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Studying a master’s in Creative Writing: Is it right for me?

Studying a master’s in Creative Writing: Is it right for me?

Uncover the importance of creative writing as an academic discipline, explore various approaches, and learn how to develop essential skills.

Dr Kevan Manwaring is the Course Leader for the new AUB Online MA Creative Writing. Here, he discusses who can benefit from studying creative writing at master’s level and answers some common questions prospective students ask about studying the subject.  

What is creative writing as an academic subject? 

Creative writing as an academic subject is a relatively young discipline — the first programmes started to emerge in North America in the Sixties and Seventies, although there are antecedents going back at least a century – though one founded on an ever-growing body of research, literature, and pedagogy.  

The subject covers fiction, poetry, script, creative non-fiction, critical writing and other hybrid forms. At degree level it involves a robust criticality and self-reflexivity, as well as an engagement with theory.  

Common elements of a typical Creative Writing programme include lectures, workshops, seminars, guest talks, and tutorials. Students are supported in developing various writing projects, culminating in a substantial final piece.   

Why is creative writing so important?  

In a complex world fraught with conflict, it’s more important than ever to cultivate empathy, understanding of other ways of being and blue sky thinking. Creative writing excels at that. It encourages us to walk in another’s shoes, to imagine and articulate opinions and belief systems other than our own, and to conceptualise different paradigms.  

What are the different approaches to creative writing?  

With creative writing, the possibilities are endless. You can write a sequence of poems or flash fictions; draft a script for a one-person show, podcast, or screenplay; write a role-playing game or computer game; work on an app, interactive fiction, or other emergent technology; pen your dream novel; write your memoir, or a series of travel, food, or nature-writing features. And many more. The only limit is your imagination. 

How can I develop my skills in creative writing? 

An integral element of a Creative Writing programme is the cultivation of an effective writing practice. This often involves the development of a regular writing routine, the use of a notebook, engagement with workshopping, ability to listen to and work with feedback, and the refinement of editorial skills.  

Our online, part-time MA in Creative Writing will help you develop an array of transferrable skills. Throughout your studies, we’ll encourage you to reflect on your own practice, explore the fundamental duty of the writer, and guide you in honing your creative identity.  Find out more:

Explore the course

What are the top literary magazines Creative Writing students should know about?  

Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) is one of the top five arts research libraries in the county and has subscriptions to many top literary magazines, including The New Yorker, Paris Review, Granta, Ambit, Mslexia, and others.  

Students of Creative Writing as also encouraged to delve into the scholarship of the discipline, which can be found in peer-reviewed journals such as Writing in Practice, New Writing, TEXT, Axon, and others.  

One of the advantages of being an enrolled student at AUB is the institutional access it affords to an array of research libraries and material.   

How do I get published in a literary magazine or enter creative writing competitions? 

Throughout the course you’ll develop a range of different creative writing pieces – for formative and summative assessment. Some of these can be ready to submit to a wide cross-section of competitions and magazines.  

The key thing is not to put all your efforts into one area, but to develop a healthy portfolio of finished pieces, which can be submitted whenever opportunities arise. Sometimes one is lucky early on, but it is usually productivity and persistence that pays off. You’ll be given expert advice about preparing for submission.  

Dr Kevan Manwaring

Course Leader, MA Creative Writing

Start your creative journey here.

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