This course allows you to develop your work as a creative writer, going beyond the merely personal and writing with an engaged sense of society and an understanding of the location of your work in relation to contemporary practices. You will take one of three distinct pathways: Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing, and Poetic Practice. In addition, you will take modules in Supplementary Discourses and Reading as a Writer, and undertake a Practical Project and a Dissertation.
Develop and reflect on your work as a creative writer, learning to stretch your imagination, you'll be motivated to develop your technical and analytic skills, and in the process, sharpen your self-criticism.
You will learn how to develop your practice and how to situate your practice in relation to recent and contemporary trends in experimental poetry, including visual poetics, sound and conceptual writing. Individual creative practice will be fostered in weekly workshops, critical classes and tutorials, with teaching delivered by writers practising at the highest level.
This is unique, practice-based pathway that draws upon the Department of English's expertise in contemporary experimental poetry and writing within an expanded field of creative practice.
All three Creative Writing pathways are taught at Bedford Square, our creative campus in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury, close to the University of London's facilities.
- We've been running the Fiction and Poetry pathways for nearly a decade, while Poetic Practice has been running since 2003. We have built a strong reputation in all three areas.
- Join the ranks of our creative writers who have gone on to receive national and global recognition, including novelists Sarah Perry, Jenni Fagan, Barney Norris, Liza Klaussmann, Saskia Sarginson, Diriye Osman, Anna Whitwham, Cecilia Ekback and poets Declan Ryan, Liz Berry, Sarah Westcott, Marianne Burton, Sam Riviera, Lydia McPherson, Sophie Robinson, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Prue Chamberlain, Nish Ramayya and many more.
- Work with practising authors and poets. Jo Shapcott won the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry; Lavinia Greenlaw is a winner of T.S. Eliot, Forward and Whitbread Poetry Prizes, and the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger; Susanna Jones won the John Lewellyn Rhys and Betty Trask awards; Nikita Lalwani won the Desmond Elliot award, was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker prize; Karen Woolf won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection (2015); Robert Hampson was long-listed for the Forward Prize in 2013; and Redell Olsen was Judith E. Wilson Fellow in Poetry at Cambridge (2013-14)
- Recent guest speakers and visiting professors have included Marlon James, Charlotte Mendelson, Dalijit Nagra, Helen Dunmore, Adam Foulds and a range of literary agents and editors
This is a weekly one-and-a-half hour seminar involving critical and theoretical reading designed to supply you with appropriate critical and theoretical discourse for discussing your own work with others.
The principal aim of the module is to enable you to read as a writer in order to inform your literary composition. You will read a selection of contemporary fiction and poetry from the perspective of the writer.
You will undertake a major extended fiction, non-fiction, poetry or poetic practice project under supervision.
The princial aim of the Dissertation on Practice is to enable you to demonstrate your ability to reflect critically and theoretically on your own practice and to locate your practice in relation to contemporary writing practices.
This module is designed to develop your understanding of, and ability in, fiction writing beyond first-degree level. You will attend a weekly three-hour workshop, in which work you produce will be discussed.
You will develop your understanding of, and ability in, contemporary poetry beyond first-degree level. You will be expected to embark on an advanced programme of writing and critical thinking through creative exploration and dialogue with the tutor and other members of the group.
You will develop, and reflect on, your own practice in the context of an understanding of contemporary experimental practice in poetry from the UK and North America, and consider how contemporary poetry and poetics intersect with such fields as conceptual art writing, sound art, live art, digital poetics, book arts, installed texts and writing in relation to site.
Teaching & assessment
At the beginning of the Spring term fiction writers will submit a 5,000-word piece of work. Poets on both the Poetry and the Poetic Practice pathways will submit a portfolio of 12 pages and a 3,000-4,000 word essay arising from their work in Supplementary Discourses. They will be given feedback and then, at the beginning of the Summer term, resubmit improved versions together with a second piece of creative work of the same length, and a second essay in relation to Reading as a Writer. Part-time students hand in their work for Supplementary Discourses and Reading as a Writer at the end of the Spring and Summer terms respectively, and will submit their portfolios for the pathway at the start of September.
At the end of the course fiction students will submit a 15,000-word piece of work and poets a portfolio of 24 pages. In addition, students will write a dissertation of 10-12,000 words, relating to their creative work and to their wider literary interests, to be submitted with the portfolio. Part-time students will make these final submissions at the end of their second year.
Single or combined honours English.
Normally we require a UK 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects but we will consider a high 2:2 or relevant work experience. Candidates with professional qualifications in an associated area may be considered. Where a ‘high 2:2’ is considered, we would normally define this as reflecting a profile of 57% or above.
Applicants with degrees in other subjects or with relevant publications are also encouraged to apply. Past students have come from a range of first-degree backgrounds.
You will be required to submit an example of your writing; either a piece of fiction or non-fiction prose of up to 5,000 words in length or at least 12 pages of poetry.
You will also be required to submit 1,000 words of critical writing in support of your application.
Undergraduate essays and reviews are acceptable.
Suitable applicants will be invited for an interview.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 7.0 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 69 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE IV.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please see here. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students (PDIS), a one-year full-time programme that will prepare you for postgraduate study in the UK. For more information please see here.
Your future career
A significant number of our Creative Writing students have become published authors or found work in publishing and allied professions.
We have an impressive record for placing graduates in academic jobs; recently they've secured positions at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, Sussex and UEA, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National University of Ireland.
This course will give you a distinctive, creative edge in careers such as publishing, teaching, writing and journalism, administration and marketing. Recent graduates have taken up jobs at the BBC and in art therapy.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9200
International students tuition fee per year**: £16400
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on part-time fees. All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see tuition fees and our terms and conditions.
Please note that for research programmes, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home/EU tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.