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Course content

This MA allows you to develop your work as a creative writer, going beyond the merely personal and writing with an engaged sense of society and an understanding of the location of your work in relation to contemporary practices. You will take one of three distinct pathways: Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing, and Poetic Practice. In addition, all students take modules in Supplementary Discourses and Reading as a Writer, and all students undertake a Practical Project and a Dissertation.

Fiction:

This course encourages you to develop and reflect on your work as a creative writer. While you learn to stretch your imagination, you'll be motivated to develop your technical and analytic skills, and in the process, sharpen your self-criticism.

Poetry:

If you choose the poetry strand, you'll benefit from the strong focus on individual creative pactice fostered in weeklly workshops, critical classes and tutorials. As with all the Creative Writing pathways, poetry is taught by writers practising at the highest level and the emphasis is on your own needs as a developing poetry student.

Poetic practice:

Poetic Practice is a unique, practice-based pathway that draws upon the Department of English's expertise in contemporary experimental poetry and writing within an expanded field of creative practice.

All three courses are designed to help you develop your work as a creative writer, against the backdrop of literature through history. Choosing the Fiction or the Poetry strand, you'll make the most of your existing experience, stretch your imagination, develop analytic skills, and in the process sharpen how you think about your own work. The Poetic practice pathway draws upon our expertise in contemporary experimental poetry across a wide range of ideas and practices. You will learn how to develop your practice and how to situate your practice in relation to recent and contemporary trends in experimental poetry, including visual poetics, sound and conceptual writing.

Course structure

Core modules

Supplementary Discourses

This is a weekly one-and-a-half hour seminar involving critical and theoretical reading designed to supply you with appropriate critical and theoretical discourse for discussing your own work with others.

Reading as a Writer

The principle aim of the course is to enable you to read as a writer in order to inform your literary composition. You will read a selection of contemporary fiction and poetry from the persepctice of the writer.

Creative Writing Project

You will undertake a major extended fiction, non-fiction, poetry or poetic practice project under supervision.

Dissertation

The principle aim of the Dissertation on Practice is to enable you to demonstrate your ability to reflect critically and theoretically on your own practice and to locate your practice in relation to contemporary writing practices.

Pathways

Fiction Workshop

This module is designed to develop your understanding of, and ability in, fiction writing beyond first-degree level. You will attend a weekly three-hour workshop, in which work you produce will be discussed.

Poetry Workshop

You will develop your understanding of, and ability in, contemporary poetry beyond first-degree level. You will be expected to embark on an advanced programme of writing and critical thinking through creative exploration and dialogue with the tutor and other members of the group.

Poetic Practice

You will develop, and reflect on, your own practice in the context of an understanding of contemporary experimental practice in poetry from the UK and North America, and consider how contemporary poetry and poetics intersect with such fields as conceptual art writing, sound art, live art, digital poetics, book arts, installed texts and writing in relation to site.

Teaching & Assessment

At the beginning of the Spring term fiction writers will submit a 5,000-word piece of work and poets on both the Poetry and the Poetic Practice pathways a portfolio of 12 pages. In addition, they will submit a 3,000-4,000 word essay arising from their work in Supplementary Discourses. They will be given feedback and then, at the beginning of the Summer term, resubmit improved versions together with a second piece of creative work of the same length, and a second essay in relation to Reading as a Writer. Part-time students hand in their work for Supplementary Discourses and Reading as a Writer at the end of the Spring and Summer terms respectively; they will submit their portfolios for the pathway at the start of September.

At the end of the course fiction students will submit a 15,000 word piece of work and poets a portfolio of 24 pages. In addition, students will write a dissertation of 10-12,000 words, relating to their creative work and to their wider literary interests, to be submitted with the portfolio. Part-time students will make these final submissions at the end of their second year.

Your future career

A significant number of our Creative Writing students have become published authors or found work in publishing and allied professions. Along with this, we have has an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs; recently they've secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, Sussex and UEA, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland.

This course can also give you an distinctive, creative edge in careers such as publishing, teaching, writing and journalism, administration and marketing. Recent graduates have taken up jobs at the BBC and in art therapy.


Visit the Creative Writing - MA page on the Royal Holloway, University of London website for more details!

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