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Your creative writing modules are taught by practising, published authors working at the highest professional level, and you will learn from our expert academics in supportive, small groups.

You will also have the opportunity to publish your work - and gain experience in editing and publishing - participating in The Canvas Magazine, our annual Creative Writing Anthology.

Teaching methods

We teach creative writing in a variety of ways. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops - our workshops are small-group sessions and are at the very heart of Reading's writing community.

Your writing will be examined closely by one of the creative writing team as well as by your fellow students.


Lectures will be 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.


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 will 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.


You will be assigned novel extracts, short stories, or poems to read beforehand, and your lecturer will draw examples from these to illustrate his or her advice.

These guided sessions will allow you and other students to gain confidence as you share your writing and help each other improve through practical writing exercises.

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.

  • Year 1: you will study Introduction to Creative Writing.
  • Year 2: the current options include Creative Non-Fiction and Long-Form Journalism, Poetry, The Short Story and Voice.
  • Year 3: you can take our two Creative Writing masterclass modules in Prose and Poetry. These advanced modules encourage you to read and discuss very recently published texts. You will identify and write about themes that are currently popular and fresh, and you will also be encouraged to pursue publication yourself.

You will also have the opportunity to write a creative writing dissertation - a long creative piece in a genre of your choice and a reflective essay.

The Creative Writing team

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.

Shelley Harris

Shelley Harris is the Director of the Creative Writing programme.

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 selected as a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice.

She is also the author of Vigilante.

Professor Peter Robinson

Creative writing at Reading was founded by Professor Peter Robinson. Peter was described in reviews as "the finest poet of his generation" and "a major English poet", and has been awarded the Cheltenham Prize and the John Florio Prize.

Leader of the Creativity research theme, Peter has also published a collection of stories and the novel September in the Rain.

Professor Conor Carville

Professor Conor Carville is a poet and critic.

In 2007 he won the Patrick Kavanagh poetry prize. His first collection of poems, Harm's Way, came out from Dedalus in 2013.

Professor Carville's second collection, English Martyrs, is published by Two Rivers Press.

He is currently at work on a novel.

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 The Canvas Magazine, our own Creative Arts Anthology, edited by our own students, containing work by students, staff and visiting writers.

Meet our experts

Our talented and internationally-diverse team are actively involved in research, contributing directly to your teaching and supervision.

Why study with us?

Learn from expert academics in small supportive groups in a department that has a century-long history of innovation in English studies.

Life in the Department

Join our friendly and committed community of writers and learn from lecturers, published authors and your fellow students.