The course supports you to create a significant body of writing, with practical plans for its place in the real world of publishing. It is based on the principle that most writers learn and benefit from working closely with their fellow writers, in a disciplined supportive setting, and with tutors who are practising and published writers in their field. Most of our students aim to complete a novel by the end of the MA.
The writing workshop is at the heart of the course. What you’ll do with tutors and your fellow writers in a workshop situation is learn to see your work through objective eyes and to think clearly about the different strategies you might adopt. You learn from each other’s mistakes and successes as well as your own. You will be urged to try things out, take risks and experiment, and reflect on and discuss the writing process. The context modules help you to see your own writing in the wider context of published children’s writing. The course encourages you to read widely and analytically.
We offer places on the basis of our assessment of the student´s quality, potential and commitment as a writer and their ability to benefit from the course. Normally, but not invariably, a student will have a degree.
Applicants will need to submit a short piece of creative writing for young people with their application form: for example, six poems or two short stories or not more than 20 pages of a novel.
We select applicants for an interview before making an offer of a place on the course.
This specialist creative writing MA is designed for writers for children, teenagers and young adults who aim to complete a novel, series of picture books or shorter stories for young children. It is a practical course, taught by experienced lecturers who are all published children´s writers and/or industry professionals.
In the first trimester’s writing workshop you’ll explore a variety of forms of writing, gaining a sense of different age ranges and styles of writing and experimenting with your own writing. We encourage all our students to experiment and take risks at this stage of the course.
The context module, Writing for Young People: Forms, Ages and Stages, is concerned with the writer’s relationship with their audience, and will help you understand some of the issues raised by writing for young people. You read one set text each week to discuss in class, reading ‘as a writer’, looking closely at language and style, in addition to writing short pieces of your own creative work.
In the second trimester’s workshop you will be asked to choose your area of writing, and use the workshop’s feedback and encouragement to explore it in more depth. You will bring short excerpts from your work-in-progress for discussion and feedback in the group. You may continue to experiment with different ideas for other stories.
The second trimester’s Context Module looks at Contemporary Children’s Publishing, and aims to give a realistic grasp of the choices open to new writers in the field. This is your chance to learn about how the publishing industry works, and to develop the professional skills you need as a working author.
In Trimester three you will continue to write your work-in-progress, editing and re-drafting your work to help you develop a manuscript as near to publishable quality as possible. You’ll be supported by tutorials with a manuscript supervisor. The manuscript may be a novel, a collection of stories, a collection of poems or picture book texts. Most of our students choose to write a novel for young people.
Part time students follow the same sequence of modules, but do so over two years.
Most of our students want a career as a published children´s author, and many have gone on to achieve this. Our list of published graduates grows every year: since the course started in 2004, more than twenty students have achieved publication deals with mainstream publishers such as Andersen Press, Bloomsbury, Chicken House, Faber, Hot Key, Meadowside, Nosy Crow, Orion, Oxford University Press, Quercus. Others have found work in the children´s publishing industry, or in libraries, bookshops and teaching or other work with young people.
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