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Creative Writing at Reading – University of Reading

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Creative Writing at Reading

Selection of English Literature student anthologies


Creative Writing at Reading

Everyone has the potential to be creative, all of us have an imagination, we tell stories and use language in inventive and surprising ways every day. This is the raw material: language, imagination and experience. The task of the writer is to turn this raw material into something else, something shaped and polished. Our Creative Writing pathway will show you how to do that.

The Creative Writing Team

Our modules are taught by practising, published authors writing at the highest professional level. This team includes established poets, novelists and creative non-fiction writers who will give you first-hand insights into the creative process, read and comment extensively on your work and guide you towards your area of particular strength. Kate Bassett is an acclaimed biographer, journalist and critic, Conor Carville is a prize-winning poet and our current Director of Creative Writing. Professor Patrick Flanery's award-winning novels have been translated into 11 languages and Professor Peter Robinson is one of the foremost poets in the UK.

A Writing Community

We work hard to foster a friendly, cohesive and committed community of practice. As well as learning from us you will also learn from each other through sharing work in progress. This will happen in workshops (see below) but ideally you will also form informal networks of your own during your time with us. In many cases these will continue to exist even after you have left the university. There will also be many other opportunities to hear, discuss and share new writing. We regularly invite professional writers to come and read from their work and we host a poetry festival that attracts some of the most significant poets currently publishing. Every year we publish our Creative Arts Anthology, edited by our own students, containing work by students, staff and visiting writers. The University creative writing group, Scribblers, run by and for students from across the university, is also very active.

How it All Works

We teach creative writing in a variety of ways. You will attend lectures given by our team and by visiting writers. Such lectures will concentrate on one specific practical issue: how to construct a character, for example, or at a more advanced level the challenges of writing historical fiction. You will be assigned novels, short stories or poems to read beforehand, and the lecturer will draw examples from these to illustrate his or her advice. Such lectures are followed by seminars where one of the team will lead a small group in discussion and set short practical writing exercises. These lectures and seminars prepare you for workshops where your writing will be examined closely by one of the creative writing team as well as by your fellow students.

The Pathway Structure


In your first year you will take Introduction to Creative Writing, a two-term module designed to allow you to experiment with poetry, drama and prose in order to ascertain your area of strength.

Over the next two years you will specialise in the form or forms you find particularly appealing. Writing and Revising is a workshop-only module that is highly effective in reinforcing and extending the lessons learned in your first year. Writing, Genre and the Market encourages you to think about the specific audience you are trying to reach and includes an emphasis on the relationship between writing and research. In your final year there will be further opportunity to specialise as well as to do a lengthy Creative Writing Dissertation.

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