You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.

MA
2021 start

Creative Writing

School of English, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Study contemporary creative writing and develop your skills in a variety of genres and styles. Choose to specialise in either poetry or fiction, or to study both, and explore and improve your own writing through practical workshops.
Student writing in a book

Course description

You’ll study contemporary creative writing methods and practices and develop your skills in different genres, cross-genres and a wide range of formal and genre experimentations. You’ll also develop and explore your own creative and critical writing through practical workshops and the critical reading of contemporary creative and theoretical texts.

You’ll be encouraged to take all four creative writing core modules, with a minimum of three, which are designed to interact with each other theoretically, thematically and methodologically, to allow for experimentation between literary practices and productive genre crossovers.

The course culminates in a dissertation. You’ll be producing portfolios of both creative and critical work for each module and for your dissertation, all of which may take the form of poetry, prose poetry, short stories, a novel extract, poetic prose, hybrid texts and other genres, as well as formal or cross-media experimentations.

This MA will help you develop your creative writing to a publishable quality, providing a positive, friendly, nurturing, intellectual and creative environment for confident, bold and imaginative development of contemporary creative writing forms and practices. You’ll explore your own writing through practical workshops and learn how to creatively and constructively critique your own and other students' work.

You’ll benefit from the buzzing literary culture at Sheffield and get involved in public and university readings, publications and festivals throughout your time with us. You're encouraged to publish your work and to participate in student-led, peer-feedback editorial sessions.

We run monthly public readings within the Centre for Poetry and Poetics with established writers and have an annually published creative writing journal, Route 57, which is edited and assembled by our own creative writing students. Each year we also run various creative writing projects, student readings and hubs which will give you a variety of opportunities to meet fellow writers within our well established Postgraduate Creative Writing community which comprises current and alumni students of the MA and PhD.

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Modules

Core modules

Optional modules may also include the many modules listed under the general MA in English Literature.

Core modules:

Creative Writing: Fiction, Genre, Theory

The module will entail a practical writing workshop where students will read, discuss, analyze and critique their own and other students' writing, as well as learning the fundamentals of close reading, technical analysis and critical judgment of contemporary writers from a practitioner's point of view. The workshopping will be structured according to a programme of topics, exercises and commissions which will encourage and train students in the basics of fiction writing techniques in the main genres and sub-genres, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study fiction through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as story development, issues of class, race, gender in writing, genre conventions, narrative theory - whilst also being encouraged to critique each others' work, to workshop writing creatively and constructively, and to work with tutors to help prepare work in progress for the main dissertation project later in the year. Students will produce a portfolio of writing based on the workshop commissions as well as a critical essay reflecting on the creative processes involved in their submission.

30 credits
Creative Writing: Poetry, Poetics, Fusion

The module will entail a practical writing workshop where students will read, discuss, analyze and critique their own and other students' poetry, as well as learning the fundamentals of close reading, technical analysis and critical judgment of contemporary poets from a practitioner's point of view. The workshopping will be structured according to a programme of topics, exercises and commissions which will encourage and train students in the basics of poetry techniques in the main genres and sub-genres, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study poetry through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as form and convention, issues of class, race, language, gender in poetry, narrative, lyric, dramatic poetry - whilst also being encouraged to critique each others' work, to workshop writing creatively and constructively, and to work with tutors to help prepare work in progress for the main dissertation project later in the year. Students will produce a portfolio of poems based on the workshop commissions as well as a critical essay reflecting on the creative processes involved in their submission.

30 credits
Creative Writing: Poetry, Prose, Hybrid

The module will entail a practical writing workshop where students will read, discuss, analyze and critique their own and other students' poetry, as well as learning the fundamentals of close reading, technical analysis and critical judgment of contemporary poets from a practitioner's point of view. The workshopping will be structured according to a programme of topics, exercises and commissions which will encourage and train students in the basics of poetry techniques in the main genres and sub-genres, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study poetry through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as form and convention, issues of class, race, language, gender in poetry, narrative, lyric, dramatic poetry - whilst also being encouraged to critique each others' work, to workshop writing creatively and constructively, and to work with tutors to help prepare work in progress for the main dissertation project later in the year. Students will produce a portfolio of poems based on the workshop commissions as well as a critical essay reflecting on the creative processes involved in their submission.

30 credits
Creative Writing: Prose Experiment, Prose Transformations

The module will entail a practical writing workshop where students will read, discuss, analyze and critique their own and other students' writing, as well as learning the fundamentals of close reading, technical analysis and critical judgment of contemporary writers from a practitioner's point of view. The workshopping will be structured according to a programme of topics, exercises and commissions which will encourage and train students in the basics of fiction writing techniques in the main genres and sub-genres, as well as aid them in the development of their own creative writing to an acceptable and potentially publishable standard. Students will study fiction through appropriate and writer-centred theoretical frameworks - such as story development, issues of class, race, gender in writing, genre conventions, narrative theory - whilst also being encouraged to critique each others' work, to workshop writing creatively and constructively, and to work with tutors to help prepare work in progress for the main dissertation project later in the year. Students will produce a portfolio of writing based on the workshop commissions as well as a critical essay reflecting on the creative processes involved in their submission.

30 credits

Optional modules may include:

'Tales of the City' - The Living Space in Contemporary American Fiction

San Francisco and New Orleans are perhaps the most atypical cities in the United States. San Francisco ephasises youth culture, choice of sexuality, and freedom, and New Orleans stresses multi-ethnicity, music, history, language, vice, and vampires. What is especially striking in the context of a celebration of the American Metropolis is the interrelation between the images of the city and the literature produced about that city. The features of fragmentation, rootlessness, and lack of structure put forward in much postmodern fiction as a simulacrum of postmodern life (cf. Baudrillard's description of Los Angeles in America (1985) are glorified in the fictions of San Francisco and New Orleans. Do these cities and these fictions contrast with recent immigrant fiction, African-American fiction, and/or Chicano fictions located in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia? In this course, I would like to explore the literary spaces of these metropolises and investigate the effects of living in this space on its literary inhabitants. In these cities, the apartment building, the mall, downtown, the sports arena, the bar replace the structires of family, gender, and race, predominant in so much other American fiction. Whether these new architectures offer truly liberated conditions will be further examined.

30 credits
Literature and Language in the Workplace

This, the core module for the MA in English Studies, will combine an introduction to electronic, microfilm, and paper tools with an in-depth exposure to the way in which close reading can be aided by consideration of reception history, literary theory, historical backgrounds, and stage history. Students will learn by way of and demonstrate skills in online discussions. Students who complete this module will have developed skills that are transferable to various employment situations, especially publishing. The module will be very useful for and interesting to secondary and post-16 English teachers, particularly those whose degrees are not recent.

15 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Teaching

How we teach core modules

For the four core creative writing modules, you’ll meet for a two-hour workshop each week. These workshops are held in the late afternoons or early evenings.

A workshop is an informal, creative and critical environment that allows you to receive feedback on your writing from both the tutor and your fellow students. 

You’ll have the opportunity to discuss creative and theoretical practices, drawing on a wide range of selected contemporary reading material. You'll be encouraged to produce new writing on a weekly basis, which we discuss in the workshops.

How we teach optional modules

Modules from MA English Literature are taught in seminars, which can vary from 1.5 to 2.5 hours long. These are held weekly or fortnightly depending on the module. Many of these seminars are held during the day.

Teaching staff

Our current staff are active and internationally-recognised authors, academics and creative forces in their fields:

Former teaching staff have included Dr Vahni Capildeo, Professor Simon Armitage, Dr Honor Gavin and Professor Denise Riley.

Assessment

You’ll be assessed on your essays, a creative writing dissertation and portfolio. Fiction writers and dramatists: 12,000 words of creative work. Poets: 50 poems or equivalent. All students complete a 3,000- word critical essay.

Duration

  • 1 year full-time
  • 2 years part-time

Your career

Our alumni have gone on to publish creative work and pursue research paths in various sectors. View a list of publications by our current students and alumni who have published work during and since completing our degree programme in Creative Writing.

Alumni and student publications

Entry requirements

A good first degree (2:1 or above, or the international equivalent) in English literature, language, linguistics, or a related discipline (eg history, philosophy, modern languages).

A portfolio submission of 2,000 words of prose/drama or five poems (or equivalent, roughly 100 lines), to be sent along with the application form.

Overall IELTS score of 7.5 and a minimum of 7.0 in all other components.

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Fees and funding

Studentships

There are a number of studentships and fee bursaries available, funded by the University. Deadlines for funding applications are usually in winter/early spring.

Apply

You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

Apply now

Contact

english.admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 (0)114 222 8473

Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

Our student protection plan

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

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