BA English Literature with Creative Writing
Explore literature from all angles with our BA English Literature with Creative Writing course.
English literature and creative writing are a perfect combination at degree level:
- In your literature modules, you will be introduced to important, exciting, diverse writers from across the centuries and the globe.
- In creative writing, you will explore literary creativity from the inside: creating characters, shaping poems, and drawing on your imagination.
The two sides of the degree complement and challenge each other. The great writers from the past and present who you study will inspire and influence your writing. Meanwhile, creating your own work will help you understand technique and form in ways that will sharpen your analysis of literary texts.
You will learn from active, prize-winning authors from our Department of English Literature. These academics have years of experience with the nuts-and bolts of writing, and they will closely read and advise you on your work. We are ranked 11th for Creative Writing in the Complete University Guide 2023.
Our academics have also published research on everything from medieval poetry to contemporary Caribbean and American fiction, and they will help you to develop your own literary enthusiasms.
On your English literature modules, you will examine well-known authors and genres, such as tragedy and gothic literature, Shakespeare and Plath. You’ll also be introduced to aspects of literary studies that may be less familiar to you, such as:
- children’s literature
- publishing studies
- the history of the book
During your first year, you will develop the advanced skills in literary analysis necessary for undergraduate work. For example, you will:
- explore the different ways that literary texts respond to their cultural context.
- trace the development of English-language poetry over time and across the globe.
- examine how literary texts accrue new meanings in the process of interpretation.
In your second year, you can choose modules that range from Renaissance lyric poetry to contemporary fiction.
In your third year, your module choices are more diverse and specialised. For example, you can do archive work or look at the politics of literature.
On your creative writing modules, you will be introduced to all the major forms, including:
In your second year you can specialise in the areas you feel most excited by. In your third year, you’ll participate in our masterclasses. These are advanced modules in your chosen literary form, 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 can also write at a greater length by choosing to do a creative writing dissertation.
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 your share your writing and help each other improve.
You will also have the opportunity to publish your work – and gain experience in editing and publishing – by participating in our online creative magazine.
Find out more about our creative writing studies, including information about our academics, on our Department’s creative writing webpage.
Your learning environment
We place a strong emphasis on small-group learning within a friendly and supportive environment.
In your first and second years, you will attend a mix of larger-scale lectures as well as seminars of no more than 14 people. In your third year, all of your studies will take place in seminars taught by research-active experts.
Our team of poets, fiction and non-fiction writers provide detailed and thorough feedback on your written work within 15 working days. This is crucial to your development as a writer, whether you intend a career in creative or professional writing.
Learn more about what to expect during your studies on our Department’s How you’ll learn webpage.
For more information, please visit the Department of English Literature website.
Throughout your degree you will be thinking about the career choices that will enable you to thrive after graduation. We will help you develop the skills and experience you need to launch that career.
Our innovative placement scheme gives you the chance to undertake an academic placement in commerce, industry or the arts. You can also take a placement module on languages and literature in heritage, in education, and in the media.
Students on our Communications at Work module also undertake a short placement to explore the ways in which the skills and knowledge gained in their studies have direct application to the workplace.
In your second year, you can spend a term studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and USA.
You can also choose to do your degree over four years, and spend your third year studying abroad.