English literature and creative writing are a perfect combination at degree level. English literature introduces you to important, exciting, diverse writers from across the centuries and the globe. Creative writing allows you to explore literary creativity from the inside: creating characters, shaping poems, and drawing on your imagination.
There are two ways to explore creative writing at Reading. You can enrol directly onto one of our creative writing joint degree programmes, such as:
- BA English Literature with Creative Writing
- BA Creative Writing and Film
- BA Creative Writing and Theatre
- BA Creative Writing and Film & Theatre
- BA Art and Creative Writing
Creative writing modules are compulsory as part of these programmes.
Alternatively, single honours English Literature students who take a Creative Writing module in the first year can switch to the joint honours English Literature with Creative Writing degree at the end of that same year.
Creative writing modules
On your creative writing modules, you will be introduced to all the major forms, including fiction, drama, poetry and creative-non-fiction.
At Part 1, you may choose to study Introduction to creative writing and Persuasive writing.
Current Part 2 options in creative writing include Creative Non-Fiction and Long-Form Journalism, Poetry, The Short Story and Voice.
At Part 3 you can take our two creative writing masterclass modules in Prose and Poetry. These are advanced modules where you will read and discuss very recently published texts, identify and write about the themes that are currently popular and fresh, and be encouraged to pursue publication yourself as part of the module assessment. You'll also have the opportunity to write a creative writing dissertation - a long creative piece in a genre of your choice and a reflective essay.
How you'll learn
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. We are committed to teaching through the workshop model. These small group sessions are the heart of Reading's writing community: guided by one of our lecturers, you and your fellow students will gain confidence as you share your writing and help each other improve through practical writing exercises.
You will also have the opportunity to publish your work - and gain experience in editing and publishing - by participating in our annual Creative Writing Anthology.
THE CREATIVE WRITING TEAM
Our 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.
The Director of the Creative Writing Programme is Shelley Harris.
Shelley 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.
Find out more about studying Creative Writing with Shelley Harris:
Kate Clanchy MBE has recently won the UK's most prestigious award for political writing. 'Some Kids I Taught And What They Taught Me' was named the winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing Book on Thursday (9 July).
Clanchy said: "I'm so moved and so grateful to receive this prize. For this to win the prize for political writing as art means so much to me, and I hope it will mean a lot to many teachers out there."
In 2018, she received an MBE for services to poetry.
Kate 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.
Find out more about studying Creative Writing with Kate Clanchy:
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."
A WRITING COMMUNITY
We 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.
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.
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. 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.