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Course content

The Creative Writing MA at Oxford Brookes is all about growing your writing in a workshop environment. Our simple aim is to get you writing, then to provide insightful, perhaps challenging, but always supportive feedback. The entire programme revolves around this process. All your teachers here are genuine, commercially-published, practising writers; in every session you’ll actually write and get reactions. We believe that this makes our course unique.

From the opening evening of your course – where previous speakers have included international bestseller Philip Pullman (pictured above), Booker winner Howard Jacobson and Pulitzer/Orange winner Marilynne Robinson – through to the showcase for agents and publishers following your graduation, our aim is to make your time at Brookes a decisive stage in the development of your writing.

Getting you published

Our graduates’ recent achievements mean that agents and publishers really listen when they hear you’re with us. Among many other stand-out successes, Linni Ingemundsen secured a two-book UK deal with Usborne’s young adult list in 2017; in 2016 Kit de Waal published My Name is Leon, which was immediately taken up for adaptation by BBC radio, TV and film; and in 2015 Catherine Chanter’s The Well appeared to international acclaim and was chosen by the Richard & Judy/WH Smith Book Club.

All Major Projects gaining a Distinction are looked at by top agents Felicity Bryan Associates (who visit us each year), with a view to representation, and by legendary London publisher Philip Gwyn Jones, who has commissioned some of the biggest names in fiction, will personally look at every major project which gains a Distinction. People like this are the gatekeepers of literary success; our aim is to get them to open those gates for you.

Why choose this course?

  • Our uniquely hands-on approach, led by our core staff of practicing and publishing creative writers, is supported by a fantastic group of distinguished Creative Writing Fellows and guest speakers, including: Philip Pullman (author of internationally best selling trilogy, His Dark Materials), Sarah Dunant (internationally bestselling author of Sacred Hearts), Kate Clanchy (winner of BBC National Short Story 2009 and first Oxford City Poet), Patience Agbabi (star performance poet and author of Bloodshot Monochromeand Telling Tales), Nick Cohen (top Observer journalist and bestselling author), John L Williams (novelist, boss of the Laugharne Festival and literary talent spotter extraordinaire) and Steven Hall (author of the internationally-acclaimed The Raw Shark Texts).
  • Unlike at some institutions, these Creative Writing Fellows don’t merely pop in for a chat. Between them, they lead a major, 2.5 hour workshop session every other week of each semester, on average. You will actually be taught by them all apart from Philip Pullman, whose Q&A session gives you the unique chance to question him up close and personal.
  • Oxford is the world’s most literary city. You can spend days writing in the very place used as Hogwarts library in the Harry Potter films, sit in the very garden where His Dark Materials ends so heartbreakingly, or discover the haunts of Evelyn Waugh, C.S Lewis , and J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Oxford has a vibrant literary community. There are almost countless competitions, literary open-mike sessions and suchlike, never mind the annual Oxford Literary Festival, one of the biggest in the calendar.
  • All students attaining a Distinction for their MA are guaranteed to have their work read by a top London publisher and a great London agency, both of whom will visit during the course.

This course in detail

The MA in Creative Writing involves taking the core compulsory module ‘Creativity, Writing and Textuality: Concepts and Practice’, two elective modules from those available (see module descriptions below), and completing a major project of writing in any genre.

For the PGDip, three modules are taken (‘Creativity, Writing and Textuality, Concepts and Practice’) and two electives from those available).

For the PGCert, two modules are taken (‘Creativity, Writing and Textuality, Concepts and Practice’) and one elective from those available.

The MA / PGDip / PGCert in Creative Writing will enable you to:

  • develop existing creative writing skills, in a range of genres, towards publishable standard
  • undertake a substantial creative writing project
  • practice creative writing and reading skills with a range of writing practitioners, including peers and published writers
  • acquire a practical understanding of the techniques of writing, editing and working within the parameters of the writing and publishing industry
  • engage with theoretical approaches to creativity and creative practice
  • demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of literary conventions, and historical and contemporary contexts for writing
  • explore your own position as a writer within a specific locale and history.

Teaching and learning

A variety of teaching and learning methods are used across the course and all modules use more than one method. Methods include seminars, oral presentations and readings, workshops, visiting speakers, individual supervision, autonomous research and writing.

All modules are assessed by coursework (portfolios or pieces of work with a critical commentary) of about 6,000 words.

The Major Project of writing in any genre (with critical commentary) would normally be within the range of 15,000 to 20,000 words.

Specialist facilities

Our virtual learning portals provide core materials relating to learning and assessment online. These include lecture schedules, module guides, supporting materials, guidelines and criteria for coursework along with notes on essay writing and report presentation.


Visit the MA/PGDip/PGCert Creative Writing page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

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