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The Course

This course will help and encourage you to bring a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction as near to publishable quality as possible. Bath Spa University has an excellent record of helping students to achieve publication of novels, poetry, short stories and literary non-fiction. In 2012 we marked our success with the appointment of ten new Professors: Naomi Alderman, David Almond, Aminatta Forna, Maggie Gee, Tessa Hadley, Philip Hensher, Nicholas Jose, Kate Pullinger, and Fay Weldon. These professors are specialists in novel writing, poetry, short stories, literary non-fiction, children's writing and digital writing. They have joined an already distinguished team, and will be teaching on this programme and others.


Following Nathan Filer's success at winning the Costa Prize, the latest news is that no fewer than five of our graduates are on the longlist for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award 2014.Congratulations to Lucy Cruickshanks, Nathan Filer, Bea Hitchman, Anthea Nicholson and Jack Wolf.

 The 12 books were selected from a record number of more than 60 submissions by a panel of Club members after intense and wide-ranging debate.

  • The Trader of Saigon by Lucy Cruickshanks (Heron)
  • The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (Hodder)
  • The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (HarperCollins)
  • The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland (HarperCollins)
  • Vauxhall by Gabriel Gbadamosi (Telegram)
  • Hunters in the Snow by Daisy Hildyard (Cape)
  • Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman (Serpent’s Tail)
  • The Fields by Kevin Maher (Little, Brown)
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Galley Beggar)
  • The Banner of the Passing Clouds by Anthea Nicholson (Granta)
  • The Rice Paper Diaries by Francesca Rhydderch (Seren)
  • The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf (Chatto)

Read the Chair of Judges Suzi Feay’s blog:

And two of our poetry graduates are on the Milita Hume shortlist. Congratulations to Daisy Behagg and Tom Weir.

What better place is there than Bath Spa for nurturing new writers?

Teaching Staff

Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman attended Oxford University and UEA. Her novels are Disobedience, The Lessons, and The Liar’s Gospel, as well as a Doctor Who tie-in novel, Borrowed Time. They have been published in ten languages and serialized on BBC radio's Book at Bedtime. She has won the Orange Award for New Writers, has been named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, one of Waterstones' 25 Writers for the Future, and has been shortlisted for BBC National Short Story Award.
 From 2004 to 2007 Naomi was lead writer on groundbreaking alternate reality game Perplex City. She's written online games for Penguin, the BBC, and other clients. In 2012, she co-created the top-selling fitness game and audio adventure Zombies, Run! which was shortlisted for five Develop Awards, won the Bookseller's Adult's App of the Year and has sold more than half a million copies.
Naomi broadcasts regularly, has guest-presented Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and writes regularly for Prospect and the Guardian. In 2013 she was named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in their once-a-decade list.

David Almond

David Almond is the author of Skellig, My Name is Mina, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, Clay, The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas, Mouse Bird Snake Wolf and many other novels, stories and plays. Three books will be published in 2014: a novel for adults, The Tightrope Walkers; a novel for young adults, A Song for Ella Grey; and a collection of short stories, Half a Creature from the Sea. His work is translated into over 40 languages, and has been widely adapted for stage and screen. His many awards include The Carnegie Medal, The Eleanor Farjeon Award, and The Hans Christian Andersen Award 2010, the world's most prestigious prize for children's authors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Distinguished Writing Fellow at Newcastle University and Guest Artistic Director of The Bath Festival of Children's Literature.

Celia Brayfield

Celia Brayfield has written nine novels including contemporary social comedies, historical fiction and international genre bestsellers. Her work in progress is set during the last years of Mary Queen of Scots while her most recently published novel, Wild Weekend, reimagined the eighteenth century comedy She Stoops to Conquer for New Labour's England. Her latest non-fiction title is Writing Historical Fiction written with co-author Duncan Sprott and including guest contributions from Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Orhan Pamuk and over twenty other leading writers. As a writing tutor, Celia has given Guardian Masterclasses, workshops for the Bloomsbury Institute and courses at the Arvon and Ty Newydd centres. She founded W4 Writers, a writing community based in West London. As a journalist, she has contributed to The Times and London's Evening Standard, and was the guest editor of the winter 2013 edition of Mslexia. She welcomes research proposals in historical fiction, feminist fiction and genre fiction.

Lucy Christopher

Lucy Christopher is the author of young adult novels Stolen, Flyaway and The Killing Woods. She is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing. Stolen was written as the creative part of her PhD in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Lucy now works as a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, teaching on the undergraduate programme and the MA in Writing for Young People. She has won the Branford Boase Prize, the Gold Inky Prize, a Printz Honor Award, and an International Reading Association Award (USA). She has also been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards (Australia), Costa Prize, and the Waterstones Prize as well as being longlisted for the Carnegie Medal (UK). Lucy is also working on the screen adaptation of Stolen.

Lucy English

Lucy English was born in Shri Lanka and grew up in London. She has a BA in English and American Literature from the university of East Anglia and an MA in creative writing from Bath Spa university.
 Her novels are Selfish People, Children of Light, and Our Dancing Days. As a performance poet, she has been guest poet at the International Festival of Poetry in Austin, Texas and the Cuirt International Poetry Festival in Galway. She has organized conferences on performance poetry and on transmedia writing at BSUC, has been artistic director and participant in major poetry tours, including Temptation (2005), Exposed (2006), Flash (2011) and Count Me In (2013-4) and major British Council sponsored tours to Hungary, Sri Lanka, India, Canada, Thailand and Taiwan. 2009 A full length feature on Lucy's work has been broadcast on Australian radio ABC poetry programme 'Poetica'. Her collected poems Prayer to Imperfection was published by Burning Eye in 2014.

Carrie Etter

Carrie Etter is the author of three full collections of poetry: The Tethers (Seren, 2009), winner of the London New Poetry Award, Divining for Starters (Shearsman, 2011), and Imagined Sons (Seren, 2014). She has published poetry in The New Republic, The New Statesman, New Writing 14 (Granta, 2006), PN Review, Stand, TLS, Poetry Review, and many other UK and US journals. She has also edited an anthology, Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets, and has published essays on W.B. Yeats, Sherman Alexie, and Peter Reading. In 2010 Etter began reviewing contemporary poetry for The Guardian. Her reviews have also appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, New Welsh Review, PN Review, Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, and Verse.

Paul Evans

Paul Evans is leader of the MA Travel & Nature Writing. He is a freelance nature writer and radio broadcaster, a contributor of Country Diaries for The Guardian since 1992, feature articles for The Guardian and for magazines such as BBC Wildlife, Geographical , The National Trust Magazine, Natural World and Country Living. He is a regular writer and presenter of Radio 4 programmes including natural history documentaries and feature programmes based on creative landscape writing. His radio drama-documentaries for BBC Radio 4 include Owls, also performed on stage by Auricular, The Ditch, which won the BBC Audio and Music Awards Drama Award, The Shining Guest and Chapel of Skins. His writing appears in anthologies such as Nature Tales (2009), On Nature (2010), The Living Edge (2011) and several Guardian collections. His work in ecopoetics includes narrative poems for the Wenlock Poetry Festival and performances with the New York Writers and Artists Underground. He has been leading community-based workshops which connect people with local landscapes through creative writing for several years. His book Herbaceous is published by Little Toller Books in May 2014 and Fieldnotes from the Edge is published by Rider Books in 2015. He is currently working on a documentary radio poem for the BBC, scripting and presenting a film on burial grounds and ideas for an anthology on woods. He lives with his family in Much Wenlock, Shropshire. Twitter: @DrPaulEvans1, also @Crossing Wild Pages.

Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna’s books include the novels Ancestor Stones,
The Memory of Love and a memoir, The Devil that Danced on the Water. She has won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award, the Windham Campbell Award, the Literaturpreis, the Hurston Wright Legacy Award, the Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize and has been short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction, the IMPAC Award, the Warwick Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize, the BBC National Short Story Award and the European Prize for Fiction 2013. Her essays and articles have appeared in Granta, The Times, The Observer and Vogue. She has written for television and radio, including "The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu" (BBC Television, 2009). A regular commentator on British arts programmes she has guest presented BBC Radio's "Open Book" and "Saturday Review."

Aminatta is a Fellow and Council member of the Royal Society of Literature and sits on the Board of the National Theatre of Great Britain, the General Committee of the Royal Literary Fund and the Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She is also a member of the Folio Academy. She has acted as judge for a number of literary awards and was most recently a judge for the 2013 International Man Booker Prize. Aminatta has held the position of Sterling Brown Visiting Professor at Williams College, Massachusetts twice, in 2011 and 2013.

Maggie Gee

Maggie Gee’s novels include The Ice People, My Cleaner, My Driver, The White Family, and the forthcoming Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, a collection of short stories, The Blue, and a memoir of her life as a writer, My Animal Life. They have been translated into 14 languages. In 2012 she was awarded an OBE for services to literature. She was one of the original Granta 20 Best of Young British Novelists, has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the International Impac award and judged many prizes including the Booker and the Wellcome. An international conference about her writing was held at St Andrew's University in August 2012. An associated collection of essays on her work is forthcoming from Gylphi. The first book-length study of her work, Mine Özyurt Kiliç’s Maggie Gee: Writing the Condition of England Novel, was published in 2012 by Bloomsbury Academic. Maggie was the first female Chair of Council of the Royal Society of Literature, 2004-2008, and is now a Vice-President, and has sat on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors and the Public Lending Right Committee. She is currently on the advisory board of Wasafiri magazine and the advisory committee for the British Library's 'Authors' Lives', and is one of Femrite Uganda's five 'Honorary Members'.

Julia Green

Julia Green’s novels for teenagers and young adults are 'Blue Moon', 'Baby Blue', 'Hunter's Heart', 'Breathing Under Water', 'Drawing with Light', 'Bringing the Summer' and 'This Northern Sky'. Her novels for younger children include 'Tilly's Moonlight Fox', 'Sylvie and Star' and 'Seal Island' ( 2014). She has written for the education market, including retellings of myths ( Sephy's Story, Beowulf the Brave)and original stories (Taking Flight; Over the Edge; Don't Forget, Lara). Julia has written many short stories for children, published in anthologies. She leads many creative writing workshops, talks and other projects for schools and festivals. She is the Course Director of the specialist MA in Writing for Young People, which since 2004 has secured publication deals for 25 graduates, many of whom have gone on to have highly successful careers as authors for children, teenagers and young adults.

Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley’s novels include Accidents in the Home, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom The London Train, and Clever Girl. She has been long- or shortlisted for the Guardian First Book, the Encore Award, the Orange Prize (twice), and the Welsh Book of the Year award. Her stories are published regularly in The New Yorker, in Granta and the Guardian. They are collected in Sunstroke and other stories, and Married Love. These were short- or longlisted for the US Story Award and the Frank O'Connor prize. Her non-fiction includes

 Henry James and the Imagination of Pleasure, and she reviews regularly for the London Review of Books and the Guardian.
She has been a judge for the IMPAC literary prize, and for the BBC Short Story Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.

Samantha Harvey

Samantha Harvey’s two novels are The Wilderness and All Is Song. 
She has won the Betty Trask Prize and the AMI Literature Award, and been long- or shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the Orange Prize and Guardian First Book Award. She held a Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony in 2010 and is a member of the Academy for the Folio Prize.

Philip Hensher

Philip Hensher is the author of nine novels, including Kitchen Venom, The Mulberry Empire, The Northern Clemency, King of the Badgers, Scenes from Early Life and The Emperor Waltz. His novels have won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Ondaatje Prize; they have been short- or longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Fiction Prize, the Green Carnation Award, Stonewall Writer of the Year and the W.H.Smith Prize. His opera libretto for Thomas Ades, Powder Her Face, has been performed more than 200 times worldwide, including at ENO and Covent Garden, and has been broadcast on Channel 4. He is also the author of The Missing Ink, a study of handwriting. He has been awarded German Travel Writer of the Year, Stonewall Journalist of the Year and repeatedly named, since 2000, as one of the UK’s 100 most influential LGBT people by the Independent on Sunday’s Pink List. He is the Spectator’s chief book reviewer and the Mail on Sunday’s art critic, as well as contributing regularly to many UK and foreign newspapers. He has judged many literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Guardian Prize, the Whitbread Prize and many others. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a former Council member. Former students of his have won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize with their published fiction.

Nicholas Jose

Nicholas Jose’s thirteen books include the novels Paper Nautilus, Avenue of Eternal Peace, The Custodians and Original Face and two short story collections. His non-fiction includes a volume of essays, Chinese Whispers, the memoir Black Sheep and an academic monograph, Ideas of the Restoration in English Literature.
He has taught in China and served as Cultural Counsellor in the Australian Embassy Beijing. He is general editor of the Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature (also published as The Literature of Australia) and has been president of International PEN Sydney. He has been Visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University and is currently Adjunct Professor with the Writing and Society Research Centre at the University of Western Sydney, Professor of English and Creative Writing in the School of Humanities at The University of Adelaide, as well as Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

Richard Kerridge

Richard Kerridge is Course Director of the MA in Creative Writing. 
He is a nature writer and expert on environmental literature. Cold Blood, a work of nature writing and personal memoir, will be published by Chatto & Windus in May 2014, and will be a Radio 4 Book of the Week in the week beginning July 28th. His nature writing has also been published in Granta Online, Poetry Review and BBC Wildlife. He received the Roger Deakin Award for Nature Writing from the Society of Authors in 2014, and has twice won the BBC Wildlife Award for Nature Writing. His critical work includes ecocritical essays on Hardy, Shakespeare and a wide range of recent fiction, poetry and nature writing. He is co-author of Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne, the first critical book on the work of that poet, and he was one of a team of authors that produced The Face of the Earth: Natural Landscapes, Science and Culture

Tim Liardet

Tim Liardet is Co-Chair of the Bath Spa University Research Centre for Contemporary Writing. His nine collections of poetry include Competing With the Piano Tuner, To The God of Rain, The Blood Choir, Priest Skear, and The Storm House. His books have been a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, Pamphlet Choice and Recommendation, long-listed for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and have won an Arts Council England Writers Award and many other awards. He has reviewed poetry for The Independent, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, Poetry Review and PN Review, and has been Poet-in-Residence at The Guardian. His poetry has been translated into Farsi, Macedonian and German. His next full collection is due from Carcanet in Spring 2015; his New and Selected Poems from the same publisher in Spring 2016.

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is a writer based in Cardiff. His first play Natural Selection won the Kings Cross New Writing Award and premiered at the Munich State Theatre. Commissions for the stage include First Person Shooter for Birmingham Rep and Island Hopping for Belarus Free Theatre’s ‘Eurepica’ at the Almeida. His last play Fear of Drowning was a runner-up in the inaugural Wales Drama Award. Paul trained on the BBC TV Writers Academy and wrote the modern fable of a communist football team Red Star Newport for Radio 4. He is currently writing a feature film based on the diaries of Llanelli RFC’s legendary tour to Moscow to play in the 1957 World Youth Games. He has recently received a Creative Wales Award to research scriptwriting for interactive performance and media.

Steve May

Steve May is Dean of School of Humanities. He has written over 40 radio dramas, and has won awards for drama, poetry and fiction. His books include Doing Creative Writing. He has been judge for the Sony and Imison Radio Awards, and the Ravenglass Poetry Competition. He has acted as external validator for creative writing programmes at BCUC, NEWI, UCC, the University of Hertfordshire, Southampton Solent University, Brunel University, the University of Central England, and Middlesex University. He was chair of the National Association of Writers in Education HE Committee 2010-13. He is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and is a member of the QAA benchmarking review panel for English.

Robin Mukherjee

Robin Mukherjee has contributed over many years to television, film, radio and theatre. His three part television drama, Combat Kids, was nominated for a BAFTA in 2011. His most recent film, LORE, was critically acclaimed worldwide, was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Australian Academy Awards, and won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Australian Writers Guild Awards, among many others. It was Australia's official submission for the Oscars. He is currently adapting Paul Scott's novel Staying On, with development funding from the BFI. His book, The Art of Screenwriting is due for release in May.

Kate Pullinger

Kate Pullinger writes novels, short stories, and digital fiction. Her most recent novel, Landing Gear, comes out in 2014. LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER, created with novelist and theatre-maker Neil Bartlett, commissioned by 14-18 NOW, is open for participation online from the end of April 2014, Other works include the libretto for the opera Dorian Gray, performed by the Slovakian National Opera in 2013, the novel The Mistress of Nothing, which won Canada's Governor General's Award for Fiction in 2009, and the digital works Inanimate Alice,, and Flight Paths, 
At Bath Spa she leads the cross-disciplinary Digital Research Cluster. Find her at

Bambo Soyinka

Bambo Soyinka is an award-winning director and multiplatform storyteller. She is Head of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her most recent theatrical works and research investigations include: Dial 419 for Love (writer and director, National Theatre Wales); Branches: the Nature of Crisis (Emerging Director, National Theatre Wales); The Walking Trust (co-investigator, Wales Lab/Jerwood); Book Kernel (lead creative partner, React/AHRC); Translating Tales of the Trickster (principle investigator, AHRC); and Silent Revival (lead artist, Wales Arts International/British Council). Bambo has a MA in Digital Media from Sussex University and a PhD in Virtual Futures from Cardiff University.

Mimi Thebo

Mimi Thebo's books for adults and young people include The Corner Booth Chronicles, 
Welcome to Eudora, 
Drawing Together, Get Real, 
Hit the Road, Jack, 
Wipe Out and The Saint Who Loved Me. Her work has been translated into seven languages, adapted for a BAFTA-award winning film for BBC Education and nominated for Lancashire Libraries Book of the Year.

Steve Voake

Steve Voake’s novels for young people include The Dreamwalker’s Child, The Web of Fire, The Starlight Conspiracy, Blood Hunters, Fightback and the Daisy Dawson series for younger children. His books have won Southampton’s Favourite Book Award, the Bolton Book Award, and the English Association’s Best Children’s Illustrated Book Prize. His work has been translated into many different languages. Steve teaches on the MA in Writing for Young People.

Fay Weldon

Fay Weldon’s books include The Fat Woman’s Joke, Female Friends, Weekend, Puffball, The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, The Cloning of Joanna May, Kehua, and many other very successful novels. She has written screenplays and television dramas, including the first episode of Upstairs, Downstairs and the 1980 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, as well as the book for a West End musical. She has been a jury member on the Berlin Film Festival and chaired the 1983 Booker Prize panel.

Gerard Woodward

Gerard Woodward is a novelist, poet and short story writer. His fiction includes Nourishment, Caravan Thieves, A Curious Earth, Vanishing, I'll Go To Bed At Noon, and August. His poetry is collected as The Seacunny, We Were Pedestrians, Island To Island, After The Deafening, and Householder. He has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, The Whitbread First Novel Award and the T.S.Eliot Prize (twice). He has won the Somerset Maugham Award. Two of his poetry books have been Poetry Book Society Choices and one a Special Commendation. He has won Arts Council Writers Awards as both poet and novelist. He is a regular reviewer for the TLS, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


The MA in Creative Writing team raises a toast to Nathan Filer, whose novel The Shock of the Fall has won the Costa Book of the Year Award for 2014, one of Britain's foremost literary prizes.

Nathan took the MA in 2009-10, and now teaches Creative writing at BSU. The novel, which also won the Costa First Book Award, draws on Nathan's experiences as a mental health nurse, comedian and performance-poet. It tells a story of grief, breakdown and life in a psychiatric ward that is terrifying, funny, compassionate and sharply revealing. The Shock of the Fall was developed from the manuscript Nathan wrote for the MA. His tutor for that manuscript, the novelist Tricia Wastvedt, says that Nathan, as a student, was "wonderful, funny, and brilliant at looking at his novel from many different angles, including some that would be very unfamiliar to most readers. He was good at finding ways to bridge that gap, and also at understanding when not to bridge it." Comedian Jo Brand, also a former nurse, has described The Shock of the Fall as one of the best books she knows about mental illness.

We are delighted for Nathan. All his former teachers are applauding wildly.

Why study Creative Writing?

Working with tutors and with other writers on the course, you will have the space to develop your writing and build up a substantial body of work. Weekly workshops are taught by a strong team of published writers, and there are regular visits by literary agents, publishers, magazine editors and broadcasters, as well as other writers. Due to the reputation of the MA in Creative Writing, we are able to recruit excellent students who form an exciting and mutually supportive community of writers every year.

Course structure

The course is modular and is currently offered for full-time study only.

The MA in Creative Writing is concerned with imaginative writing, which includes novels, short stories, poetry and non-fiction. The emphasis is upon encouragement, to help you to find and pursue a direction in your writing, and to understand the process of offering a manuscript for publication.

Because of the reputation of the MA in Creative Writing, we are able to recruit excellent students who, every year, form an exciting and mutually supportive community of writers. Frequent visits by other writers, literary agents, publishers, broadcasters and other professionals connected with writing ensure that students are given plentiful advice about how to place work and make decisions about their careers as writers.

The course is not for the writer whose only interest is in their own work, but rather for the writer who can benefit from working closely with fellow students and with tutors, many of whom are practising and published writers. It is implicit in the course philosophy that critical reading aids the development of writers. Workshops, in which you look constructively at each other's writing, and context modules, to study the ways in which writers meet certain challenges, are integral parts of the course.


The full MA programme consists of two writing workshops, two context modules and the Manuscript (a double module):

Workshop One

You can either start with a general writing workshop in which you experiment with a range of forms, or a specialist workshop in prose fiction or poetry.

Workshop Two

This is a specialist workshop in prose fiction or poetry.

Context Modules

These modules examine genres and look at ways in which writers meet challenges from the public world.  At least five of the following are offered each term:

  • Writing and the Environmental Crisis
  • Suspense Fiction
  • Contemporary American Writing
  • The Writer and Place
  • Modernism and Postmodernism
  • Writing and Gender
  • The Short Story
  • Writing and Politics
  • Reviewing and Journalism
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • The Love Story

The Manuscript

For this module each student brings a manuscript as near to publishable quality as possible. You are assigned a specialist tutor.

Course assessment

Assessment is by coursework only. Each writing workshop is assessed on the basis of a folder of creative writing and an early draft of part of the Manuscript. Each context module is assessed on the basis of an essay and a folder of creative responses. The Manuscript is 35,000–40,000 words (or the equivalent for poetry and scriptwriting).

This course will help you to bring a novel, book of poems, book of short stories or work of non-fiction as near to publishable quality as possible. Over the past 20 years the course has established itself over as one of the most successful in the UK.

Teaching methods

The course is taught by means of workshops, seminars, one-to-one tutorials, guest presentations and a residential weekend.

Each week, students take one three-hour seminar for the Workshop and one for the Context Module. The Manuscript is completed between June and September. Students meet tutors regularly during this period. A residential writing weekend is an essential part of the course.

Workshop modules meet in groups of no more than eight students. Students bring work regularly for in-depth discussion to help identify strengths and weaknesses in a supportive environment. In Context Modules, the seminar is divided between discussing the set texts and workshopping the students' creative responses. Set texts are examined from the viewpoint of the practising writer looking for new techniques and models to imitate or avoid. The third term is devoted to one-to-one tutorials looking closely at the developing manuscript.


 Tutors include prestigious, best selling and award winning writers, such as Gerard Woodward (novelist and poet); Tim Liardet (poet); Tessa Hadley (novelist); Carrie Etter (poet); Samantha Harvey (novelist); Steve May (radio dramatist, playwright and novelist); Richard Kerridge (nature writer); Paul Evans (nature writer); Lucy English (novelist and poet); Mimi Thebo (novelist); Jonathan Neale (novelist, dramatist and non-fiction writer); Tricia Wastvedt (novelist); Celia Brayfield (novelist); Jenni Mills (novelist); Greta Stoddart (poet). In addition you will have the opportunity to meet a wide range of writers, publishers and literary agents.

Visiting Writers

Readings and seminars conducted by writers are built into the programme. Visiting writers have included Moniza Alvi, John Burnside, Helen Dunmore, Roy Fisher, Peter Flannery, Nick Hornby, Emyr Humphreys, Kathleen Jamie, Mimi Khalvati, Toby Litt, Tony Lopez, Benjamin Markovits, Les A. Murray, Ashley Pharoah, D.B.C. Pierre, Jem Poster, Philip Pullman, Fiona Sampson, Michael Schmidt, Matthew Sweeney and Fay Weldon. There will also be visits from publishers, literary agents and broadcasters. Every year there are opportunities to show work to agents and editors who visit.

In an Institutional Audit the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education commented that:

In the case of the MA Creative Writing, the QAA believed that the curriculum content and design, and the development of the programme over time, represented leading-edge practice in the field.

Application method

Application forms are available online and should be completed and returned to us either electronically or through the post. If you have any queries please contact the admissions department:

Telephone: (01225) 875624.

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact course leader, Richard Kerridge:

Telephone: (01225) 875573.

Entry requirements

Admission to the course is based on a portfolio of creative writing, and our estimate of the student's commitment and potential as a writer and ability to benefit from the course. Most students have an undergraduate degree, but this is not essential if you can demonstrate your ability in the portfolio.

The portfolio should consist of one or more short pieces of creative writing submitted with the application form, such as two chapters of a novel, two short stories, six poems, or the equivalent.

More information

Career opportunities

In recent years, several current or former students have been awarded excellent contracts for novels; Two were long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, three for the Orange Prize, one for the Costa Prize and one for the Guardian First Book Award. One received the Betty Trask Prize; another the Manchester Book Award; another a W.H. Smith New Talent Award. One reached the best-seller lists. Student poets have had their poetry accepted for publication in numerous literary journals, including Ambit, Magma, London Magazine, Poetry Wales, PN Review and The Reader, among others, and have been placed in such competitions as the Bridport, the Frogmore, Mslexia, and Writers Inc. Janklow and Nesbit Ltd, a leading literary agency, awards an annual prize for the best novel or novel in progress by a student on the course.

What students say...

Nikita Lalwani, MA Creative Writing

Being at Bath Spa was something invaluable and indefinable for me. I was worried that going on a creative writing course might be a bit like being in a slightly sick, 'show us your underwear' form of group therapy. I was very wrong. Instead I was thrust into the company of some of the most interesting writers around - the current spread of tutors in the department - who have managed to create a space where ideas really are exchanged rather than reduced to templates. I wrote more than half of my novel there and am indebted for the way in which being on the course made writing the centre of my life.

Nikita's debut novel, Gifted, was included in the longlist for the 2007 Man Booker Prize, the shortlist of the Costa first novel award, and won the 2008 Desmond Elliott prize for sparkling new fiction. Nikita's novel was conceived on the MA course, and a first draft was her manuscript submission.