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MA in Creative Writing: First Novel

Course Description

Why study Creative Writing: First Novel?

This degree has one purpose, and one purpose only - to help you become a better writer and complete your first novel. Working with an intimate, dedicated cohort and guided by tutors who have successfully published their own novels, you will leave this course with a thorough understanding of how to compose a novel people will really want to read. We know because we have done it and our students have done it too.

Longer narratives ask unique questions of the writer and present unique challenges. How does the novelist build and then perceive the architecture of a novel? How does the novelist maintain narrative tensions and suspense? What defines a novelist’s voice and how do they explore their fictional territory?

What makes a novel marketable?

This degree is designed to help the writer answer those questions and meet those challenges. You will study the first novels of a range of writers as well as work chosen to illustrate specific narrative strengths and innovations. Our tutors embrace genre led and literary fiction, with specialisms across a variety of writing practice.

Why St Mary's?

Our Creative Writing MA is unique as a postgraduate course dedicated solely to the drafting and discussion of a writer’s first novel. You will be recruited as part of a small cohort of authors, all embarking on writing their first draft. Through lecture, workshop and seminar discussion, you will learn how a novel blossoms from imagination and grows on the page.

Our first task is to identify the novel you need to write. Whether it be fantasy, crime, or a literary exploration, our task is to nurture the story you have to tell and to find the right words to tell it.

By the end of the course, you will have explored a variety of writing strategies and developed a working practice that will enable you to complete the task of writing a novel.

Last year, Creative Writing MA students were visited by Costa Award Winner Nathan Filer, who said his session with students was 'the best he had ever had.' Students were also visited by the Editorial Director of Bloomsbury Fiction and The Bookseller’s Agent of the Year.

What You Will Study

Full information about modules on this course can be found on the St Mary’s website:

Mode of Study:

• Full-time (One year)
• Part-time (Two years)

Also Available As:

• Postgraduate Diploma
• Postgraduate Certificate

How To Apply


Financial Information


Visit the MA in Creative Writing: First Novel page on the St Mary’s University, Twickenham website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Jennifer Small

I selected the Creative Writing First Novel MA as it's specifically designed for those who are attempting to write their first novel. It is a very small cohort of writers, which not only allows us all to get to know each other's work, but also allows for close contact with the tutors.

I gained an insight into the inner workings of the novel, a greater understanding of the writing process, along with the confidence to write.

It's a valuable opportunity to hone your writing skills and gain support and feedback from experienced, established authors and tutors, as well as sharing the writing experience with your peers on the course.


Entry Requirements

A good first degree and strong sample submission are the only requirements for entry. However, the individual journey that you want to take is important, and so that we can meet expectations, candidates will be selected by interview and primarily on the strength of their work.

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Recipient: St Mary’s University, Twickenham

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