MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment

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  • Objectives
    This is a challenging programme of postgraduate study which demands a rigorous questioning of the underlying assumptions governing contemporary literature and culture. Working alongside our team of internationally published and performed poets, novelists and playwrights, many of whom hold, or are working towards, PhDs in Creative Writing, our programme will provide a stimulating and supportive environment as you develop your writing, and will create a platform for doctoral level work.
  • Entry requirements
    This course will be of primary interest to writers of prose fiction and poetry but will not require that you commit to either genre rigidly, nor that you conform to conventions. Instead you will be encouraged to work at the edge of new and evolving practices in creative writing as you respond to the challenges of the post-modern era.
  • Academic title
    MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment
  • Course description
    The programme is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshops which will take place as two-hour evening sessions and individual tutorials.

    The full-time route is spread over three semesters: September to September. In the first and second semesters (between September and May) you will attend a two-hour lecture-seminar and a two-hour workshop every week. During the Summer semester (June to September) you will have regular individual tutorials with a member of staff supervising your final creative project.

    The part-time route lasts for six semesters, over three academic years. It involves a two-hour lecture-seminar or workshop every week for four semesters, with the final year devoted to the large scale project.

    There are five modules, all of which are compulsory:

    Theories of Writing
    A series of lecture-seminars on philosophical contributions to major questions surrounding contemporary writing:

    What is post-modernism?
    What is the relationship between language and writing?
    How can one write politically?
    How does one’s awareness of gender affect writing?
    We will be reading the work of theorists such as Lyotard, Derrida, Adorno and Butler and examining how a wide variety of contemporary writers have explored these questions in creative practice including Charles Bernstein, Caroline Bergvall, David Eggers, Christine Brooke-Rose and many more.

    The module will be assessed by a 3500 word essay relating theoretical ideas to creative practice and creative work (e.g 3500 word prose, 6-8 poems, or equivalent) that demonstrates exploration of a theoretical concept.

    Writing Workshop I: From theory to poetics
    A series of workshops in which students share and discuss their own creative projects with fellow students and a writing tutor. Work will be submitted every two weeks in advance to the group and the tutor, who will make detailed preparation for the workshops including annotating students’ material.

    This workshop provides a context for an on-going creative exploration of how theoretical ideas can influence and inform creative practice – the beginning of developing a personal ‘poetics’ of your writing.

    The module will be assessed by, for example a 6000 word submission of prose writing, 24 poems or equivalent work in hybrid or cross-generic form, plus a 1000 word statement of poetics.

    Experimental Writing Technologies
    A series of workshops, this module explores the history of new writing technologies over the last fifty years and examines how writers have sought new forms for expression to address rapidly changing realities. Topics covered may include:

    -Technologies of the book
    -Visual, sound and concrete poetry
    -The use of mathematical rules and constraints in writing
    -An introduction to new writing technologies including: hypertext, photoshop, flash and web or CD/DVD
    -The Novel as hypertext and narrative engineering
    The module will be assessed by a 3500 word essay which will discuss a particular technique and creative work that demonstrates the technique and 3500 word or equivalent creative piece.

    Writing Workshop II: Experimental poetics
    As with Writing Workshop I, students share and discuss their own creative projects, submitting every two weeks.

    This workshop encourages students to push the boundaries of their creative writing in an adventurous way by supervising a range of experiments – and demonstrating how to evaluate them through the medium of poetics: a writer’s discourse about their creative process.

    The module will be assessed by a 6000 word submission of prose writing, up to 24 poems or equivalent hybrid or cross-generic text, plus a 1000 word statement of poetics.

    Creative Project
    The creative project is the culmination of this course of study and enables students to undertake an ambitious work with regular one-to-one tutorial support. Students will be encouraged to draw on their knowledge of theory, experimentation and their own developing poetics in order to pursue the creative questions which fascinate them

    The module will be assessed by a negotiable creative submission (e.g. pamphlets, website, CD-ROM, installation, performance + documentation) equivalent to 12,000 words prose or up to 48 poems, to be accompanied by a 2000 word statement of poetics

    Entry Requirements
    We ask for a good honours degree in English or in a related arts subject. We request submission of a writing portfolio of up to 15 pages and two academic/creative references.We welcome mature students and students from non-conventional backgrounds. Applications from students with alternative qualifications and/or significant relevant experience are subject to approval through a process of Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). For further details, please contact the School of ESP&CH. International students must provide evidence of proficiency in English – IELTS 6.5 band score or a score of TOEFL at 575 or above (232 computer based) with a TWE of 4.0 or above are proof of this.

    Career opportunities
    The main aim of this programme is to encourage writers to challenge and develop themselves creatively whilst informing themselves about the contexts and techniques of contemporary writing, as part of their lifelong learning. Some graduates may (often a considerable time after completion) start to gain an income from their writing but many will not, although many will be enabled to publish their work in a variety of contexts. Graduates may progress to further postgraduate study as a route into university teaching or find work in publishing, journalism, arts administration, agenting, editing and the media

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