Studying Creative Writing at University

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Daisy21 Daisy21
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Studying Creative Writing at University

Hey guys!

I am applying to study Creative Writing in England next year and I am trying to decide what universities to apply to. Has anyone studied the subject in England or know anyone who has and could suggest a good university?

Thanks!

Daisy :)
John Yeoman John Yeoman
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Re: Studying Creative Writing at University

That sounds like a great move, Daisy. I know the scene pretty well, having taught the MA (MFA) in creative writing at a major UK university. (Forgive me if I don't say where. I try to keep my academic life away from my on-line frolics, lest it spook my students )

By far the best university for creative writing is the Univ. East Anglia (UEA). It launched creative writing as an academic study in the 1980s and still attracts the finest tutors. The Univ. Middlesex is also good. So are Bristol, Brubeck and Lancaster. (Some of the students at my advanced Academy program have worked there.) Almost all colleges now teach creative writing but most of them bolt it on as an after thought. Look at the quality of the tutors. Have they ever published any memorable fiction in their own right? If they have, it doesn't prove they can teach, but it's a good sign.

Check if they proudly announce the names of graduates who have published successful novels. UEA does, I believe. (Its list contains a few Booker Award winners.) If they don't, or have no testimonials, either they're ashamed of their poor track record or they don't take creative writing seriously. Look at the size and stature of the university as a whole. Is it a mega name? Or just a jumped-up polytechnic masquerading as a university? (The UK has a lot of those.)

Does it offer creative writing at every level - from undergrad through to PhD? That's another sign it takes creative writing seriously. If it offers only undergrad classes, chances are they're taught by someone with few credentials. It's not serious.

You'll get your best results at MA (MFA) level. That's where you write your own novel or collection of stories. A lot of MA novels get published. But the undergrad years should give you an excellent grounding, if only because the syllabus forces you to write every week!
Daisy21 Daisy21
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Re: Studying Creative Writing at University

Hi John,

Yes I heard East Anglia is good! However they do not offer a BA course, only MA/MFA.
I may apply to study there afterwards. Thank you, I will look into these universities! I will also check out what else the universities offer in terms of postgraduate courses etc and how successful their graduates have been.

Thank you!

Daisy :)
Alex Rosel Alex Rosel
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Re: Studying Creative Writing at University

In reply to this post by Daisy21
You may want to look at these websites:
futurelearn.com
edx.org
coursera.org
coursesites.com

They all offer university level, short courses, most of which are free.  There is usually a course linked to creative writing running, or coming up, at any given time.  They may provide a good foundation for your future studies.
Daisy21 Daisy21
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Re: Studying Creative Writing at University

Hi Robbie,

Thanks! That's great, I'll have a look at these.

Daisy :)
engemi ferreira engemi ferreira
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Re: Studying Creative Writing at University

Hi Daisy, Robbie, John

I'm in the middle of an MA in Creative Writing, and i so wish I had this advice you gave Daisy here, Robbie. It is worth gold. I was so green when I started and though I had some valuable content to poor into my essays, I did in such poor form and without any structure, virtually just storying onwards and lost good marks there. I now know one has to understand (and enter) the academic side of the show as well. I totally agree with you Robbie; alas, I discovered these kind of sites through belated research. Fortunately the research was one thing I have been doing for many years and taught myself as I went on. I have  been writing on the novel I presented as my practicum for more than 15 years. My problem was (is) the stitching together of different parts: I desperately needed an editor, and I simply followed the person I have been working with for some years before he became the 'word whisperer' at the University I now study. He was already well known as text developer to some of our really great authors, as well as an exquisite editor. He also recently wrote a novel which is fast becoming internationally acclaimed. Apart from that, he is a Mensch!

That leads to my agreement with John about excellent teachers. Study them beforehand, google them, find out about the university's system and policy (I didn't, more's the pity) In the end, after you have thoroughly used your head, then go with your heart. That I did, I am absolutely thrilled with the writing we've been doing the past six months, especially what I have discovered by learning/writing after having written from my 4th year to now: 68 years. Added to that all the many things; real deep wise things, tips and tricks I learnt from John's many Writing and Teaching lessons although they all came across like happy workshops because of his own happy way with words. I am truly blessed in the people and things I have discovered since taking my writing more serious. You will too, Daisy, good luck.

You go girl. Can't wait to hear how you advance ;~)
engemi