Course studied: MA Writing for Young People
Graduating year: 2019
“There is no better environment to learn the craft of writing.”
MA Writing for Young People graduate Lucy Hope's debut novel Fledgling was picked up by award-winning children’s publisher Nosy Crow just months after Lucy found her agent following the release of the course’s annual anthology.
My journey to publication
I didn’t get into writing the usual way. In fact, I spent most of my adult life denying the fact that I wanted to write.
My first degree was in Business Studies, followed by several years in the commercial world. I always felt I was heading in the wrong direction. I did seek out opportunities to write over the years – from writing user guides for answering machines in the 1990s to writing letters to newspaper and magazine editors – but I never dared to take my writing seriously.
About three years ago I was inspired to write a children’s book. I whacked it out without too much thought and with great optimism sent it out to agents. When it wasn’t picked up, I realised I didn’t have a clue what I was doing wrong.
"I started reading blog posts and books on the art of writing for children. Wherever I turned, I kept hearing about the MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa."
Why I chose the MA Writing for Young People
Everything I’d read about the MA suggested it was the best course in the world to learn to be a children’s author. I particularly liked the fact that it was such a practical course, with the emphasis on writing and completing a book during the year.
"I was also drawn to the fact that the MA has close links with the publishing industry, and that the tutors are successful children’s authors."
Despite my initial excitement about the idea of spending a full year learning to write for children, I thought I couldn’t possibly afford to stop working for a year or even raise enough money for the fees.
Then I discovered that it was possible to take out a student loan for postgraduate study. I applied, and was offered a place!
At the end of the MA, my cohort produced an anthology of the first chapters of the manuscripts written on the course, as they do every year. This was sent out to UK literary agents.
"The production of the anthology is probably one of the MA's greatest assets as this is what allows graduates to showcase their work. Literary agents are genuinely excited to read the anthology."
I received emails from several agents asking to read my full manuscript. By the end of that week, my dream agent, Joanna Moult at Skylark Literary, had offered me representation.
Shortly afterwards, my manuscript went out on submission to publishers. Six weeks later, award-winning independent publisher Nosy Crow offered to publish my book. I’m now working with my editor at Nosy Crow to make sure Fledgling is ready for publication at the end of the year.
Why I recommend the course
It’s taught at Corsham Court, a beautiful gothic mansion that exudes creative energy. The tutors are talented, kind people who will support you to be the best writer you can be. In addition to helping students become better writers, the course offers a publishing module. If you happen to be coming to the University from somewhere else in the world, Bath is pretty special too.
"I didn’t know a soul in the world of writing and publishing before starting the MA, but in my tutorials, I found friends for life. I couldn’t imagine life without them now. They are my writing tribe."
My advice for current students
Work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life, make friends with your fellow students and relish every moment. It will pass more quickly than you can imagine.
I’m most proud of…
I’m proud that I was brave enough to do the MA – a decision that has literally changed my life. I’m also proud to have written a book that was considered good enough for publication.
Lucy’s middle-grade fantasy debut, Fledgling, is set for publication in November 2021.