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Recommendations for an MA in Creative Writing?

(29 Posts)
GrendelsMinim Sun 21-Sep-14 18:58:43

I've finished and am self-publishing my first novel, and I'm now wondering about doing an MA in Creative Writing.

I'd like to develop my skills in a critical and supportive atmosphere, and particularly to work on the aspects of novel writing that are hard to tackle in evening classes - plotting, structure, character development and so on.

Does anyone have any recommendations for MAs in Creative Writing? I'd be potentially interested in part time or full time courses.

ImperialBlether Sun 28-Sep-14 14:48:27

Hi Grendel! I did an MA in Liverpool. Whereabouts are you? I learned most from the workshops - you learn about your own writing from critiquing others. I didn't think the course was that well organised, but it's really useful to be with a group of people all interested in the same thing.

ImperialBlether Sun 28-Sep-14 14:49:41

Hi Grendel! I did an MA in Liverpool. Whereabouts are you? I learned most from the workshops - you learn about your own writing from critiquing others. I didn't think the course was that well organised, but it's really useful to be with a group of people all interested in the same thing.

ImperialBlether Sun 28-Sep-14 14:50:22

I knew that would happen!

GrendelsMinim Sun 28-Sep-14 19:48:18

Hi IB! I'm down in the south east, so I'm thinking about applying for UEA as a starting point, but I'm also looking at some of the courses in London.

I've also heard good things about Manchester, though, so that's a possibility. UEA would probably be my first choice though.

ImperialBlether Mon 29-Sep-14 11:29:18

Ohh UEA is the one place I've always wanted to study. Good luck - hope you get in!

My brother studied an MA in Creative Writing at Brighton; if you need to know anything about that, let me know.

GrendelsMinim Mon 29-Sep-14 20:32:58

Thanks, IB! I guess it's just a case of applying and keeping the fingers crossed - pretty scary though!

Badcrumbles Wed 01-Oct-14 13:12:18

I went to an event recently at whichseveral graduates of the Sheffield Hallam MA in Writing read extracts of their work. It was very balanced - talking about the highs and lows of the course (the lows involving bad tutors and how this was resolved). On balance they would all recommend it, and I believe it is one of the top three courses in the country. UEA is one, I've forgotten the other!

Sheffield is great for the practical side of things, whilst UEA is more academic, from what I gathered. For example, in Sheffield you have to submit a full novel (or screenplay, or poetry collection) whilst most other MAs concentrate on portfolio work.

It's 18 months fulltime, one day a week, and you get four years to submit your final project, so it's manageable around other commitments.

Hope that helps.

GrendelsMinim Thu 02-Oct-14 07:16:17

Oh, that's very interesting. Sheffield is harder for me to get to, but I'll seriously look at that one. Thanks very much.

ArsenicFaceCream Fri 03-Oct-14 13:26:20

I was just about to post the same question <loiters hopefully>

ballsballsballs Fri 03-Oct-14 13:44:04

Goldsmiths has a good reputation, a new annual book prize and links with publishing.

GrendelsMinim Fri 03-Oct-14 14:07:13

Thanks Balls! Do you have personal experience of the Goldsmiths course by any chance?

jonicomelately Fri 03-Oct-14 14:10:47

Whereabouts are you (roughly) in the UK Grendel ?

GrendelsMinim Fri 03-Oct-14 16:40:00

South east, so London or Norwich are easy to get to. Sheffield a bit less so...

jonicomelately Fri 03-Oct-14 18:23:35

What about this?

ballsballsballs Fri 03-Oct-14 18:28:06

Grendel I'm an undergrad, formerly on the Creative writing course until I became obsessed with Beowulf. grin

My tutors (undergrad) included Jack Underwood (poet), Naomi Wood (novelist) and Eva Salzman (poet / librettist). Other lecturers in the department include Maura Dooley (poet) and Michael Rosen (children's author) and Blake Morrison (novelist). I've met Jack, Naomi and Blake and they're luffly.

GS started an annual book competition which has attracted lots of attention. www.gold.ac.uk/goldsmiths-prize/

Apparently publishers are interested in MA finalists (anecdote alert: according to MA students I've met).

If I was choosing a creative writing MA I'd go for UEA first, followed closely by Goldsmiths.

ballsballsballs Fri 03-Oct-14 18:29:22

And Eva, BTW. smile

TheWordFactory Sun 05-Oct-14 19:11:27

Hi OP.

UEA is terrific, as is Goldsmiths.

However both are to some extent quite academic. Do you want that?

ArsenicFaceCream Sun 05-Oct-14 20:28:45

As in heavy or criticism/critical theory TheWord?

I've been looking at the Bath Spa MA and wondering if that is more 'sleeves rolled up'. Is that the type of the distinction you're making?

Sorry, I know you were talking to the OP, but it seems better to worm into this thread that start a near-identical one smile

TheWordFactory Mon 06-Oct-14 08:47:42

Yes arsenic critical theory.

Not that that's a bad thing.

I don't have any experience of the Bath Spa MA other than a friend of mine did it, wrote a book whilst on it, sold it and won lots of prizes . And it was turned into a filmgrin

TheWordFactory Mon 06-Oct-14 08:51:32

I think it very much depends what you want to get out of it.

exexpat Mon 06-Oct-14 08:51:55

I know people who've done the Bath Spa one and speak very highly of it, have ended up with book deals etc. Nathan Filer (last year's Costa prize winner) did the MA and now teaches there.

ArsenicFaceCream Mon 06-Oct-14 10:31:43

Yes; Nathan Filer hit the Breakfast sofas soon after the prospectus hit my doormat. Encouraging.

And encouraging posts here.

I suppose the courses that are light on critical theory are one step closer to being intensive writers groups. Suits my purposes, though, I think.

JohnFarleysRuskin Mon 06-Oct-14 20:56:30

I did the part time (one day a week/two years?) at Goldsmiths about ten years ago.

It was wonderful, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It gave me a lot of confidence and from that I got work as a creative writing teacher and have done various stuff that I wouldn't otherwise have had the guts to do.

Friends from there are gradually getting published now too.

GrendelsMinim Tue 07-Oct-14 07:06:35

This is really helpful - thank you, everyone.

I see what you mean about the UEA and Goldsmiths being quite academic - to some extent I feel 'been there, done that, got the degrees'. On the other hand, Bath Spa is way too far for part-time.

I may narrow it down to a few and then see if I can have a chat to the tutors about any specific queries.

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