MFA Creative Writing


Since completing her MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction), Emma Healey’s debut novel has been published to universal praise and she has toured the world to promote her work. She joined UEA with half a draft of her novel ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ and having developed links with publishers during her time on the course, she achieved every writer’s dream of being signed by a literary agency. Her book was published by Penguin in June 2014.

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"My year at UEA was one of the best of my life"

In their words

Ian McEwan, Creative Writing Graduate and Booker Prize winner

Graduate equipped to launch your career as a publishing writer, with sufficient training and experience to teach writing as well. The first year of this two-year programme is identical to our world-renowned MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) and offers all the benefits of our internationally recognised workshop-based approach. You will attend weekly workshops, supported by individual tutorials and supplementary classes chosen from the full range of MA options in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.

Your second year will be structured on the model of the PhD, with one-to-one supervision of your work in progress, culminating in the submission of a full-length work for assessment. In addition, you will attend classes in the teaching of creative writing and gain classroom experience of this on our undergraduate programme.

The MFA builds on our extensive connections with publishers and agents, ensuring you graduate ready to make the next step in your career.


Please note that the closing date for applications is 1 May 2018. However, the course may be full before the closing date and so you are advised to apply as early as possible.

The Creative Writing programme at UEA was the first of its kind in the UK and is distinguished by the unrivalled success of its alumni. We introduced the first MA in 1970, the first PhD in 1987, and students now join us from all over the world.

In 2011 we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in recognition of our continuing excellence in delivering innovative courses at a world-class level.

The principal aim of the MFA Creative Writing is to help you develop a deeper understanding of the craft and context of producing literary fiction. By the end of the course we would expect you to have become more adept and more self-aware in your own practice and to have completed a draft of a full-length work.

During the course you will become fully conversant with all aspects of being a professional writer, and will enjoy – like all UEA Creative Writing students – greatly enhanced prospects of publication on graduation. Our course builds on our extensive connections with publishers and agents, meaning that you will graduate fully equipped to launch your career as a publishing writer, and will have sufficient training and experience to move into teaching writing in order to support a writing career.

The MFA is also an entry-level qualification for a career in academia in the USA, giving many graduates the opportunity immediately to pursue roles in teaching at undergraduate level.

This course presents an alternative to a PhD, requiring fewer years out of employment, and offers the possibility of completing a work of publishable length (60,000–80,000 words), written under close editorial supervision.

Course structure

The first year of this course is coterminous with our MA Creative Writing Prose Fiction, offering you all the benefits of the workshop-based approach to teaching writing. The second year is structured on the model of the PhD, offering you one-to-one supervision of your work. Finally, you will submit a full-length piece of work for assessment.

In the autumn and spring semesters of your first year, you will attend the weekly workshop and an accompanying optional module. Your work will be peer-reviewed six times in the workshop, and on each occasion this will be followed by a one-to-one tutorial with your workshop tutor. In these follow-on individual meetings there will be an opportunity to discuss your work and your ambitions for your writing in greater detail.

Your optional module may also be practice-based, offering further opportunities to submit creative work in a critical context, or may be chosen from the full range of scholarly and critical modules offered in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. These include Criticism/Critique; Fiction After Modernism; Theory and Practice of Fiction; and Creative-Critical Writing. In the post-Easter dissertation period you will be assigned an individual supervisor for a series of one-to-one tutorials, and will attend a series of weekly presentations from visiting agents and publishers.

The second year is taught on the model of the PhD and comprises a series of eleven individual tutorials with your supervisor to discuss your work in progress. These meetings will allow your supervisor to provide constructive editorial feedback on your work in progress and answer any questions you may have. In the autumn semester you will also follow a course of teaching training, supplemented by classroom observation, and in the spring you will be offered an opportunity to assist in the teaching of the undergraduate Creative Writing programme.

Including workshops, tutorials and the double-marking of assignments, your work will be read and commented upon by faculty members around 35 times over the course of the MFA. There will often also be opportunities to show your work to visiting writers, such as our UNESCO professors, who have recently included the novelists Ali Smith, Margaret Atwood and Ian Rankin.


You will develop your creative practice in the context of workshops, their accompanying tutorials, and one-to-one supervision, so that you are assessed in an ongoing, formative way. In the first year these workshops will guide you towards the submission of creative work for summative assessment: 5,000 words in January, 5,000 words in April, and 15,000 words in September. You will also submit a 5,000-word essay or creative work for each of your two optional modules.

In the second year you will build on this foundation of practical, historical and contextual knowledge by concentrating on the completion of your full-length work, for which you will receive close editorial guidance throughout the year. In December you will submit a 3,500-word statement outlining the relationship of your writing to its historical and contemporary influences, and in April a 3,500-word reflective self-commentary on the progress of your work in terms of its formal or technical development. The full-length work (of 60,000–80,000 words) you will submit at the end of the course will form the majority of your assessment for this year. You will also undertake teaching training during semester one and teaching practice in semester two of the final year.

For each of your creative submissions you will receive an agreed mark and written comments from two members of the Creative Writing faculty.

Course tutors and research interests

Our tutors are always published writers of some reputation. Since the MA and MFA’s inception these have included Malcolm Bradbury, Angela Carter, Patricia Duncker, Andrew Motion, Michèle Roberts, W. G. Sebald and Rose Tremain.

The teaching team varies each year and includes visiting writers with significant track records of publication and substantial teaching experience. The core Prose Fiction teaching team for the MA and MFA currently includes Trezza Azzopardi, Andrew Cowan, Giles Foden, Philip Langeskov, Jean McNeil and Henry Sutton.

Visiting writers in recent years have included Richard Beard, John Boyne, Helen Cross, Joe Dunthorne, KJ Orr and James Scudamore.

Full details of UEA’s Creative Writing faculty can be found here:

Where next?

The reputation of Creative Writing at UEA will help place you in a highly favourable position in relation to opportunities in the creative industries. Publication aside, a significant number of our graduates go on to work in teaching, publishing, as literary agents, in journalism, public relations, communications, the media, and arts development and administration.  

The teaching training and teaching practice element of the course will equip you with skills and experience that will help allow you to support a writing career. 

During the second year, you will have the opportunity to assist in the teaching of undergraduate students studying Creative Writing at UEA. You will also have the opportunity to participate in and host creative writing activities in secondary schools. Through these teaching experiences you will develop in-depth knowledge and high-quality teaching skills, increasing your job prospects upon completion of the MFA.

We have excellent links with agents and publishers, many of whom visit the campus to talk to students in the spring semester. However, our commitment is primarily to your writing.

Frequently asked questions

I already have a BA in Literature and Creative Writing, and have attended other writing workshops. What can this course offer me?

During the course your work will be regularly and constructively critiqued by other writing students of an extremely high calibre and by experienced tutors on the UK’s most successful writing programme. Through the peer review of your classmates’ works in progress, you will become practised in key critical and editorial skills that you will then bring to bear on your own work. Over the two years you will have numerous opportunities to meet literary agents and publishers, and on completion of the MFA you may be ready to approach them with a complete draft. You will also graduate with experience of teaching at undergraduate level.

What are you looking for in your students?

At UEA, we are seeking committed writers who are also dedicated readers of contemporary and canonical fiction. We are looking for articulate, technically aware students who are able to contribute constructively to the discussion of their classmates’ work while developing their own work in response to feedback from their peers and tutors. We are looking for independent-minded, innovative individuals who are also able to participate in the collaborative (and inevitably institutional) activity of learning in a university setting.

Should I have a clear idea of my writing project before beginning the course?

Some students do have a definite idea of their project before joining the course, but many do not. You should view this MA as a time of experimentation and play – an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. Having too rigid an idea of what you want to achieve might make it difficult for you to adapt your work in response to feedback. We would however expect you to have embarked on your full-length work before the end of first year.

How many students do you accept each year?

Selection for the MFA will be highly competitive and limited initially to 12 Prose Fiction students.

Whom should I approach for references – a former tutor, my current employer, a lifelong friend? I know a published author who can vouch for my writing.

Academic referees would be the most useful to us as they can give an opinion on your suitability for postgraduate study. Employers can sometimes also offer useful information about your abilities and attributes. The testimony of a personal friend is rarely helpful. We will make our own assessment of your writing, but it can sometimes be helpful to read the opinion of a tutor, editor or writer who can comment on your ability to develop in response to feedback.

What is the average age of your students, and what sorts of background do they have?

The average age of our Master’s students is 30 (ranging from 22 to 60). On the MA Creative Writing we have recently accepted several practising artists and two former air force pilots, as well as teachers, journalists, literary agents, social workers, full-time parents, a carpenter, a fashion buyer, a police officer and a nurse, as well as a number of recent graduates of literature degrees.

On our MA we welcome students from all over the British Isles, as well as the USA and many other countries, including Canada, Brazil, Columbia, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Nigeria, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Australia and New Zealand. We expect to see a similar range of students applying for the MFA. Successful candidates will have a high level of competence in the English language, allied to a high level of creative ability.

Course Modules 2017/8

Students must study the following modules for 140 credits:

Name Code Credits


This 10-credit module consists of a series of lectures by Creative Writing and Critical faculty of direct relevance to the practical aspects of researching and writing a major piece of creative work. Attendance is compulsory.




Students are required to write a dissertation of a length as specified in their MA Course Guide on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person.




This is the Prose Fiction workshop, the core of the Prose Fiction MA, and runs for 12 weeks in the autumn semester and 12 weeks in the spring semester. The sessions are three hours long and take place on Tuesday afternoons (2-5pm). Each week work (up to 5,000 words) from three students is discussed. This discussion is led by the tutor, however careful and informed contribution from the rest of the class (including annotating the scripts) is fundamental. Over the two semesters everyone will have at least six opportunities to have their work discussed. Key and topical issues of theme and craft will be addressed and wider reading may be discussed and suggested. Individual tutorials (of half an hour) are then held for those students who have been workshopped.




In the second semster, you will be organised into new workshop groups. Other than that, this remains the workshop where we we'll discuss form, style, voice, characterisation, and structure (amongst other literary concerns) in relation to your own work. Throughout the module you'll learn how to become a better writer by becoming a better reader and editor of others' work. You'll also improve your own writing by working on the feedback given by the tutor and your workshop group. You'll learn how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person's text, and you'll learn how to communicate literary feedback constructively. You'll attend a 3-hour workshop every week. You'll submit three pieces of work over the module of up to 5,000 words each. You'll receive feedback within the workshop setting, and you'll also receive written feedback from your tutor and your peers. The tutor may elaborate on the issues provoked by your piece with a selection of chosen texts; key and topical issues of craft may be discussed. Your tutor will lead the discussion, but careful and informed contribution from the rest of the class is fundamental. You'll then have a one-to-one tutorial with your tutor after the workshop to deepen your understanding of the response from the group. During the module, you'll be reading independently, across genres, time-periods and geographies, to further strengthen your understanding of the forms in which you're working. The intensive study of your writing, and your peers' writing, will make you a more thoughtful reader, editor and writer. At the end of the module, you'll be able to test your own work against the literary principles discussed in the workshop. You'll also be able to communicate these judgements more effectively to others. You'll hand in a reworked draft of your work for your second summative assessment. Only students who are registered for the MA in Creative Writing: Prose may enrol for this module.



Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Students must select one module from Semester 1 and one module from Semester 2. Students may, with the permission of the Course Director, choose modules from outside the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. Please contact the Course Director if you wish to take another Masters level module not shown below

Name Code Credits


Critical reading and creative writing meet in the activity of adapting a text in one medium for presentation in another. The module focuses on dramatic adaptation, establishing a foundation in basic theory and then focusing on readings or original works and screenings. Discussions probe the choices offered by original texts and explore the possibilities and limitations inherent in different dramatic forms. In the later sessions, students will have the opportunity to workshop an adaptation for a final project.




This module introduces you to the ways in which material texts (both in manuscript and print) were transformed during the vital era from the emergence of print at the end of the middle ages to the close of the seventeenth century. How did the ways in which books were published change? How can we use the evidence of annotated books to reconstruct readers' habits and interests? How far did print transform the nature of the book? What happened to books as they started to become absorbed and classified within modern libraries? And how did manuscript documents -- especially letters -- enable the enormous boom in communication characteristic of the seventeenth century? How did the transformation of material texts create new possibilities for writing and thinking? The module equips you with the skills in early-modern archival studies that are necessary to tackle these questions. In particular, we spend a portion of each seminar learning how to read the handwriting of sixteenth and seventeenth century documents. The module culminates in visits to two archives in Norwich -- the Norfolk Record Office and the Norfolk Heritage Centre -- and your summative assessed work will take the form of a study of document(s) from these archives. The module is a requirement for those taking the 'Medieval and Early-Modern Textual Cultures' MA, but will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the most vitally important era of the transformation of the book.




Too often, academic critical writing seems to bring pre-packaged language to bear on works whose whole essence and aim is to change the ways in which we see and describe our world. And too often such writing fails to acknowledge the ways in which it itself necessarily participates in the literary 'creativity' it is also about. How, then, to write criticism? Criticism which responds inventively to the literature which it analyses? Criticism which registers, in its own form, language, method and thinking the ways in which it has been transformed by the work(s) of art it encounters? Criticism which recognizes that it cannot rest on received concepts and categories? This module aims to explore those questions. Over the course of the semester we'll read, ponder - and experiment with - a broad range of possible ways of practising creative-criticism, including the 'essay' form, auto-commentary, conceptual writing, criticism as performance, inventive 'theoretical' writing, and diaristic writing.




This module tracks the notion of 'Critique' in philosophical and political thought, as well as literary criticism and artworks' own self-reflection, from the late 18th century to the present. 'Critique', from the Greek term krinein ('to discern'), brings together questions of philosophical method, from the relation between concept and intuition to the project of understanding a historical moment through its cultural artefacts and practices; however, it also engages the 'criticality' of artworks: how they reflect on their own processes and socio-economic conditions. But if these various intellectual projects converge around a shared sense that they are doing 'critique', then it is not clear that political critique and aesthetic critique aspire towards the same thing; the concept of critique thus also permits us to grasp discrepancies and points of dissensus between different forms of intellectual, and 'critical', praxis. The module starts by providing a historical grounding in debates around 'Critical Philosophy', linking Immanuel Kant's 'critical' distinction of concept and intuition to German Romanticism's model of a 'literary absolute' in which literature actualises itself as 'critique', such that through its ironic relation to its own linguistic medium, it assumes the place of philosophy itself. We consider Hegel's responses both to Kant's critical philosophy and to the literary theorising of the Schlegels and Novalis, with readings from the Phenomenology of Spirit, the Logic and the Aesthetics, before turning to the development of Hegelian thought in Marx. Having established this basic historical narrative, we then trace the different intellectual projects and problematics that the notion of 'critique' opens up, from the 'critical theory' of the Frankfurt school through thinkers including Althusser, Fanon, Foucault, Braidotti, and Ranciere. Against this we encounter an alternative series of responses to 'critical' philosophy, notably via Heidegger, Deleuze, and Simone Weil. At the crux of these different approaches to 'critique' is the relation between different philosophical, political and literary intellectual movements, and central to this module is the question of how 'critique' extends beyond scholarly activity, whether it is the ways in which avant-garde art and poetics incorporate self-critique into their understanding of support, medium, process, etc., or whether it is in practices of political resistance. To this end, the module is overtly forward-looking, not only charting a contested history from Kant to the present, but also asking what forms future attempts at critique can, and should, take.




This MA module is compulsory for students taking the poetry strand of the MA in Creative Writing. It is also offered as an optional unit for students taking other MA programmes. We often think of poetry as a descriptive art, representing our experience of the world. One of the most important things it describes, however, is the experience of language. This module will consider some of the ways in which poetic language has been described in philosophy and literary criticism, and some of the poems in which it has described itself. It offers a historical survey of some of the major texts in Western poetics, from Plato to the Language poets, to be read alongside a range of poetic treatises in verse. Students will be encouraged to contribute texts from their own reading for discussion. Short writing exercises will also be set in class, in preparation for the final 5,000-word coursework essay.




Throughout the medieval and Early-Modern periods Norwich was one of England's most important cities - probably second only to London - and East Anglia one of the country's culturally liveliest and richest areas. This module explores the literature of these periods in its material contexts (the region's prosperity and power may still be seen in its architecture and in the rich holdings of its libraries and museums) and asks whether there was a specifically East Anglian cultural tradition. The module explores East Anglia's rich dramatic traditions, its devotional literature and practices (in orthodox forms and in those that brush against the heterodox), and, insistently, the manner in which its literature participates in its broader social and cultural worlds. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA but may also appeal to those with an interest in the cultural traditions of Norwich and East Anglia or, more generally, in the literature of place.




Fiction 'After' Modernism: Re-reading the 20th Century responds to the current reassessment of critical narratives about twentieth century fiction by restoring significance to a critically awkward phase of twentieth-century writing. Focusing roughly on the years between 1930 and 1980, we examine what it meant for mid-century writers to work in the wake of modernism. By thinking about mid-century fiction in terms of its own historical and aesthetic awkwardness, we will challenge the formalist distinction between experimental and realist fiction that has dominated the most influential work on the mid-century novel, and which has also stamped many post-war writers as irretrievably minor. In a similar spirit, we will explore how writers worked in the 'between' of modernism and postmodernism. Rather than produce a cohesive narrative about the period, we will examine how our writers engage with, and disturb, their own literary, historical and critical inheritances. This module is an opportunity to participate in an emerging critical conversation that is carving out new directions in literary study. Working through the period with special attention to previously marginalized (and in some cases forgotten) writers, alongside a selection of critical and theoretical texts, we will examine the ways our writers accede to, challenge, and disrupt our critical understanding of fiction after modernism. By re-reading the 20th century, this module offers an opportunity to participate in - and indeed contribute to - a still emerging critical conversation that is redefining twentieth century literary studies. Recent critics have expressed an "invariable sense of disappointment" with the aesthetic failures of fiction written 'after' modernism: but it is precisely the fiction these critics have neglected to read critically that is leading other scholars to radically re-think the stories critics have told about the period. The critical re-evaluation of neglected writers is pushing twentieth century scholarship in new directions, and creating new debates and dialogue about how we read the twentieth century. In this module, we join the conversation.




A COMPULSORY MODULE FOR STUDENTS ON THE MA IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY WRITING. This core module will introduce students to Modern and Contemporary Writing. It does so through the idea of 'Living Modernism', highlighting the worldliness of modern writing and exploring modernism's continuities in contemporary culture. After an introductory session focusing on some recent critical attempts to assert modernism's continuing relevance, students will spend five weeks reading James Joyce's Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse alongside critical essays exploring the texture and the worldly contexts of these modernist experiments. The second half of the semester will consider the living legacy of worldly modernism. Starting with a consideration of the 1930s and 1940s as key decades in literary-historical accounts of the 'end' of modernism, we will consider Djuna Barnes' Nightwood and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four as different responses to the radical energies of modernist culture. This is partly a question of literary influence: Has modernism degenerated into a 'host of distinct private styles or mannerisms' as Fredric Jameson argued? And what is its significance for the critical theory of Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Giorgio Agamben and others? The other focus is on the persistent 'worldliness' of modern writing, as it continues to tarry with ideas of law and justice. With this in mind, we end the module by turning to Roberto Bolano's epic 2666, a contemporary novel with ambitions to compare with those of Joyce. The questions of whether, how and where modernism continues to live--which have elsewhere been posed as drily academic questions about where we draw the boundary lines between literary periods or movements--are taken here to have an urgent aesthetic, ethical and political significance for our contemporary moment. Authors explored will include James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, George Orwell, Jacques Derrida, Roberto Bolano, and Giorgio Agamben.




Play, or the ludic, is often listed as one of the main characteristics of postmodernist art, but what is meant by play is usually left no more clearly defined than what is meant by postmodernism. This course seeks to trace the evolution of leading postmodernist styles and themes, especially ludic ones, back to their origins in Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov. Using these enormously influential authors as a starting point, we will read a range of ludic authors, passing back and forth between languages, nations, and genres. Authors studied will include Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, Raymond Queneau, Thomas Pynchon, Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Angela Carter, Paul Muldoon, and John Ashbery. We will examine these authors in relation to one another, and to their major pre-postmodernist sources, such as Carroll, Rimbaud, Mallarme, and Dostoevsky. We will also be reading theorists of play such as Schiller, Huizinga, Derrida, and Bakhtin. Central to the module is the exploration of play as a response to literature, and a way of creating new literature out of old, through the play of parody, imitation, transposition, and translation. We will be studying these ancient modes of literary response and performing them ourselves: all students will be encouraged to try their hand at parodying and imitating the texts we are studying, though this is not compulsory. Final assessment can take the form of a 5000 word critical essay or of a combination of a creative piece and a critical essay, to make up 5000 words.




The new approaches to the studia humanitatis (the study of the humanities - art, literature, history, philosophy) pioneered by the self-styled humanists (umanisti) between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries are one of the most important and celebrated achievements of the Renaissance. They defined the terms by which humanists themselves most often distinguished their own work from the intellectual traditions of the medieval past and from the work of their (allegedly) more old-fashioned contemporaries. Humanism brought with it a new attitude to classical culture, to history, to the power and potential of literature, to the world and to our place within it, and yet it is characterised as much by rich continuities with older medieval traditions as it is by new departures. This module attends to these continuities as well as to the more well-known departures. It looks at the writings of the most influential Italian humanists (Petrarch, Boccaccio, Pico della Mirandola, Poliziano), at the medieval humanism of Chaucer and Henryson, and at the early-modern humanism of Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey, Gavin Douglas, and John Bellenden. Through close study of these authors' writings, the module probes the new intellectual and literary praxes of the medieval and early-modern periods: new and recurrent ways of approaching the past and of writing history, the differing imaginative and intellectual possibilities of anachronism and antiquarianism, shifts in practices of adaptation, translation and imitation and in the reception and transmission of ideas in manuscript and early print culture, and the tensions of 'Christian' and 'Civic' Humanism. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA but may also appeal to those with an interest in the classical reception or in practices of translation and adaptation.




This module aims to give students an introduction to the modern publishing industry and a practical survival guide to the different functions involved in the publication of a book. As well as learning about the structure and economics of the British book industry, the opportunities and challenges of digitalization, students will engage with the process whereby books are chosen for publication, review principles of text and jacket design, practise basic copyediting and proofreading skills and learn tips for running a marketing and publicity campaign, writing 'blurbs' and press releases. The course will also touch on copyright law, finance and distribution. Students from the module are invited to join the core team producing the annual MA Creative Writing anthologies.




PLEASE NOTE: ENROLMENT PRIORITY IS GIVEN TO MA PROSE FICTION STUDENTS. Short fiction is too often defined in terms of what it is not - namely, a novel. Whether stories, novellas or experimental short fiction, short fiction is an art form in its own right. While acknowledging that there are no 'rules' as to what makes a good short story, we will look at the expectations and technical challenges created by the form, and in so doing to sharpen our analytical and critical faculties. This is predominantly a practical, workshop-based course oriented at writing short fiction, although students will also be asked to form critical opinions and perspectives on published short stories, the technical aspects of writing in the form, and on themes and trends in short fiction.




Some of the most exciting and innovative fiction of the moment is in fact a hybrid form of fiction, borrowing subject matter and techniques from traditionally non-fiction modes such as memoir, criticism, journalism, reportage and life-writing. These novels depart from the usual concerns with character, realistic dialogue and plot to focus on voice, place, time, employing strategies of literary craft to be formally innovative. This course looks at original non-fiction and also at contemporary 'realist' novels which are pushing boundaries and gaining attention in the wider literary culture. We will study the forms, techniques and thematics of both non-fiction and fiction, with an aim to experimenting with and improving students' writing in both forms. Some writing in class and between classes will be required. The second half of the module will include workshopping student work-in-progress. This is a practice-based module taught by a novelist and non-fiction writer and aimed primarily at students on the creative writing strands but is also open to students studying for critical MAs.




This module sets out to understand why and how humanism -- the advocacy of the study of the humanities, the Greek and Roman classics -- gave birth to the astonishing outpouring of literature that we call the Renaissance. We will situate English Renaissance literature within the wider context of the humanist literature of France, the Netherlands, and Italy. Questions we consider include: how did the rediscovery of classical texts generate new possibilities for literary writers? How did humanists understand the nature of poetic creation? How did their advocacy of rhetoric create new ways for writers to engage with public life? And what happened when humanists turned philological methods upon the most sacred text of their culture: the bible? Authors studied include: Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus, Edmund Spenser, Joachim Du Bellay, Philip Sidney, Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Jean Bodin, Michel de Montaigne, and Ben Jonson. Foreign language texts are all read in translation. The module is compulsory for students on the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures MA, but might be of interest to anyone who wishes to gain an in-depth understanding of one of the most dazzling periods of European literary history.




This module explores innovative and experimental forms of place writing, from the critical and theoretical to literary and artistic. Among the critical and theoretical approaches that the course takes in will be such subjects as psychogeography, ecocriticism, critical heritage studies, deep mapping, animal studies, and literary activism. At the same time, it will consider a number of original works of literature from recent years, thinking carefully about the relationship between theory, method and form.




This module will provide students with critical and creative knowledge of modern crime/thriller fiction, and is designed to complement the Creative Writing MA programme, but is open to students across the MA. Crime/thriller fiction, the world's most popular literary genre, is particularly subject to ever evolving conventions, expectations, precedents and sub-genres. Understanding the presiding logistical and thematic issues is fundamental to both the creation of and critical response to crime/thriller fiction. The module will analyse the developments and characteristics of the modernisation of the genre, through a symptomatic approach to authors, from Dashiell Hammett to Denise Mina, from police procedurals to psychological thrillers. Issues of literary worth, escapism and social context, particularly will be examined. A prior interest in the genre is not necessary, while there will be much focus on the structural aspects of the novel. Creative work will also concentrate on how to craft a convincing plot, creating believable characters, building narrative drive and suspense, and generating voice. Students will be required to make presentations on particular authors from the set texts, and to produce original crime/thriller fiction. Assessment by creative writing, fiction up to 5000 words, and/or an accompanying critical essay.




This module is designed to complement the prose fiction workshop but is open to students on related programmes. It is intended to provide students with creative and critical knowledge in a single experiential burst, by exploring as they are relevant to writing fiction such topics as time, place, dramatic structure, character and concinnity. The unit also gives consideration to professional issues confronting novelists, from writer's block to editing, contracts and dealing with the media. The module presents the writer as both artist and supplier of intellectual property to a market, while examining that and other tensions critically. Reading, writing and analysis happen alongside each other. Fictional, critical and professional texts are examined, writing exercises illuminating the issue at hand are undertaken. Students are also expected to make presentations on topics of their choice. Assessment by creative writing coursework with a critical commentary.



Students must study the following modules for 180 credits:

Name Code Credits


The student will be assigned a supervisor for the duration of the year to offer sustained, detailed and constructive editorial feedback on the production of full-length work of Prose Fiction. In Semester 1 there will be four meetings of one hour's duration. The first meeting will be in Week 1 to discuss work written over the recess. Subsequent meetings will fall in Weeks 5, 8 and 12. For meetings 1 - 3 the student will submit 4-6,000 words of original fiction, which the supervisor will read and annotate in advance of the meeting. For the final meeting the student will submit a 3,500 word statement outlining the relationship of their writing to its historical and contemporary influences, both creative and critical. This will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. The aims / learning outcomes are as follows: Ability to frame a project and complete necessary preparation and research; ability to plot and develop one's own writing; ability to experiment in literary form and technique; ability to sustain a lengthy creative project; the development of close editorial skills and the ability to apply these in analysing one's own work; ability to manage time, prioritise workload, and meet deadlines; ability to revise and refine a piece of writing; ability to reflect critically and constructively on one's own practice in relation to its historical and contemporary influences; ability to present written work to a high professional standard; ability to communicate effectively; ability to take responsibility for one's own professional learning and development; ability to work in a self-directed and disciplined manner.




The student will be assigned a supervisor for the duration of the year to offer sustained, detailed and constructive editorial feedback on the production of full-length work of Prose Fiction. In Semester 2 there will be four meetings of one hour's duration. The first meeting will be in Week 1 to discuss work written over the recess. Subsequent meetings will fall in Weeks 5, 8 and 12. For meetings 1 - 3 the student will submit 4-6,000 words of original fiction, which the supervisor will read and annotate in advance of the meeting. For the final meeting they will submit a 3,500 word reflective self-commentary on the progress of their novel in terms of its formal or technical development. This will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. The aims / learning outcomes are as follows: Ability to frame a project and complete necessary preparation and research; ability to plot and develop one's own writing; ability to experiment in literary form and technique; ability to sustain a lengthy creative project; the development of close editorial skills and the ability to apply these in analysing one's own work; ability to manage time, prioritise workload, and meet deadlines; ability to revise and refine a piece of writing; ability to reflect critically and constructively on one's own practice in relation to its historical and contemporary influences; ability to present written work to a high professional standard; ability to communicate effectively; ability to take responsibility for one's own professional learning and development; ability to work in a self-directed and disciplined manner.




The student will be assigned a supervisor for the duration of the year to offer sustained, detailed and constructive editorial feedback on the production of full-length work of Prose Fiction. In the summer dissertation period there will be three meetings of one hour's duration. The first meeting will be in Week 1 to discuss work written over the recess. Subsequent meetings will fall in Weeks 4 and 6. For each meeting the student will submit 4-6,000 words of original fiction. The supervisor will read and annotate this work in advance of the meeting. The student will work independently over the summer to complete the work for submission in September. The aims / learning outcomes are as follows: Ability to frame a project and complete necessary preparation and research; ability to plot and develop one's own writing; ability to experiment in literary form and technique; ability to sustain a lengthy creative project; the development of close editorial skills and the ability to apply these in analysing one's own work; ability to manage time, prioritise workload, and meet deadlines; ability to revise and refine a piece of writing; ability to reflect critically and constructively on one's own practice in relation to its historical and contemporary influences; ability to present written work to a high professional standard; ability to communicate effectively; ability to take responsibility for one's own professional learning and development; ability to work in a self-directed and disciplined manner.




This module is about the teaching of creative writing in Higher Education settings. Through participation in theoretical seminars, observation of undergraduate creative writing classes, and the supervised delivery of creative writing instruction in such classes, students will acquire a body of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. This will be supported by the development of a portfolio of exercises, lesson plans, teaching observation notes, classroom notes and exercises in critical self-reflection.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • War of the Words

    The pen really is mightier than the sword. New research by UEA Professor Rachel Potter brings to light significant changes writers throughout the twentieth century have made to international legislation.

    Read it War of the Words
  • UEA Literary Festival

    The University of East Anglia's first literary festival took place in 1991 and over the last twenty five years we have welcomed a host of award-winning authors, journalists, illustrators, scientists, economists, broadcasters and more.

    Read it UEA Literary Festival
  • Unlocking The Past

    How can the study of dusty manuscripts lead to the creation of interactive digital mapping tools? How does digitising globally significant medieval and early modern letters lead to donning walking gear and creating heritage trails across Norfolk?

    Read it Unlocking The Past
  • Why children’s books that teach diversity are more important than ever

    Bedtime stories aren’t just lovely endings to the day or a way to induce sleep, they are also a safe way to experience and discuss all sorts of feelings and situations.

    Read it Why children’s books that teach diversity are more important than ever

    Your University questions, answered

    Read it #ASKUEA

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject UK BA (Hons) 2:1 or equivalent preferred but not essential.
  • Special Entry Requirements Admission by application, portfolio of writing, personal statement, and interview.

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in each section and 7.0 in writing)
  • PTE (Pearson): 68 (minimum 55 in each section and 68 in writing)

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


Promising candidates will be invited to one of our interview days, which are scheduled across the academic year. Typically a candidate will be interviewed by two members of the Creative Writing faculty and we aim to inform candidates of the outcome within five working days. Unsuccessful candidates are welcome to re-apply, though not within the same academic year. Successful candidates will either be offered a place for the forthcoming academic year or a place for the following academic year (if it is felt that they need more time to develop as a writer). Once the forthcoming year is ‘full’ candidates will be offered a place on our reserve list with the option of a place for the following academic year if a place does not become available. If you are living overseas, the interview may be undertaken by telephone or preferably by Skype at a mutually convenient time.

Please note that those candidates offered a place on the course will not be able to defer their offer to the next year if they are unable to take up the offer of a place, however they are welcome to reapply the next year.

Special Entry Requirements

Candidates will be expected to submit a portfolio of writing for assessment of between 3000 and 5000 words, which could be part of a novel in progress or a piece or pieces of short fiction.


The School's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact the Admissions Office directly for further information.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2018/19 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,550
  • International Students: £15,800

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards

There are a variety of scholarships and studentships available to postgraduate applicants in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. For further information relevant to the School of Literature and Creative Writing, please click here.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

You can apply online.

Please note that the closing date for receipt of complete applications (including all documentation and references) is 1 May 2018. However, the course may be full before the closing date and so candidates are advised to apply as early as possible.

Further Information

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515