You are inspired by the world around you, and you want to capture it in words. You are good at telling stories, and you like to experiment with form and language, creating new worlds to share with your reader. On our course you will hone your creative and writing skills across a wide variety of genres from fiction and poetry to non-fiction, psycho-geography, script and performance writing – and beyond.
At Essex we offer an unusual approach to the practice of writing, combing innovative and traditional methods in order to help you develop your writing skills and the abilities to judge your work, and that of others, critically. Learn how to give and receive feedback, through workshopping and development processes. Step outside your comfort zone and discover new and different approaches to verbal art.
On the four-year MLitSt Creative Writing, you will be part of an interdisciplinary department and well-established home to practising poets, dramatists, novelists and critics.
You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules across different topics and areas of specialism, including;
- Dreaming and Writing
- The Writer’s toolkit and writing short stories
- Creative non-fiction
- An introduction to screenwriting
- Writing Science Fiction
- Writing audio drama and playwriting for theatre
- Narrative and film
- Journalism and storytelling
In your fourth year, as a post-graduate student, you will be able to choose from the following masters level creative writing topics;
- Development of a novel plan, from research and concept-development, to plotting, character and structure
- Experimental language play
- Psychogeography, writing about walking, place, landscape, history and psychic environment
- Poetic practice across experimental writing in poetry from the performative to the visual
Essex has nurtured a long tradition of distinguished writers whose work has shaped literature as we know it today, from past giants such as the American poets Robert Lowell and Ted Berrigan, to contemporary writers such as mythographer and novelist Dame Marina Warner, and Booker Prize winner Ben Okri.
Our course offers a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum, focused on developing your abilities as a writer, while allowing you to take options from the other courses within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies including literature, filmmaking, journalism and drama.
Our expert staff
Our teaching staff are experienced and established writers who have a breadth of experience across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and science fiction.
The Centre for Creative Writing is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers students the skills, support and confidence to respond artistically and critically to the study of writing with the guidance of experts.
The Centre for Creative Writing also hosts a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, a professional writer or editor who is on-hand to help students develop their writing on a one-to-one basis.
- Access the University’s Media Centre, equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite
- Write for our student magazine Rebel or host a radio show
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading literature specialists at regular talks and readings
- Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
- Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
- Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
Many of our students have gone on to successfully publish their work, notable recent alumni including:
- Ida Løkås, who won a literary prize in Norway for The Beauty That Flows Past, securing a book deal
- Alexia Casale, whose novel Bone Dragon was published by Faber & Faber and subsequently featured on both the Young Adult Books of the Year 2013 list for The Financial Times, and The Independent’s Books of the year 2013: Children
- Elaine Ewart, recent graduate from our MA Wild Writing, placed second in the New Welsh Writing Awards 2015
- Patricia Borlenghi, the founder of Patrician Press, which has published works by a number of our alumni
- Simon Everett, owners and editor of Muscaliet Press
- Petra Mcqueen, who has written for The Guardian and runs creative writing courses
A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers, and others are now established as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, and translators.
Why we’re great
- Achieve a masters level qualification with this four-year course variant
- Join a diverse network of distinguished alumni, including Booker Prize and Pulitzer Price winners
- Our course offers a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum, focused on developing your abilities as a writer.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.