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MA Creative Writing

"The Chichester MA in Creative Writing is setting exceptionally high standards. In general, a great strength of the MA is the liveliness and innovative spirit of the work produced." Professor Jo Shapcott, External Examiner

As one of the most established MAs in Creative Writing in the country, Chichester has a long record of student successes.All our courses are taught by practising novelists, short story writers, poets and dramatists. In addition to this, there are regular visits by other writers. The final taught module includes a session given by agents and editors. Staff are also willing to advise on professional issues of placing work.

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South Coast Creative Writing Hub

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Entry Requirements/Fees

An honours degree at 2:1 or higher in a related discipline

You are required to send in a portfolio of creative writing.

Full fee: £5,690

Alumni receive a 15% discount on postgraduate courses at Chichester.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Karen completed her MA in 2012. Her debut poetry collection, An Aviary of Small Birds, was published by Carcanet in 2014. An Aviary of Small Birds was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and selected by Kate Kellaway as a Guardian/Observer book of the month; Kellaway described the books as a ‘beautiful, painful, pitch-perfect debut’. It was also nominated for the Forward and Aldeburgh First Collection prizes. Karen’s most recent collection, Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet 2017) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was described by Warsan Shire as ‘a stunning and strange collection from a true writer’. Karen is a fellow of The Complete Works — a nationwide professional development programme committed to creating more cultural diversity in mainstream poetry publishing and is the editor of the associated anthology Ten: The New Wave published by Bloodaxe Books. 

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Hannah Brockbank

​Hannah Brockbank is joint winner of the 2016 Kate Betts Award. Publications featuring her work include Hallelujah for 50ft Women Anthology (Bloodaxe), A Way through the Woods Anthology (Binsted Arts), Full Moon & Foxglove Anthology (Three Drops Press), The London Magazine, Envoi, and When Women Waken Journal. Her poems also featured in the Chalk Poets Anthology as part of the 2016 Winchester Poetry Festival. She has also written feature essays for Thresholds International Short Story Forum. Her first pamphlet, Bloodlines, is published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. She is currently studying for a Ph.D at the University of Chichester.

 

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Amber Lee Dodd

Amber completed the MA in Creative Writing in 2015. Amber’s plays have been performed at Chichester Festival Theatre, the New Theatre Royal and the Edinburgh Fringe. Her stories have been published around the world and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. We Are Giants, her first book for children, was published in 2016 and won the 2017 Calderdale Book of the Year Award. Jaqueline Wilson described We are Giants as ‘a total page-turner, very moving and touching.’ Amber is currently working on her second children's novel.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Bethan Roberts

Bethan Roberts has published five novels and writes drama for BBC Radio 4. Her first novel The Pools (2007) won a Jerwood/Arvon Young Writers’ Award. Her second novel The Good Plain Cook (2008) was serialised on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was chosen as one of Time Out’s books of the year. My Policeman, the story of a 1950s policeman, his wife, and his male lover, followed in 2012, and was chosen as that year’s City Read for Brighton. Her fourth novel, Mother Island, was the recipient of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize. She also writes short fiction, for which she has won the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Prize and the RA Pin Drop Award. Chatto & Windus publish her new novel, Graceland, which tells the story of Elvis Presley and his mother.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Gabrielle Kimm

Gabrielle Kimm gained her MA from Chichester in 2007. Since then she has published three novels with Sphere: The Last Duchess, The Courtesan’s Lover and The Girl With The Painted Face. The Last Duchess was described as ‘a stunning debut, rich in historical detail’ by the Irish Times. Her work has been published in nine countries. Gabrielle met her agent, Judith Murray, at one of the English and Creative Writing Department annual Agents and Editors’ panels.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Graham Minett

Completing the course in 2008, Graham gained a distinction for the dissertation under the guidance of novelist, Alison MacLeod and almost immediately won the Segora Short Story Competition with ‘On the Way Out’. Other awards soon followed, most notably his success in the 2010 Chapter One novel competition with what would eventually become the opening pages of his debut novel. He was signed up by Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency, who managed to secure a two-book deal with twenty7, the digital-first adult fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing. The Hidden Legacy was published as an eBook in November 2015 and the paperback version was published in August 2016. The second book in the deal, entitled Lie in Wait, was published as an eBook in August 2016 and the paperback version was published in March 2017. His new novel, Anything For Her, appeared as an eBook in November 2017 and then in paperback in March 2018.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Isabel Ashdown

Isabel completed her MA in Creative Writing with us in 2010. While on the MA, she worked on her first novel, Glasshopper, which was published by Myriad Editions in 2009. Glasshopper went on to be named among the best books of 2009 by both the Observer and The Evening Standard. Since then she has published four more novels. The latest, Little Sister, is a psychological thriller published by Trapeze, an imprint of Orion publishing. Isabel is represented by Kate Shaw of The Viney Agency.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Juliet West

Juliet West worked as a journalist before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. She graduated with distinction and was joint winner of the university’s Kate Betts’ Memorial Prize in 2010. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies including The French Literary Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and the Sunday Times online magazine. Juliet’s debut novel Before the Fall was published in 2014 by Pan Macmillan, and her second novel, The Faithful, was published in 2017, also by Pan Macmillan.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Melanie Whipman is an Associate Lecturer and holds a  PhD, MA in Creative Writing and B.A. from the University of Chichester.  She is also Commissioning Editor for The Story Player. Her work has been broadcast on Radio 4 and published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Llama Sutra, her debut short story collection, was published last year by Ink Tears Press.

“I love the challenge and the discipline of crafting a short story. It’s all about compression and lack of waste. But it’s a constant balance. While you’re fighting to put down the best words and the best images, you’re also aware of the need to create space for the reader - to leave things ‘unsaid’. It’s as much about what is happening off the page as on the page.”  www.melaniewhipman.com    

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Alice in Time, Penelope Bush’s first novel, began life as part of her dissertation for the Creative Writing MA at the University of Chichester. It was picked up by Piccadilly Press in 2009 and Penelope was offered a three book deal. Alice in Time went to auction in America, sold in eleven countries, has been translated into eight languages and was selected for the Manchester Book Award.                                                                               

Her second book, Diary of a Lottery Winner’s Daughter, has sold in eight countries, was nominated for the Redbridge Children’s Book Award and shortlisted for the Worcestershire Teen Book Award.  Penelope’s third book, Me, Myself, Milly, sold in eight countries and topped the Amazon bestselling children’s book list at number 4.

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STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm was published in March 2018 by Scholastic UK and is a middle grade fantasy with sky-ship explorers, sapient creatures and twin heroes. Brightstorm was selected by Independent Booksellers as the Book of the Season Spring 2018 and was been shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award, The Awesome Book Awards, Leeds Book Awards, Stockton Book Awards, and was also listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards. It has currently sold to six other countries including China. Her new book is out in May with Scholastic UK,

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Student view

Ironopolis in its current form wouldn’t exist without the M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. It was there I started corralling the nebulous ideas I had for the novel, where I was encouraged to experiment with perspective, form and technique, and where I shared the results of those experiments in submissions and workshops. This last aspect was truly galvanising to me. For many years, writing had been something I did in isolation—something vaguely shameful—so the encouraging, reciprocal nature of the M.A. was a wonderful lesson in collaboration. It not only strengthened my own work, but being part of workshop dialogues with fellow writers and their own works in progress sharped my critical and editorial abilities enormously.

And this, I think, is where the true value of the M.A. lies—in the way it chalks off a space in your life where engaging seriously with prose, or poetry, or play-writing is your first priority. It’s in that space you grow as a writer. During my time at Chichester, I became submerged in the writing process from initial inspiration to final polish, and in doing so pushed my creative and technical abilities to the point where the novel I was writing felt like a viable bet. Throughout, I was supported by the talented, enthusiastic and knowledgeable faculty, and by my inspirational course-mates, some of who are now friends for life. And by the end of the M.A., I also had a book.

Ironopolis is published by Parthian Books.

See here for a review in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jan/16/ironopolis-by-glen-james-brown-review

Course content

The MA in Creative Writing is focussed on writing as a craft. It is designed to give students a structure within which they can develop their writing, experimenting with the wide range of possibilities available to the contemporary writer. It is possible to write prose fiction (the novel or short story), poetry, creative non-fiction (biography, autobiography, memoir, travel), film scripts or drama for the stage or radio. You may want to work on one project such as a novel, throughout the course. Or you may wish to explore different genres. The course allows for both options.

Our MA Creative writing students 'read as writers', explore their reading in group discussions and engage in writing exercises designed to enlarge and stimulate their practice. However, the MA is not a literary critical MA: the approach to reading is one of looking at the craft of writing.

In the intensive MA workshops, students share work, learn to write to deadlines, learn how to redraft, polish, edit imaginatively and find the creative thread which, when followed, reveals how their own writing will achieve its optimum level. We believe in creating a community of writers who can support and learn from one another.

All written assignments are accompanied by the writing of a commentary on the process; the commentary speeds and makes explicit a writer's discoveries, and so aids future practice.

We advise on publishing and the market place. Every May we have our Agents and Editors’ Panel for which experts from the publishing industry come to Chichester to talk about getting published and to make contacts with our students. A number of our students have met their agents and/or editors at one of these panels.

 

Recent guest readers include: Jim Crace, Kate Mosse, Helen Dunmore, Michele Roberts, Vicki Feaver, Bethan Roberts, Jo Shapcott, Adam Marek, Matthew Sweeney and Robert Shearman.

Find out more in the application pack here.

Find out more about our South Coast Creative Writing Hub.

 

 

Where this can take you

Many of our writers go on to publish and win prizes. For instance, Bethan Roberts’ novel Mother Island won the 2015 Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize.

MA graduate Wendy French won the £5000 2010 Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine. Amber Dodd’s novel for children, We Are Giants, won the 2017 Calderdale book of the Year Award. Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm was selected by Independent Booksellers as the Book of the Season Spring 2018 and has been shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award, The Awesome Book Awards, Leeds Book Awards, Stockton Book Awards, and was also listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards.

These are just a few recent examples of the success of our graduates.

The annual Publishing Panel of six specialists has regularly welcomed literary agents from agencies such as David Godwin Associates, Rogers, Coleridge and White, United Artists, Greene & Heaton, Janklow and Nesbitt, RAFT and Lucy Luck Associates.

Agents join literary editors for a discussion of the publishing world today and how to approach an agent or editor.

We have welcomed literary editors from Penguin/Hamish Hamilton, Chatto & Windus, Myriad Editions, Simon & Schuster, Pighog Press, the Frogmore Papers and producers from BBC Radio.

Indicative modules

The MA comprises four taught modules and a creative dissertation:

  • The Writing Studio enables writers to experiment in any genre prose, poetry or drama, while exploring key features of those genres. This first module also serves as induction to the MA and to the distinctive methods of the 'Chichester workshop'.

  • Metaphor and the Imagination encourages innovation and experimentation, pushing writers beyond their usual boundaries.

  • Sources and Transformations engages writers with the essential writerly skills of transforming both outer research and inner biographical concerns into fiction.

  • Launching the Manuscript encourages autonomy, sustaining the longer project, learning about the publishing industry and includes guest readers and the publishing panel.

The Manuscript (a creative dissertation of 20,000) allows writers to develop a longer piece of work through one to one tutorials with a tutor as a consultant reader.

 

International English Studies

Include International English Studies: 

Teaching and assessment

The MA in Creative Writing is taught through a combination of seminar discussion, writing exercises and workshops. Each taught module is twelve weeks in length. The first six weeks comprise input sessions from tutors and visiting writers. Each session also includes writing exercises. These sessions are designed to help you to develop your work by considering the work of other writers. The second half of each module is dedicated to workshopping. Students work in groups of about five. The function of the workshops is to push you to develop your craft through supportive feedback.

Assessment is by a portfolio of creative work with a short accompanying commentary, comprising 6000 words for each module.

The dissertation is taught by one-to-one tutorials with one tutor. Students submit 20,000 words at the end of the dissertation period.

 

To gain a Postgraduate Diploma in Creative Writing, students need to complete four modules. Each module is assessed by an assignment of approximately 6,000 words or equivalent.

To gain an MA in Creative Writing, students need to complete all four modules and a dissertation of 20,000 words (or poetry/drama equivalents).

Additional Costs

Include Additional Costs: 

Additional Costs

STUDENT AND GRADUATE SUCCESS

Amber Lee Dodd

Amber completed the MA in Creative Writing in 2015. Amber’s plays have been performed at Chichester Festival Theatre, the New Theatre Royal and the Edinburgh Fringe. Her stories have been published around the world and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. We Are Giants, her first book for children, was published in 2016 and won the 2017 Calderdale Book of the Year Award. Jaqueline Wilson described We are Giants as ‘a total page-turner, very moving and touching.’ Amber is currently working on her second children's novel.

Amber is represented by Janklow and Nesbitt. Her website can be found at www.amberleedodd.com

 

Bethan Roberts

Bethan Roberts has published five novels and writes drama for BBC Radio 4. Her first novel The Pools (2007) won a Jerwood/Arvon Young Writers’ Award. Her second novel The Good Plain Cook (2008) was serialised on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime and was chosen as one of Time Out’s books of the year. My Policeman, the story of a 1950s policeman, his wife, and his male lover, followed in 2012, and was chosen as that year’s City Read for Brighton. Her fourth novel, Mother Island, was the recipient of a Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize. She also writes short fiction, for which she has won the Society of Authors’ Olive Cook Prize and the RA Pin Drop Award. Chatto & Windus publish her new novel, Graceland, which tells the story of Elvis Presley and his mother.

Bethan is represented by The David Higham Agency and her website can be found at bethanrobertswriter.co.uk

 

Gabrielle Kimm

Gabrielle Kimm gained her MA from Chichester in 2007. Since then she has published three novels with Sphere: The Last Duchess, The Courtesan’s Lover and The Girl With The Painted Face. The Last Duchess was described as ‘a stunning debut, rich in historical detail’ by the Irish Times. Her work has been published in nine countries. Gabrielle met her agent, Judith Murray, at one of the English and Creative Writing Department annual Agents and Editors’ panels.

Gabrielle’s website can be found at gabriellekimm.co.uk

Graham Minett

Completing the course in 2008, Graham gained a distinction for the dissertation under the guidance of novelist, Alison MacLeod and almost immediately won the Segora Short Story Competition with ‘On the Way Out’. Other awards soon followed, most notably his success in the 2010 Chapter One novel competition with what would eventually become the opening pages of his debut novel. He was signed up by Peter Buckman of the Ampersand Agency, who managed to secure a two-book deal with twenty7, the digital-first adult fiction imprint of Bonnier Publishing. The Hidden Legacy was published as an eBook in November 2015 and the paperback version was published in August 2016. The second book in the deal, entitled Lie in Wait, was published as an eBook in August 2016 and the paperback version was published in March 2017. His new novel, Anything For Her, appeared as an eBook in November 2017 and then in paperback in March 2018.

Graham’s website can be found at www.grahamminett.com

Laura Pearson

Laura Pearson lives in Leicestershire. She graduated from the University of Chichester with an MA in Creative Writing in 2004.  Her blog (breastcancerandbaby.com) is about her experiences of being diagnosed with breast cancer during her second pregnancy. Missing Pieces, published by Agora Books on 21 June 2018, is her first novel.

 

Juliet West

Juliet West worked as a journalist before taking an MA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. She graduated with distinction and was joint winner of the university’s Kate Betts’ Memorial Prize in 2010. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various magazines and anthologies including The French Literary Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and the Sunday Times online magazine. Juliet’s debut novel Before the Fall was published in 2014 by Pan Macmillan, and her second novel, The Faithful, was published in 2017, also by Pan Macmillan.

Karen MacCarthy

Karen completed her MA in 2012. Her debut poetry collection, An Aviary of Small Birds, was published by Carcanet in 2014. An Aviary of Small Birds was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and selected by Kate Kellaway as a Guardian/Observer book of the month; Kellaway described the books as a ‘beautiful, painful, pitch-perfect debut’. It was also nominated for the Forward and Aldeburgh First Collection prizes. Karen’s most recent collection, Seasonal Disturbances (Carcanet 2017) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was described by Warsan Shire as ‘a stunning and strange collection from a true writer’. Karen is a fellow of The Complete Works — a nationwide professional development programme committed to creating more cultural diversity in mainstream poetry publishing and is the editor of the associated anthology Ten: The New Wave published by Bloodaxe Books. 

Hannah Brockbank

​Hannah Brockbank is joint winner of the 2016 Kate Betts Award. Publications featuring her work include Hallelujah for 50ft Women Anthology (Bloodaxe), A Way through the Woods Anthology (Binsted Arts), Full Moon & Foxglove Anthology (Three Drops Press), The London Magazine, Envoi, and When Women Waken Journal. Her poems also featured in the Chalk Poets Anthology as part of the 2016 Winchester Poetry Festival. She has also written feature essays for Thresholds International Short Story Forum. Her first pamphlet, Bloodlines, is published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. She is currently studying for a Ph.D at the University of Chichester.

Tracy Fells

Tracy Fells completed her MA in Creative Writing in 2015. She has won awards for both fiction and drama. Her short stories have appeared in Firewords and Popshot magazines, online at Litro New York, Short Story Sunday and in anthologies such as Fugue, Rattle Tales and A Box of Stars Beneath the Bed (National Flash Fiction Day anthology). She was the 2017 Regional Winner (Canada and Europe) for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize with her short story The Naming of Moths - published on Granta. Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth, Fish, Bridport, Brighton and Willesden Herald Prizes. 

Donna Kirstein

Donna Kirstein’s debut poetry collection, Borderlands (Cinnamon Press), was published in 2017.  She first pitched the idea for the collection to Cinnamon Press in a special publishing initiative created for our Creative Writing students by the our staff team.  In Donna’s words, "pitching was an incredible opportunity," but, like all the other competitors, she was given only ten minutes to convey the heart of her book to the Press’ director Jan Fortune and Communications Director Adam Craig. 

 "Initially, I was nervous," said  Donna, "but I had convinced myself that all the other excellent writers would be more deserving, and so I walked into the room with less trepidation than I might have otherwise done.  Afterwards I coached myself to not get too excited - when I got the call, I was taken aback and got a little emotional, I hadn’t realised quite how pleased I would feel.  The publishers were very supportive, positive and patient throughout, and Adam’s feedback and edits were really useful. The first time I saw the cover and held the actual book in my hands it was an incredible feeling of accomplishment - now it feels like the hard part really begins, where I need to concentrate on carrying on with new work."

 Donna was born in Poole, England but grew up in land-locked Zimbabwe where she fell in love with words and wide-open horizons.  Currently she lives in Worthing where for the first time in her life she can watch the tides turn along the seashore.  Donna has been writing since childhood and earned an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction from the University of Chichester.  She is a poet and short story writer.  She spends her days employed as a graphic designer and photographer.  Her stories have appeared in anthologies published by Weaver Press in Zimbabwe.

Vashti Hardy

Vashti Hardy’s Brightstorm was published in March 2018 by Scholastic UK and is a middle grade fantasy with sky-ship explorers, sapient creatures and twin heroes. Brightstorm was selected by Independent Booksellers as the Book of the Season Spring 2018 and was been shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Readers Award, The Awesome Book Awards, Leeds Book Awards, Stockton Book Awards, and was also listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards. It has currently sold to six other countries including China. Her new book is out in May with Scholastic UK,