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Course content

Our challenging, practice-based course offers you a unique approach to the practice of writing, emphasising innovation and experimentation in your work.

On our MA Creative Writing, you deepen your knowledge of literary tradition, exploring different modes and genres in order to develop your own creative and expressive written skills. You expand your use of creative writing techniques and improve your critical judgement of your own work.

Our course encourages you to develop your writing by stepping outside your comfort zone and discovering the different approaches to verbal art that are possible today. This will invigorate your own practice, whether you are writing psychogeography, plays, novels, stories or something else. You will choose from a variety of modules, covering topics such as:
-Development of a novel plan, from research and concept-development, to plotting, character, and structure
-Experimental language play of the Oulipo group across the short story, autobiography, cartoons, cookery and theatre
-Relating magic to writing and creativity, both in theory and in practice
-Psychogeography, writing about walking, place, landscape, history and the psychic environment
-Poetic practice across experimental writing in poetry from the performative to the visual

To help you hone your craft, we also host two Royal Literary Fund Fellows, professional writers on-hand to help you develop your writing on a one-to-one basis, and regularly host talks and readings by visiting writers.

Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished authors whose work has shaped literature as we know it today, from past giants such as the American poets Robert Lowell and Ted Berrigan, to contemporary writers such as mythographer and novelist Dame Marina Warner, and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.

We are ranked Top 20 in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015, and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Our expert staff

Our teaching staff are experienced and established writers who have a breadth of experience across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and song.

Our creative writing teaching team has a breadth of experience in the literatures of different cultures and different forms. Our current teaching staff include poet and short story writer Philip Terry, lyric writer and essayist Adrian May, novelist and camper Matthew de Abaitua, poet and performance-writer Holly Pester, poet, fisherman and memoirist Chris McCully, and award-winning playwrights Elizabeth Kuti and Jonathan Lichtenstein.

Our Centre for Creative Writing is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers students the skills, support and confidence to respond artistically and critically to the study of writing with the guidance of experts.

Specialist facilities

-Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show
-View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
-Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at regular talks and readings
-Our on-campus Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
-Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
-Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested

Your future

Many of our students have gone on to successfully publish their work, notable recent alumni including:
-Ida Løkås, who won a literary prize in Norway for The Beauty That Flows Past, securing a book deal
-Alexia Casale, whose novel Bone Dragon was published by Faber & Faber and subsequently featured on both the Young Adult Books of the Year 2013 list for The Financial Times, and The Independent’s Books of the year 2013: Children
-Elaine Ewert, recent graduate from our MA Wild Writing, placed second in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015
-Patricia Borlenghi, the founder of Patrician Press, which has published works by a number of our alumni
-Petra Mcqueen, who has written for The Guardian and runs creative writing courses

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Visit the Creative Writing - MA page on the University of Essex website for more details!

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