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MA Creative Writing


Course Description

The MA in Creative Writing is designed to give students a structure within which they can develop both their writing and imaginative critical skills, experimenting with the wide range of possibilities available to the contemporary writer. It is possible to write prose fiction (the novel or short story), poetry and drama. We are interested in literary fiction in all its forms.
Our MA Creative writing students 'read as writers', explore their reading in group discussions and engage in writing exercises designed to enlarge and stimulate their practice.
In the intensive MA workshops, students share work, learn to write to deadlines, learn how to redraft, polish, edit imaginatively and find the creative thread which, when followed, reveals how their own writing will achieve its optimum level.
All written assignments are accompanied by the writing of a commentary on the process; the commentary speeds and makes explicit a writer's discoveries, and so aids future practice.
Recent guest readers include: Simon Brett, Mavis Cheek, Helen Dunmore, Vicki Feaver, Ed Hogan, Susanna Jones, Adam Marek, Bernard O'Donoghue, Michele Roberts, Jo Shapcott, Robert Shearman, Matthew Sweeney and Nick Warburton.

Please email for an application pack.

Where this can take you
Many of our writers go on to publish and win prizes. For instance, Isabel Ashdown's novel Glasshopper, written during the MA, was hailed as one of the five best debut novels of 2009 in The Observer. MA graduate Wendy French won the £5000 2010 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. These are just two recent examples of the success of our graduates.

The annual Publishing Panel of six specialists has regularly welcomed literary agents from agencies such as David Godwin Associates, Rogers, Coleridge and White, United Artists, Greene & Heaton, Janklow and Nesbitt, RAFT and Lucy Luck Associates. Agents join literary editors for a discussion of the publishing world today and how to approach an agent or editor. We have welcomed literary editors from Penguin/Hamish Hamilton, Chatto&Windus, Myriad Editions, Simon & Schuster, Pighog Press, the Frogmore Papers and producers from BBC Radio.

Student Successes

Jane Rusbridge’s first novel, The Devil’s Music, was published by Bloomsbury in the summer of 2009. It is described as ‘a beautifully told story of family secrets and betrayal, involving knots, Harry Houdini and the shifting landscape of memory.’ The novel was started as part of her MA dissertation project. Jane's second novel, Rook, was published in 2012 and was a Guardian Readers' Book of the Year. Jane has won or been placed in several national and international short story competitions, including the WritersInc ‘Writer of the Year’ award (2005), the Ilkley literature Festival competition (2005), the Bluechrome Short Story competition (2005), the Bridport (2003, 2005) and the Fish Prize (2006). Jane's website can be found at http://janerusbridge.co.uk/

All these stories were written while studying on the MA. MA assignment poems have featured in The Interpreter's House, Red Hot Fiesta, New Beginnings, First Time, and the Surrey Poetry Competition anthology. Jane’s story ‘Sputnik’ was published in Mslexia (2006) and ‘The Devil’s Music’ – a chapter from the novel – was published by Route (2006).

On the Third Day by Kate Betts won Channel 4’s ‘The Play’s The Thing’ script-writing competition in 2006. The play was performed in The New Ambassadors Theatre, London. Michael Billington, renowned theatre critic for The Guardian, wrote, ‘Betts reveals a bold theatrical sense’ and ‘a gift for wry humour’ while Charles Spencer of The Telegraph praised the ‘emotional candour and generosity’ of the script. Kate featured each week in the major Channel 4 serial documentary, The Play’s The Thing.

Bethan Roberts' fourth novel, Mother Island (Chatto and Windus), was winner of Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Award in 2015. Bethan's first novel, The Pools, which evolved from her MA dissertation, was published by Serpent's Tail in the summer of 2007.

While on the MA, Bethan was selected for the prestigious Arvon/Jerwood mentoring scheme for writers under 35. Entry was highly competitive, with only 9 creative writers chosen from MA courses throughout the country. As part of the scheme, Bethan completed her novel under the guidance of an experienced novelist. Bethan has also published short stories, all written for the MA, including 'Family Portrait' (MsLexia, 16, 2003). She won The Olive Cook Award (Society of Awards) for another short story in 2006. Bethan's website can be found at http://bethanrobertswriter.co.uk/

Gabrielle Kimm wrote her first novel, My Last Duchess (Sphere 2010) on the MA in Creative Writing. Since then Sphere have gone on to publish The Courtesan’s Lover (2012) and The Girl with the Painted Face (2013). Gabrielle's website can be found at http://gabriellekimm.co.uk/

Indicative modules
The MA comprises four taught modules and a creative dissertation:

The Writing Studio enables writers to experiment in any genre prose, poetry or drama, while exploring key features of those genres. This first module also serves as induction to the MA and to the distinctive methods of the 'Chichester workshop'.

Metaphor and the Imagination encourages innovation and experimentation, pushing writers beyond their usual boundaries.

Sources and Transformations engages writers with the essential writerly skills of transforming both outer research and inner biographical concerns into fiction.

Launching the Manuscript encourages autonomy, sustaining the longer project, learning about the publishing industry and includes guest readers and the publishing panel.
The Manuscript (a creative dissertation of 20,000) allows writers to develop a longer piece of work through one to one tutorials with a tutor as a consultant reader.


Teaching assessment
To gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing, students need to complete four modules. Each module is assessed by an assignment of approximately 6,000 words or equivalent.

To gain an MA in Creative Writing, students need to complete all four modules and a dissertation of 20,000 words (or poetry/drama equivalents

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

Entry Requirements

Candidates should normally have a good honours degree in English, or in a related discipline.Non-standard entry via a procedure of accredited prior learning is possible in suitable cases.

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Recipient: University of Chichester

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