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Have you always wanted to be a writer? Have you got a story to tell but you don’t know how to unlock it? Do you want to know more about the craft of writing? Do you want to learn how to read both as a critic and as a writer? If so, this exciting new joint honours degree is ideal. In the heart of literary London, in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, you will study with leading academics and celebrated published authors across the fields of fiction, poetry and drama. You will also develop your knowledge and understanding of a wide range of literary writing in English, from earliest times to the present day. This degree culminates in the opportunity to develop both extended creative and critical pieces under the guidance of award-winning writers. We also offer a four-year, part-time, evening study BA Creative Writing and English.
Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject. In the 2017 National Student Survey, our English courses came top in London and third in the country for overall course satisfaction. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), English Language and Literature at Birkbeck achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality. Birkbeck is located in the heart of literary London – in Bloomsbury, WC1 – and writers and academics maintain strong links with publishers and broadcasters. You could be studying in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group – now home to our School of Arts – and be taught by leading novelists, dramatists and artists. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space. You will be eligible to submit work to the annual Birkbeck creative writing journal, The Mechanics’ Institute Review. Read an account of how our students created the most recent issue of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members’ screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists’ Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.
In Year 1, you take three core modules that will introduce you to the basic elements of craft in the writing of prose fiction, drama and poetry. You also take three core English literature modules that will introduce you to some of the major genres and periods of English literature, while developing your skills in understanding and applying a range of critical theories and methods. In Year 2, you take a compulsory creative writing module that will develop your writing skills in longer-form fiction. You also take a compulsory English literature module that will develop your ability to critically evaluate longer fiction. In your final year, you take a compulsory module that explores the boundary between creative and critical writing, and undertake a written project in English literature (a long essay) or an extended writing project in a genre of creative writing. All other modules are optional, chosen from a wide range offered across our BA English and our BA Creative Writing programmes. You can also choose option modules on related programmes in the School of Arts, such as our BA Arts and Humanities.
CAREERS AND EMPLOYABILITY
Graduates can pursue careers in creative writing, journalism, education or media production. This degree may also be useful in becoming an author, journalist, higher education lecturer or screenwriter.