Our MA in Creative Writing brings together creative, critical and professional writing practices. You will refine your writing skills under the guidance of a dedicated team of professional writers and poets, whilst also exploring today’s creative and publishing landscape.
UNESCO City of Literature
Nottingham is a fantastic place to be a creative writing student. In 2015, Nottingham was awarded UNESCO City of Literature status, recognising its literary heritage and flourishing cultural scene.
As a student in Nottingham, you can take advantage of a huge range of opportunities. These include work experience and placements in creative organisations, literary events, workshops, and networking opportunities.
Creativity on campus
There is a huge range of creative opportunities available on campus.
As a student at Nottingham you can:
- Write for the University magazines Impact and Her Campus
- Take part in the Nottingham Poetry Exchange’s open-mic sessions, magazine, and a reading group
- Write, direct and perform for the New Theatre, the only theatre in England run entirely by students
- Join the Creative Writing Society: attend weekly events, write for Firelight magazine, and share your work via podcasts and blogs
- Gain editing and publishing experience through The Letters Page, under the guidance of award-winning writer, Jon McGregor
Find out more about on-campus activities for students in the School of English.
During the autumn semester, there will be approximately six hours of timetabled contact time per week for full-time students. Part-time students can expect around half of this contact time per week. You may also arrange one-to-one tutorials with your tutors. Outside of this time, you will be expected to conduct independent study, whether reading, researching, or writing.
Teaching consists of workshops in poetry and fiction led by prize-winning writers Professor Jon McGregor, Matthew Welton, Thomas Legendre, Dr Lila Matsumoto and Dr Spencer Jordan.
Your personal tutor will support you throughout your course, working with you to maximise your academic and professional development.
The Graduate School offers a range of training, placements, conferences, and funding. Additional support includes disability/accessibility, health, childcare and chaplaincy services, as well as visa and immigration advice.
Our course encompasses a comprehensive and diverse programme of workshops and one-to-one supervision with our academic staff, as well as masterclasses and guest lectures hosted by visiting professional writers.
You will study specialist creative writing modules and may also choose from a selection of others offered by the School of English.
Creative Writing modules
Creative Writing Conventions and Techniques
Develop your writing practice by exploring a range of creative techniques and media as they apply to both prose and poetry. You will be encouraged to reflect on your writing output and incorporate the critiques of others when editing and developing your work.
Writing Workshop: Fiction
Examine the process of novel writing by exploring various structures, techniques, and methodologies and engaging with an international body of work in genres such as fiction, creative non-fiction, and autofiction.
Learning to Read: Criticism for Creative Writers
Analyse how reading and writing techniques can be affected by literary, theoretical, personal, and cultural contexts. You will explore a wide range of texts, including hybrid forms such as the creative critical essay, the poem-essay, and art-writing.
Writing Workshop: Poetry
Explore a range of poetic conventions and the contexts in which poetry is produced whilst developing your own poetic style. Through the ‘practitioner’ approach, students are not only supported in their craft but encouraged to work towards submitting their work for publication. The reading list includes poetry magazines; new writers’ anthologies; debut poetry collections; poetry in performance.
Practice and Practitioners
Investigate the complex relationships between writer, genre and creative industries by studying the role of publishers, booksellers, editors, producers, and literary events in the production of prose and poetry. The assessment will consist of a portfolio of either prose or poetry, or a combination of the two, as well as a critical essay.
Dissertation in Creative Writing
At the end of the programme, you will complete a dissertation with the support of a supervisor who has appropriate expertise in your chosen field. You will produce an original piece of work in a medium of your choosing: you could produce a set of poems, a piece of fiction, or a series of short stories, for instance.
You may also choose modules offered by the School of English. Examples include:
Riotous Performance: Drama, Disruption and Protest
This module allows you to engage with a range of modern drama, all themed around the idea of riot.This module explores the phenomenon of the riot, examining both how such a notion is defined and how it might relate to other kinds of western performance event. In particular, the module asks students to analyse the way that riots have both been triggered by, and represented in, an assortment of other performances, and students will be encouraged to compare and contrast material from a range of different chronological periods and across a range of different genres. Although the module is largely focused upon dramatic texts, it will allow students the opportunity to consider an assortment of other performance events, as we analyse the drama of Synge and O’Casey, the ballet of Stravinsky and Nijinsky, and the performance poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson.
Consciousness in Fiction
The module will explore in depth techniques for the presentation of consciousness in novels and other fictional texts. Students will learn about the linguistic indices associated with the point of view of characters and the various modes available to a writer for the presentation of characters thoughts and perceptions. Alongside detailed examinations of narrative texts which portray consciousness, students will also study different theories put forward to explain the nature of writing consciousness in texts. Our stylistic analyses of fictional minds will also aim to account for historical changes in the techniques used for consciousness presentation.
Working with a range of texts from the early modern period to the present day, this module explores the relationship between the ‘dramatic text’ of the written script and the ‘theatrical text’ of the script in performance through the lens of linguistic analysis. Drawing on facets of stylistics and discourse analysis, the module considers the role of language in moving dramatic scripts from page to stage, exploring aspects of characterisation (such as identity, power and provocation), the role of language in story-telling on stage, and the 'management' of performance through stage directions.
It has often been suggested that the very idea of literary history of a narrative that understands, classifies, and explains, the English literary past is an inherent impossibility. The relationship between literature and the history of the time of its creation is an equally vexed and productive question. This module will look at the various ways in which literature in the last few centuries has combined with the study of history, with significant changes in the ways in which works of the past are viewed, and also how histories of literature began to be constructed (a history of literary histories, so to speak) paying attention to such questions as the development of the literary canon, periodicity, inclusions and exclusions, rediscoveries, and lack of representation. It will also look at the ways in which literary biography, autobiography and life-writing relate to the creation of literary histories. This will be a team-taught module, introducing key topics in the area and apply them to a variety of types of literature from different historical periods, and the myriad critical ways in which such literature has been viewed, retrospectively.
Modernism and the Avant-Garde in Literature and Drama
This module will investigate radical strategies of aesthetic presentation and the challenge they offered to prevailing limits of personal, gender and national identity between 1890 and 1960. Through a selection of key literary, dramatic, cultural, and critical texts, the module will examine ways that modernist and avant-garde writings draw their formal, generic and political borders, how they reconfigure ideas of the self, and what the political consequences of that reconfiguration are. The module will also consider the multiple meanings of 'radicalism' in an aesthetic and literary context, relating those meanings to questions of taste, community, and the market. This will be a team-taught module which examines a wide spectrum of literature and drama, including as well the era's cultural criticism and more recent critical and theoretical studies. Some of the texts are difficult; students will be expected to have read material thoroughly before each seminar, and to come prepared to discuss its theoretical, aesthetic and political implications.
The History of the Book: 1200-1600
This module introduces the study of the book as artefact. Students will learn about methods of construction and compilation, handwriting and early printing techniques, reading marginalia as well as text; they will also be introduced to the benefits and applications, as well as the problems, of applying an understanding of the artefact to the texts contained within.
Middle English Romance
This module considers twenty-first century historicized readings of a major English literary genre, and demonstrates that medieval English romance texts can be set in complex and profound critical relationship to each other and to other artistic media. Such an approach is possible largely because of the vibrant and privileged international socio-literary milieu in which many romance tracts were first written and received. Students will be encouraged to explore how reading Middle English romance texts can equip us with vocabulary and concepts to discuss the cultural specificities of the literary representations of romance, love and chivalry in this period, the representations of public and private identities, and the questions regarding individuality and selfhood that arise in literature produced in a volatile period of religious and social uncertainty and dissent. These are all issues that now define the Middle Ages for modern scholars.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This course page may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.
Teaching methods and assessment
All taught modules are assessed by written work. Tutors set practice exercises and provide detailed feedback to support your development and prepare you for your assessments. At the end of the programme, you will complete a dissertation with the support of a supervisor who has appropriate expertise in your chosen field. You will produce an original piece of work in a medium of your choosing: you could produce a set of poems, a piece of fiction, or a series of short stories, for instance.
Securing funding for postgraduate study can be a complicated and competitive process, but there are many opportunities available to support your studies. Our step-by-step guide to funding sets out all of the different stages and avenues to explore.
The latest information about funding opportunities available to [subject] postgraduate students is available on the school website.
The Graduate School provides information on university-wide and national sources of postgraduate funding.
Tuition fees and funding may be affected by UK Government policy following the outcome of any negotiations regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The UK government has confirmed that EU students who begin full-time courses in 2020-21 will continue to have access to the same fees and funding options as in previous years, for the full duration of their course of study. For information about how the UK’s exit from the European Union could affect EU students studying in Britain, please refer to our Brexit information for future students.
Scholarships and bursaries
There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.
The University also offers masters scholarships for international and EU students. Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about funding postgraduate study