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.
WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR?
This Masters degree is for writers who have some experience of writing fiction, poetry or prose, but who are not necessarily published and who wish to further this writing within the academic context of creative writing as an academic discipline.
WHAT WILL I GAIN FROM THIS PROGRAMME?
You will work with a core team of three 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 your course you will also work on an individual project about an aspect of the literary world of your choice (whether that be a submission of a play or film script, running a magazine or acquiring a literary agent). 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.
The ethos of this programme is expressed in terms of activities, experiences and types of assessment:
The activity of writing is primary and it follows that:
Workshop participation is central to the experience of the programme;
Reading as a Writer is recognised as a necessary correlative to writing as a practice;
Poetics is central to the philosophy of the programme, as a speculative writerly discourse about how writing is to be made.
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.
WHO WILL BE TEACHING ME?
A core team of three teach on the programme. These are novelist and short story writer Dr Ailsa Cox, poet-critic Professor Robert Sheppard and poet and translator Daniele Pantano. The team will be complemented by expert colleagues in the Department of English and History and also by visiting speakers.
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.
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).