including the Guardian First Book Award, the Eric Gregory Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Two of our graduates (Ross Raisin and Evie Wyld) were recognised in Granta's Best of Young British Novelists 2013 list.
Explore the work of students currently enrolled on the programme in the Goldfish online journal.
There are three main components of the Masters:
There will be two core modules: a two-term workshop in creative and life writing, and a one-term Contemporary Contexts for Creative and Life Writing seminar module.
Workshop in Creative and Life Writing
All students attend this two and-a-half-hour compulsory workshop – part-time students attend in their first year. In the first term you will be encouraged to experiment with a variety of genres in creative and life writing, and then in the second term to develop your individual interests in poetry, fiction, autobiography and biography, or perhaps a fusion of those genres.
Each term you submit a piece of your own writing together with a critical account of how you have structured and developed it. Presentations of your work to other students with an account of your aims and approaches form an additional important element.
Some workshops will be taken by visiting writers, introducing you to a range of practices, concerns and techniques. The workshop also enables you to debate issues raised in the Contemporary Contexts module in relation to your own practice.
Contemporary Contexts for Creative and Life Writing
This is a two-hour seminar module, made up of informal talks by visiting speakers, followed by a seminar. These talks might be by practising writers, biographers, critics or philosophers (from both outside and inside Goldsmiths).
Our notable visitors have included Ali Smith, A L Kennedy, Daljit Nagra and Jon McGregor. Wide-ranging topics have included: the role of the writer and politics; writing the self; the relationship between contemporary fiction and biography; the relationship between fictional and non-fictional autobiography; writers and their readers; the publishing world; contemporary ideas about language; gender and writing.
In both the Contemporary Contexts module and the workshops you will be asked to consider works by significant contemporary writers in relation to your own writing practice. Assessment is by a critical essay on a writer or literary issue. Full-time students take the Contemporary Contexts module in their first term and part-time students in their second year.
Tutorials will be offered at regular intervals during the year (12 in all).
You also choose an option module lasting one term. Full-time students take the module in the second term, while part-time students take it in the second year (second term). You can choose from a specialist workshop in fiction, poetry or life writing, or an option from the list of MA options offered by ECL including topics such as European Avant-Garde, Postmodernist Fiction or Re-writing Sexualities.
Assessment is by the submission of four pieces of writing of 5,000 words each – either an essay, or, for workshops, a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing – plus a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. You will also be assessed on a portfolio (maximum of 20,000 words) containing a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing together with a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. In all cases, the number of words applies to prose.
Graduates of this programme include Tom Lee, Lucy Caldwell, Ross Raisin, Amy Sackville, Rohan Kriwaczek, Evie Wyld, Sara Grant, Naomi Foyle, Bronia Kita, Lijia Zhang, Ashley Dartnell and Suzanne Joinson and the poets Emily Berry, Andy Spragg, Kate Potts, Jack Underwood, Abigail Parry, Anthony Joseph, Katrina Naomi and Matthew Gregory.
Among them they've won or been shortlisted for awards including The Sunday Times/EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012, the Rooney Prize for Literature 2011, the 2008 and 2011 Dylan Thomas Prize, several Eric Gregory Awards, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2009, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2009 and 2010, the Guardian First Book Award, the New Writing Ventures Prize, and several Betty Trask Awards.
Other graduates have gone on to work in publishing (for example, as senior commissioning editors), journalism, public relations, teaching, advertising, the civil service, business, industry, and the media.
The MA will enable you to develop transferable skills, including: enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts; the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials; the ability to organise information, and to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Visit the Creative and Life Writing - MA page on the Goldsmiths, University of London website for more details!
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