MA Writing Studies

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Comments about MA Writing Studies - At the institution - Ormskirk - Lancashire

  • Objectives
    This is a Masters degree leading to an MA in Writing Studies offered part time over two years. This programme, which has been running for over fifteen years, combines advanced level writers' workshops with closely related courses in contemporary writing in English and in the theory of writing. There is a three hour meeting one evening per week and seminars are led by a teaching team with a wide range of expertise. Students are encouraged to begin writing immediately and to contribute original work for discussion from the start of the course. The course itself is divided into four modules, but the small group writing workshops continue to run throughout the course, and the focus of the course is your original writing; however you will also be developing a philosophy of composition.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Candidates should normally possess a good honours degree (2:2 or above) or a degree with additional academic support such as a diploma or comparable qualification in a professional field. Academic training in an arts subject is an advantage, but a commitment to writing as a practice (at whatever stage in a writing career) is more important. A general willingness to participate and be self-critical and analytical is also important.
  • Academic title
    MA Writing Studies
  • Course description
    What will I study?

    Semester One features an introduction to the study of contemporary writing and attention will be paid to some of the practical aspects of being a writer for publication, such as agents and publishers, big and small. You will also begin to develop a poetics, or theory, of your own practice.

    Semester Two is concerned with the text and technique, and will deal with some of the theoretical approaches to text, authorship, and readership, drawing from contemporary literary theory.

    Semester Three is concerned with issues to do with Text and the Social, Cultural and Political Contexts of writing. Topics will include Feminism and Politics, Postmodernism and Postcolonialism. You will examine the position of writing, of yourselves and others in relation to the issues raised.

    Semester Four focuses on the dissertation, which will bring together the considerable creative work you will have been writing, and the theoretical perspectives you have developed in relation to this. You will prepare a writing portfolio, under the individual guidance of your tutor. This will be a substantial presentation of about 15,000 words. You will also be required to write a commentary which will examine your own work.
    How will I study?

    Small group writing workshops run throughout the course, with the focus being your original writing; however, you will also be developing a philosophy of composition or a 'poetics' of writing. At the heart of the course lies a commitment to this kind of reflection, which you will develop, not as a fixed dogma, but as a developing speculative process of thinking and planning. All the modules have been specifically devised for this course and are not shared with any other programme.

    Year One Assessment

        * Semester one: A short writing exercise. A short report on a literary work. A short Reading as a Writer piece. A short poetics statement.
        * Semester two: A Reading as a Writer assignment. A piece of creative writing plus short poetics statement.

    Year Two Assessment

        * Semester three: A Reading as a Writer assignment. A piece of creative writing plus short poetics statement.
        * Semester four: Dissertation: The Writing Portfolio (15,000 words) plus a statement of poetics (3,000 words) by the end of the summer vacation (the “Writing Up Period').

    Who will be teaching me?

    The programme is taught by practicing writers. Ailsa Cox has published short fiction in various anthologies and magazines, including The Virago Book of Love and Loss; Stand One; Critical Quarterly; London Magazine, City Life. Books include Alice Munro and Writing Short Stories. Ailsa co-edited Metropolitan, a magazine of fiction. Robert Sheppard has published poetry in various anthologies and magazines, including Anthology of Twentieth Century British and Irish Poetry and Other; Critical Quarterly, PN Review. Books include The Lores, and The Poetry of Saying. Robert edited Pages poetry magazine. This core team is supplemented by the vital presence of guest writers. Visitors to the course have included fiction writers Michael Carson, Barry Unsworth, Patricia Duncker and Lesley Glaister. Poets, Lee Harwood, Maggie O' Sullivan and Allen Fisher have given readings and workshops. Former external examiners and consultants have included Trevor Griffiths and Roy Fisher. Chris Honer, artistic director of the Library Theatre, Manchester, and Ra Page of the Comma press, are regular contributors. There are also regular readings and performances at the Rose Theatre on Campus, and recent visitors have included novelists Jane Rogers and Ramsey Campbell and poets Jackie Kay and Tom Raworth.
    What are my career prospects?

    Some of our students have gone on to publish novels, short stories, have won poetry competitions and had poems published, and have worked as scriptwriters for professional theatre, national television and radio.

    More recent candidates have attracted the attention of literary agents. Others have continued a creative writing path by undertaking PhD study at Edge Hill, which has an expanding provision. A number have used the course to enable them to teach creative writing themselves, both as a subject in its own right, and as part of school and college curricula.

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