Creative Writing

Creative Writing - MA

2017

This is an innovative and interdisciplinary MA programme, combining taught modules and a dissertation, which allows you to share your year between Canterbury and Paris.

2017

Overview

Designed with serious, ambitious writers in mind, our programme uses seminars, tutorials, workshops, and precise editing to enable you to take control of your own work and write exciting, contemporary material.

Following a similar path to our Creative Writing MA, this programme allows you to spend your first term at our Canterbury campus with full access to its excellent academic and recreational facilities before relocating to our Paris centre for the spring term.

During your studies in Paris, you are based at Columbia Global Center (known as Reid Hall) in a historic corner of Montparnasse. You choose from a range of Paris-focused modules which are taught in English. In your final term, you complete your MA by writing a 15,000-word dissertation on a research topic defined in collaboration with your academic supervisors.

The Creative Writing MA is also available at Canterbury only or Paris only.

About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of English was ranked 10th for research intensity and 15th for research power in the UK.

An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 95% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Course structure

You take either Fiction 1 in the first term and Paris: The Residency (or Fiction 2) in the second, or Poetry 1 in the first term and Paris: The Residency (or Fiction 2) in the second. In the first term, you may choose from any of the other creative writing modules on offer and in the second term, you choose from the Paris modules list. While in Paris, you are also encouraged to attend readings and talks, and to organise your own writing workshops.

For further information about the University of Kent, Paris, please see www.kent.ac.uk/paris/.

Modules

The above modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Modules may include Credits

Teaching and Assessment

You take a total of four modules, for which you will produce approximately 8,000 words each (or an equivalent number of poems or translations). In addition, you write a creative dissertation of about 12,000 words.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide you with the opportunity to obtain a postgraduate qualification (MA) in one year, and to allow you, if required, a smooth transition to doctoral studies
  • give you the breadth of experience of studying creative writing modules in Canterbury in the Autumn term, and then spending the Spring term in Paris writing ‘in residence’ while pursuing one other Kent at Paris module
  • extend and deepen your understanding of your own writing practice through coursework and research
  • enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary and creative writing traditions, particularly those that have been located in, or in some other way focussed on, Paris develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
  • develop your independent creative thinking and practice
  • develop your knowledge and understanding of relevant aspects of contemporary Paris and the literary history of the city with a view to you incorporating some of these aspects into your own creative and critical writing
  • develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language
  • enable you to make connections across your various modules and transfer knowledge between modules
  • provide you with teaching, workshops and other learning opportunities that are informed by current research and practice and that require you to engage with aspects of work and practice at the frontiers of knowledge.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • key texts from contemporary British, American, postcolonial and world literatures
  • the main aspects of literary techniques and theory in either fiction or poetry, including point of view, form, style, voice, characterisation, structure and theme
  • key literary traditions and movements, both contemporary and historical
  • the cultural history of modern Paris, as reflected in art and literature
  • terminology used in literary criticism
  • terminology used in creative practice
  • the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, published and read
  • critical theory and its applications to both reading and writing
  • the study and creation of the ‘text’ and how this is influenced by cultural factors
  • inter- and multidisciplinary approaches to the advanced practice of creative and critical writing
  • research methods.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • the application of the skills needed for advanced academic study and enquiry
  • the evaluation of your research findings
  • the ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of theory and/or practice
  • the ability to make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
  • exercise of problem-solving skills
  • communication of complex ideas in prose, poetry or both
  • adaptation skills: learn to work in different environments by adapting to the educational, cultural and professional environments of England and France, while adopting an interdisciplinary approach to literary and creative studies.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • advanced creative writing skills in prose, poetry or both.
  • the ability to produce work with ambition, depth, intellectual structure, sophistication, scope, independence and importance
  • the ability to sustain a piece of creative work and make choices about form, content and style
  • an understanding of a ‘whole’ in creative practice (whether this is a novel, a collection of poems or short stories or some other advanced project)
  • the ability to present creative writing professionally, both orally and in writing, demonstrating an awareness and understanding of current practice
  • advanced understanding of literary themes
  • enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary and other texts
  • informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of texts and source materials
  • an ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to advanced English or cultural studies
  • well-developed linguistic skills, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
  • appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work
  • an understanding of how cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement
  • knowledge of French and European culture and literature
  • knowledge of the cultural development of modern Paris, as expressed in literature, art and creative writing practice.

Transferable skills

You will gain the following transferable skills:

  • advanced skills in communication, in speech and writing
  • the ability to offer and receive constructive criticism
  • the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
  • enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas
  • the ability to assimilate, organise and work with substantial quantities of complex information
  • competence in the planning and execution of coursework
  • the capacity for independent thought, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
  • enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual and creative work
  • the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical and/or creative positions and weigh the importance of alternative approaches
  • research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
  • IT: word-processing, the ability to access electronic data and the ability to work efficiently and effectively in an online learning environment
  • living and working in diverse cultural environments: You will participate and work in academic communities in both Canterbury and Paris. You will thus develop cultural knowledge and understanding, flexibility, imagination, resourcefulness and tolerance.

Careers

Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The Templeman Library is well stocked with excellent research resources, as are Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library. There are a number of special collections: the John Crow Collection of Elizabethan and other early printed texts; the Reading/Raynor Collection of theatre history (over 7,000 texts or manuscripts); ECCO (Eighteenth-Century Collections Online); the Melville manuscripts relating to popular culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the Pettingell Collection (over 7,500 items) of 19th-century drama; the Eliot Collection; children’s literature; and popular literature. A gift from Mrs Valerie Eliot has increased the Library’s already extensive holdings in modern poetry. The British Library in London is also within easy reach.

Besides the Templeman Library, School resources include photocopying, fax and telephone access, support for attending and organising conferences, and a dedicated postgraduate study space equipped with computer terminals and a printer.

Conferences and seminars

Our research centres organise many international conferences, symposia and workshops. The School also plays a pivotal role in the Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, of which all graduates are associate members. The Institute hosts interdisciplinary conferences, colloquia, and other events, and establishes international links for all Kent graduates through its network with other advanced institutes worldwide.

School of English postgraduate students are encouraged to organise and participate in a conference which takes place in the summer term. This provides students with the invaluable experience of presenting their work to their peers.

The School runs several series of seminars, lectures and readings throughout the academic year. Our weekly research seminars are organised collaboratively by staff and graduates in the School. Speakers range from our own postgraduate students, to members of staff, to distinguished lecturers who are at the forefront of contemporary research nationally and internationally.

The Centre for Creative Writing hosts a very popular and successful weekly reading series; guests have included poets Katherine Pierpoint, Tony Lopez, Christopher Reid and George Szirtes, and novelists Abdulrazak Gurnah, Ali Smith, Marina Warner and Will Self.

The University of Kent is now in partnership with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). Benefits from this affiliation include free membership for incoming students; embedded seminar opportunities at the ICA and a small number of internships for our students. The School of English also runs an interdisciplinary MA programme in the Contemporary which offers students an internship at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. They also edit several periodicals including: Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities; The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature: 600-1500; The Dickensian; Literature Compass; Oxford Literary Review; Theatre Notebook and Wasafiri.

Global Skills Award

All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

Entry requirements

A first or upper-second class honours degree in a relevant subject (or equivalent), or substantial creative writing experience. You are required to submit a sample of your creative writing, and this will be the most significant factor in admissions decisions.

Writing Sample

A piece or portfolio of creative work should be uploaded on the ‘Declaration’ page of the online application form. If fiction, this should be around 1,500–2,000 words; if poetry, approximately four pages.

On the ‘Course Details’ page, you should submit a description of around 300 words of your creative writing plans. Please tell us whether you intend to work in fiction, poetry, or narrative non-fiction and what experience you have working in this form. Please also give some indication of the concerns, style, ideas and/or themes that you are interested in exploring in your work.

Request for consideration on the grounds of equivalent professional status

Candidates who hold no first degree, or a first degree in a non-literary/creative subject area should include in their applications a summary of any information that might allow us to support the application on the grounds of ‘equivalent professional status’.  This could include previous writing publication credits or other successes and/or relevant professional achievements.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English language entry requirements

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Research in the School of English comes roughly under the following areas. However, there is often a degree of overlap between groups, and individual staff have interests that range more widely.

Eighteenth Century

The particular interests of the Centre for Studies in the Long Eighteenth Century converge around gender, class, nation, travel and empire, and the relationship between print and material culture. Staff in the Centre pursue cutting-edge approaches to the field and share a commitment to interdisciplinary methodologies.
The Centre regularly hosts visiting speakers as part of the School of English research seminar programme, and hosts day symposia, workshops and international conferences.

Nineteenth Century

The recently established Centre for Victorian Literature and Culture provides a stimulating and distinctive research environment for staff and students through seminars, conferences and collaborative research projects. The MA in Dickens and Victorian Culture is the only MA of its kind in the UK, and both the MA and the Centre places a particular emphasis on Victorian literature and culture associated with Kent and the south-east.

American Literature

Research in north American literature is conducted partly through the Faculty-based Centre for American Studies, which also facilitates co-operation with modern US historians. Staff research interests include 20th-century American literature, especially poetry, Native American writing, modernism, and cultural history.

Creative Writing

The Centre for Creative Writing is the focus for most practice-based research in the School. Staff organise a thriving series of events and run a research seminar for postgraduate students and staff to share ideas about fiction-writing. Established writers regularly come to read and discuss their work.

Medieval and Early Modern

The Faculty-based Canterbury Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies has a distinctive brand of interdisciplinarity, strong links with local archives and archaeological trusts, and provides a vibrant forum for investigating the relationships between literary and non-literary modes of writing in its weekly research seminar.

Modern Poetry

The Centre for Modern Poetry is a leading centre for research and publication in its field, and participates in both critical and creative research. Staff regularly host visiting speakers and writers, participate in national and international research networks, and organise graduate research seminars and public poetry readings.

Postcolonial

Established in 1994, the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Research has acquired an international reputation for excellence in research. It has an outstanding track record in publication, organises frequent international conferences, and regularly hosts leading postcolonial writers and critics. It also hosts a visiting writer from India every year in association with the Charles Wallace Trust.

Staff research interests

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Patricia Debney: Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Creative writing (prose poetry, short fiction); auto/biography; translation and adaptation; collaborative/interdisciplinary work; feminist theory; psychoanalytic theory.

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David Flusfeder: Lecturer in Creative Writing

Twentieth-century American and British fiction (also Borges, Cortázar and Büchner); modernism; and the literature and cinema of the 1960s and early 1970s.

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Nancy Gaffield: Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

The border between language and literary studies: stylistics approaches to creative writing; contemporary poetry as practice, including the text both written and performed; the role of the reader as co-producer of meaning; the use of poetic forms. 

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Alex Preston: Lecturer in Creative Writing

The modern novel; the ways that literature has responded to the violence of the 20th century; short stories.

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Amy Sackville: Lecturer in Creative Writing

An interest in the novel as a form and its development since the early 20th century from modern to postmodern, and in the interrelation of language and the world; creative writing; modernism.

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Simon Smith: Reader in Creative Writing

Creative writing; poetry in translation, Latin and French; poetry reviewing; experimental fiction; critical theory; theory of creative writing. 

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Professor Scarlett Thomas: Professor of Creative Writing and Contemporary Fiction

Creative writing; writing and science; mathematics and fiction; the contemporary novel. 

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Dragan Todorovic: Lecturer in Creative Writing

Creative non-fiction; liminal areas of fiction; writing in/for visual, aural and multimedia arts; faction writing.

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Fees

The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Creative Writing - MA at Canterbury and Paris:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £7490 £14670

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Funding

Scholarships and funding information