This is a programme for practising writers who wish to improve their craft, learn about contemporary forms of writing and continue to reflect on their progress. This is in both terms of a distinctive philosophy of writing (to answer the question, ‘What kind of writer am I?’), and in terms of the practicalities of making creative work public.
You should have some experience of writing fiction, poetry or prose (although there is not a requirement for this work to have been published), or scriptwriting, and wish to further your skills within the academic context of creative writing as an academic discipline. You will work with a core team of professional writers and other professionals to develop your creative work and nurture an understanding about the nature of your continuing creativity, aiming towards producing a final manuscript for possible publication.
What will I study?
You will begin straight away to experience the benefits of the regular workshops that form an integral part of the programme. You will discuss the work of others on the MA as well as learning from their discussion of your work. You will also receive tutor feedback.
You will study a variety of contemporary literature which will feed into your writing where needed, along with a study of the poetics of contemporary writers (that is, the things writers have written about their own writing philosophies and practices). The aim is to influence your practical development, allowing you to develop your own poetics and philosophy of composition.
In the first weeks of the course you will research markets and outlets for your work and complete submissions of your writing. You will also compile a professional development audit of your activities so far (which may not be extensive, of course). You will be asked to keep a log throughout the programme to enable you to track your development.
How will I study?
The writing workshops are always taught in small groups, but the discussion groups involve seminars with a lecture component.
During the manuscript module (a dissertation) you will work one-to-one with your manuscript supervisor, bringing your months of study to a final creative fruition. All the modules you will take have been designed specifically for writers.
This is not the kind of ‘Creative Writing’ course that requires you to pick from already existing English Literature modules. The modules have been custom-designed for you.
How will I be assessed?
You will present your creative writing with a short example of poetics relating to the piece. You will write about works of contemporary literature and about the poetics of these writers, though you will approach these tasks from the perspective of a fellow-writer. All this work will help you develop towards the final piece of work, The Manuscript. The professional development audit and logs will be marked on a pass / fail basis.
Who will be teaching me?
A team of seven, with extensive experience in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, short stories and scriptwriting teach on the programme. The team will be complemented by visiting speakers and visiting writers.
What are my career prospects?
The thinking behind the professional development strand is that writers seldom exclusively work as writers, but need to learn to combine their principal involvement and passion for literary composition with other activities (whether they are of a literary nature or not).
Of course, as a Masters in a humanities subject you will find this qualification useful in a variety of professional contexts, such as in school teaching, which encourages staff to work at Masters level. It provides a sound basis for further study (e.g. PhD work in Creative Writing).
Previous graduates have gone on to publish with major publishers, win prizes, edit magazines and books, and are active in the pedagogy of Creative Writing as a robust academic discipline.