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Creative writing – University of Reading

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  • "Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart." Salman Rushdie.

Creative writing

gasometersHere at Reading, we offer creative writing as a pathway within our single honours English degree, rather than as a separate degree programme. This gives you choice and flexibility: you can decide whether you'd like to pursue options in creative writing after you've enrolled on our single honours degree programme. Everyone on our creative writing pathway studies creative writing alongside critical modules in English Literature.

Our "Introduction to Creative Writing" module in the first year gives you the opportunity to experiment with writing in a wide range of forms and genres. Some people come to this module with lots of writing experience; for others, it's the first time they have ever produced their own written work. Our expert teaching staff will give you the opportunity to develop both as a critical reader and a highly skilled writer.

If you enjoy creative writing in your first year, you can pursue the creative writing pathway into your second and third years. This involves selecting creative writing modules based on your own areas of interest. In your final year, you will complete a creative writing dissertation with one-to-one guidance from a member of the creative writing teaching team. When you complete the pathway, you graduate with a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing.


ell-peter-robinson-homepageOur creative writing modules are taught by practising, published authors working at the highest professional level.

Creative Writing at Reading was founded by Professor Peter Robinson, described in reviews as 'the finest poet of his generation' and 'a major English poet', winner of the Cheltenham Prize and John Florio Prize. Leader of the Creativity Research Theme, he has also published Foreigners, Drunks and Babies, a collection of stories, and the novel September in the Rain.







TConor Carvillehe Director of the Creative Writing Pathway is Associate Professor Conor Carville, winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award for his poetry.








KKateClanchy1ate Clanchy MBE has published three prize-winning collections of poetry, and her short stories have won the BBC Short Story Prize and V.S. Pritchett Prize. Author of the novel Meeting the English and Antigona and Me, the memoir of her Kosovan neighbour honoured with the Writers Guild Award for Best Book, she has also had eleven plays produced on BBC Radio. Most recently, she edited England: Poems from a School - an anthology written by children at Oxford Spires Academy, where she is writer in residence. She was awarded an MBE for services to literature in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2018.







SShelley_Harrishelley Harris is a bestselling novelist whose first book, Jubilee, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. It was featured on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime and as a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice. She is also the author of Vigilante.

Our multi-talented, award-winning team 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.

The Head of the School of Literature and Languages, Professor Gail Marshall, said: "We are delighted to have Kate and Shelley join the creative writing team. Not only do they both have fascinating writing profiles - they also have impressive track records as teachers."



Open BooksWe work hard to foster a friendly, cohesive and committed community of writers in the Department of English Literature. As well as learning from your lecturers you will also learn from each other through sharing work in progress. The University creative writing group, Scribblers, run by and for students from across the university, provides a forum for sharing work and ideas outside the classroom.

All of our teaching staff have strong links with professional communities of writers. We regularly invite published authors to come and read from their work. We also help our students to become published writers themselves. Every year we publish our own Creative Arts Anthology, edited by our own students, containing work by students, staff and visiting writers.


We teach creative writing in a variety of ways. You will attend lectures given by our team and by visiting writers. These lectures will concentrate on specific, practical issues: 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. 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.

Write your story at Reading

Request a prospectus to find out more about our degree courses and the creative path.

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