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MA Creative Writing (Canterbury)

Course Description

The MA in Creative Writing at Kent offers you the opportunity to study fiction and poetry (exclusively or together) along with optional modules in translation, and writing and the environment.

Designed with serious, ambitious writers in mind, our programme uses seminars, tutorials, workshops, and precise editing to enable you to take control of your own work and write exciting, contemporary material.

You are taught exclusively by members of the permanent creative writing team, all of whom are practising, award-winning writers: Patricia Debney, David Flusfeder, David Herd, Nancy Gaffield, Dragan Todorovic, Alex Preston, Amy Sackville, Simon Smith and Scarlett Thomas. (See staff research interests for further details.(https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/211/creative-writing#!staff-research))

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/211/creative-writing

About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

Course structure

You are encouraged to put together an MA programme that suits you and your plans. It is a requirement of the programme that you take either Fiction 1 and Fiction 2 or Poetry 1 and Poetry 2 along with one other Creative Writing module. You may choose to take only creative modules, or to augment your study with a module from the literature programmes or from other Humanities programmes.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year:

EN838 - Re-visioning:Twenty-first Century Translation (30 credits)
EN839 - Writing and the Environment (30 credits)
EN812 - Creative Writing (30 credits)
EN891 - Fiction 1 (30 credits)
EN892 - Poetry 1 (30 credits)
EN893 - Fiction 2 (30 credits)
EN894 - Poetry 2 (30 credits)
EN897 - Advanced Critical Reading (30 credits)
EN818 - American Modernism 1900-1930 (Teaching Period I) (30 credits)
EN832 - Hacks, Dunces and Scribblers: Authorship and the Marketplace in the Eig (30 credits)
EN834 - Imagining India (30 credits)
EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits)
EN836 - Dickens and the Material Culture of the Victorian Novel (30 credits)
EN842 - Reading the Contemporary (30 credits)
EN850 - Centres and Edges: Modernist and PostcolonialQuest Literature (30 credits)
EN852 - Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses (30 credits)
EN857 - Body and Place in the Postcolonial Text (30 credits)
EN862 - Contemporary Arab Novel (30 credits)
EN865 - Post-45: American Literature and Culture in the Cold War Era (30 credits)
EN866 - The Awkward Age: Transatlantic Culture and Literature in Transition, 18 (30 credits)
EN872 - Provocations and Invitations (30 credits)
EN876 - Dickens and the Condition of England (30 credits)
EN888 - Extremes of Feeling: Literature and Empire in the Eighteenth Century (30 credits)
EN889 - Literary Theory (30 credits)
MT864 - Reading the Medieval Town: Canterbury, an International City (30 credits)
MT865 - Encountering the Holy: Devotion and the Medieval Church (30 credits)
EN803 - Critical Race Theory (30 credits)


You take a total of four modules, for which you will produce approximately 8,000 words each (or an equivalent number of poems or translations). In addition, you write a creative dissertation of about 12,000 words.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with the opportunity to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow you, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies

- extend and deepen your understanding of your own writing practice through coursework and research

- enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary and creative writing traditions

- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement

- develop your independent creative thinking and practice

- develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language

- enable you to make connections across your various modules and transfer knowledge between modules

- provide you with teaching, workshops and other learning opportunities that are informed by current research and practice and that require you to engage with aspects of work and practice at the frontiers of knowledge.


Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

This programme is also available at Paris only or split site between Canterbury and Paris.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MA Creative Writing (Canterbury) page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Denica Shute

I chose Kent primarily because its module structure is extremely flexible, allowing me to write only prose and continue writing my novels throughout most modules. The same goes for poetry writers and for those who wish to write in both areas. Now that I'm further into the course I realise I'm very lucky to have been taught by some award winning novelists, and those who aren't award winning come with years of experience of writing and the industry. My favourite part of the course so far is the The Magazine module: you work in a team to produce a literary and creative writing magazine. The module is invaluable in that it shows just how a creative course like this can be applied in the work place and how much dedication and hard work it requires.

(Student Profile)

Kylie Grant

Why did you choose Kent?
A lot of why I chose Kent lies in the course it offered. However, I would be lying if the descriptions of the campus, the charms of the quaint city of Canterbury and the proximity to London didn’t also tempt me!

What attracted you to the course?
I had been an undergraduate at Kent and knew that the course would be flexible, varied and interesting. One of the main attractions was the quality of the teaching staff; I knew that they would provide thought-provoking reading lists and invaluable guidance.

What was your degree course like?
The nature of postgraduate study means there is a lot of independent study, so you really do get out of it what you put in to it. It is a lot more flexible, so you are able to really explore a subject or an area that interests you. Postgraduate study is also more focused and driven towards research methods. I found that I was pushed further, and learned a lot from the experience. The lecturers were supportive and eager to discuss and explore your ideas. If you are interested in a particular area then you are given the freedom and resources to explore it, which I found invaluable.

What activities did you get involved with during your time at Kent?
I was involved in Creative Writing Tuesdays: these were evenings that hosted a variety of writers, editors and teachers, which were put together by the wonderful Patricia Debney in the School of English. I thoroughly enjoyed supporting this event, from helping out in its promotion to the logistics and handing out the wine – obviously very important when dealing with writers! It helped me to become involved in a creative community and discuss ideas with like-minded people. I also got involved with organising the postgraduate School of English conference, which involved creating a theme and organising speakers. The experience gained from being involved in a high-profile event is invaluable.


School of English MA scholarships - 12 Awards

School of English MA scholarships 2015/16Scholarships are still available for excellent candidates applying for our taught-MA programmes.
•Part-time students and students applying for programmes with a term in Paris are also eligible
•Applications will be accepted up until May 15, 2015. All students who make an application to study on one of our MA programmes will automatically be considered for a scholarship (no separate application is required)
•Previous applicants for MA scholarships need not re-apply

Scholarship Fund
The School of English highly values its postgraduate community. Over the last few years the School has continued to invest in its students with a range of scholarships and opportunities that have supported exceptional research from awarded students. To further support the postgraduate community the school will be increasing the MA scholarship fund for 2015/16.
Successful applicants in 2015/16 will be eligible for the following scholarships, all of which aim to support one student on each of our specialist MA programmes. The scholarships will be in the form of a fee waiver, but with an additional maintenance bursary of £1500. Part-time students and students applying for programmes with a term in Paris are also eligible. These scholarships are:
•The Woolf scholarship (for students on the MA in English and American Literature)
•The Dickens scholarship (for students on the MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture)
•The Burney scholarship (for a student on the MA in Eighteenth Century Studies)
•The MA in Postcolonial Studies scholarship
•The MA in Critical Theory scholarship
•The MA in The Contemporary scholarship
•The Creative Writer’s scholarship In addition to these new scholarships the school will continue to offer the following:
•One fully funded School of English MA scholarship – a fee waiver plus an additional stipend at AHRC rate (currently set at £9,681 p/a for 2014/15)
•One international scholarship (to cover fees at the international rate)
•One fee-waiver scholarship for part-time students
•Two departmental awards. The Ian Gregor Scholarship, which pays home fees and a £500 bursary for one year’s full-time study, and the Sasha Roberts Scholarship, which is an award of £2,000. PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of the scholarships is to award candidates with the strongest academic records. The School of English reserves the right to distribute the scholarships amongst candidates in a way that will honour that commitment.

Value of Scholarship(s)



A first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent). In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path.These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies. The purpose of the scholarships is to award candidates with the strongest academic records.

Application Procedure

All students who make an application to study on one of our MA programmes will automatically be considered for a scholarship (no separate application is required).

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent), or substantial creative writing experience. Each applicant is required to submit a sample of his/her creative writing, and this will be the most significant factor in admissions decisions.

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