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Faber Academy, Curtis Brown or MA?

(21 Posts)
FavouriteBiscuit Wed 22-May-19 17:11:05

Which to choose? What are advantages of each?

Zilla1 Thu 23-May-19 10:24:01

If the MA is at the right institution then all will offer support, feedback from other writers and access, of a sort, to industry contacts. I suppose the advantages of each will depend on your preferences for location, study pattern and so on.

Baskerville Thu 23-May-19 10:35:10

Well, can you afford fees and time out of work for a year to do an MA? Part-time MA is also a possibility, over two years. The top UK MAs are also quite competitive to be accepted onto, and you will need to have a good portfolio and personal statement.

But the main thing to consider is what you want from a period of creative writing study -- do you primarily want tutor feedback, peer feedback or workshopping, industry contacts? Are there specific writers you want to be tutored by?

HollowTalk Thu 23-May-19 13:49:45

It's not a given that you'd get into Faber or CB. With an MA it's more likely as you're competing against people from your local area.

A friend of mine was headhunted after a Faber course and was then represented by CB. If I had the choice between the three I'd go for CB, I think.

GeorgeTheBleeder Fri 24-May-19 12:36:56

What do you want?

What are you interested in learning? And in achieving?

And do you really want a generic ‘Creative Writing’ course anyway? Isn’t there a particular area of writing you want to engage in?

Do you have an academic interest in literature and its production outside your own practice? Could you see yourself perhaps going on to doctoral research? If so an MA could be worthwhile. (Though again, I’d question whether something more specific might not be a better bet.)

If you simply want a tried and tested route to agents and publication you probably don’t need an MA.

What stage are you currently at?

RosaWaiting Fri 24-May-19 14:23:50

From what I can see - no experience of any - the Curtis Brown is the most helpful in terms of success so if I was going to choose one, it would be that.

With the MAs, they seem to be charging the highest fees for the lowest amount of guidance.

CatetheGreat Fri 24-May-19 15:47:33

I found the CB course underwhelming. I think it depends on the tutor. I've heard positive things from other cohorts. My MA was more useful. You have guidance from a number of tutors and can work with someone on your novel/dissertation who is interested in the same kind of area. I am looking at a PhD though, so if you're looking at getting your book ready for the market I'm going to buck the trend and say Faber!

Zilla1 Fri 24-May-19 15:59:24

Costs ignoring travel and so on.
Apologies if I've made mistakes.

£7700 pro rata so £7700 across two years?
Course structure and contact time - four semesters x 6 weeks x 3 hours
Approximate cost per contact hour = £106

Faber academy

Lots of different courses but I choose 'Writing a novel' because it looks face to face, the most intensive and hence similar to the UEA MFA
Writing a novel - evenings -
£4000 for 6 months
22 two-hour evening sessions and 6 full-day sessions.
Approximate cost per contact hour £90

Curtis Brown

again lots of courses but
Taking 'Writing a novel' because it looks the most intensive and hence similar to the UEA MFA
£2990 over six months
20 two-hour sessions.
Approximate cost per contact hour £74

I suppose relative to the contact time, the UEA MFA looks more expensive but gives perhaps more time to write as it involves study over two years and yields a Masters-level degree at the end.

I understand there are lots of other options, on line is cheaper and so on.

Zilla1 Fri 24-May-19 16:02:04

Where are you looking to study for your PhD, Cate?

I skim read Sarah Perry's creative and critical? PhD that became the Essex Serpent. I'd not thought of taking a PhD in creative writing but am busy saving.

CatetheGreat Fri 24-May-19 16:05:24

I did both mine online. The MA was definitely better value for money (and if you scheduled a phone or skype tutorial it would happen on time and the tutor had read the extract, which is always a good start). I would have liked face to face, ideally but circumstances made it impossible. One of the former CB organisers has set up a course which runs locally in cities like Manchester, Birmingham called Write Now so that might be worth a look. Couldn't comment on what it's like as I've only seen it on FB. What are you after from a course, OP?

sunshinesupermum Fri 24-May-19 16:10:46

Is not the MA more academic in its study?

Do you want letters after your name or to get published (not mutually exclusive obv)

If you are based in London one good MA is at Birkbeck which you can do while working fulltime as a friend of mine did

CatetheGreat Fri 24-May-19 16:19:29

Somewhere by distance learning again! I have somewhere in mind and am in the middle of putting together my research proposal. You can get a student loan for a PhD - and it would complement my day job. Early doors at present though. I may chicken out.

RosaWaiting Fri 24-May-19 17:02:21

Cate, may I ask what kind of fees you came across with online MA courses?

I just looked at Falmouth and they want a contact form filled for the cost - or I'm looking at the wrong things! grin


alwaysmaladroit Fri 24-May-19 21:59:45

CatetheGreat, I've sent you a PM.

Afreet Fri 24-May-19 22:20:47

May I ask why a PhD, Cate? The only people I know doing Creative Writing PhDs tend to be writers wanting university jobs, or promotion within them.

CatetheGreat Mon 27-May-19 23:45:24

Why a PhD? Why not? I have no intention of working in academia but I have a subject area I want to research that complements the work I do. Plus I love studying and the balance of critical and creative within the course I have chosen. More superficially, I fancy being called 'Dr' and graduating in a floppy hat. MA's are becoming more common all the time, I expect this will filter through and more people will continue studying for a mixture of reasons. Like I said, it's early days, it's certainly a daunting commitment and I may not manage it. Who knows!
Rosa sorry I can't remember what I paid, I had to keep postponing due to a demanding full time job so it was spread over a longer time than usual. My job now is a lot more flexible, thankfully.
Always, I've replied. Keep on writing!
I think the key to any creative writing course is finding a tutor skilled at giving critical feedback in a way that scaffolds your own editorial skills in a way that is positive for your work. My MA tutors made a couple of insightful remarks, in particular, that opened my eyes (and it was done in a supportive way). There is one tutor I am thinking of who was great at facilitating purposeful group discussion, with skilled questioning, keeping the debate moving online. It's hard to know what to expect from a course before you're already committed, though. Plus different approaches suit different people. At the end of the day you're the one who makes the decisions about your writing, so it's about building up your skills in any meaningful way you can. Having less positive experiences does at least mean that you learn to weigh and sift advice!

Bumper1969 Thu 30-May-19 22:52:48

Faber Academy novel course with R Skinner is hugely successful regarding book deals. MAs great for all genres and more academic.

Birdsonginthetrees Mon 03-Jun-19 10:57:02

I did a similar set of calculations to Zilla1, a while ago, I'll try and upload a screengrab of my table here. There may be some mistakes, I think it was difficult to tell the exact number of personal 1:1s on the Faber course from their listing.

Birdsonginthetrees Mon 03-Jun-19 10:58:06

Hmm you'll need to zoom in to read it, sorry!

For some reason I started leaning more towards Faber rather than CB but can't remember why now - I've got an elbow injury so can't touch type anymore so I've had to put my aims to do one of these courses on the back burner.

Birdsonginthetrees Mon 03-Jun-19 11:00:37

I think CB are better at publicity than Faber, they're always shouting on their blog about recent CB graduates getting published.

I did one of the CB shorter courses and disagreed with the course structure (quite strongly) so that slightly put me off.

I also started wondering whether you could learn all the stuff taught yourself from books / online and you don't get THAT much contact / workshopping for your money - so I also started to consider a mentor which is 100% your novel, being workshopped.

I liked that the Faber course does an anthology, and has an agents day, so you get exposure to lots of agents, not just the agents at one agency (CB).

Alwaysonarecce Sat 24-Aug-19 18:51:12

Hopping on to this a few months late, but in a similar vein, if you don’t mind, has anyone heard of Golden Egg? (In my case, for children’s books). If so, would you recommend? In response to the OP, did you make a decision? From what I’ve read CB seem impressive and I was interested in the pp about better publicity.

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