pile of books

Reading to get you thinking for our Creative Writing MA

Whether you’re an applicant, or thinking of applying, why not whet your appetite with some of the course reading?

Please don’t buy or read all of these but challenge yourself and enjoy your reading.  If you always read prose, read some poetry or scripts. If you always watch feature films, watch some shorts or listen to radio plays. If you lean towards crime, read some historical fiction – whatever it takes to push yourself!

In the Practice of Storytelling module, we consider narrative in the broadest sense. So if you want to read in advance, have fun exploring as many different narratives as you can. According to some critics, anything that tells a story is a narrative. So we’ll be looking at novels, short stories, graphic novels, art, poetry, exhibitions and curating, tv and film, music video, drama and anything else you can think of that we can define as narrative.

  • Abbott, H. P. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative
  • Barry, P. ‘Narratology’ in: Beginning Theory
  • Earnshaw, S. The Handbook of Creative Writing 2nd edition
  • Eisner, W, Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative
  • McQuillan, M. The Narrative Reader
  • Turkle, S, Evocative Objects: Things We Think With

In the Practising Rhetoric module you are encouraged to assess and analyse a wide variety of genres and modes of writing, and to practice your own writing in critical, creative or professional outputs through placing language use and affect as central to writing and speaking practice.

  • Jennifer Richards, Rhetoric
  • Listen to Melvyn Bragg on ‘Rhetoric’
  • Sam Leith, You Talkin’ to Me?
  • Audre Lorde, The Master’s Tools will never Dismantle the Master’s House
  • Bell Hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
  • Thomas More, Utopia
  • Jonathon Swift, A Modest Proposal
  • Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam
  • NourbeSe Philip, Zong!
  • Richard Powers, The Overstory
  • Elizabeth Jane Burnett, Of Sea
  • Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (ed. Michelle Barrett)
  • James Baldwin, selected letters
  • Aphra Behn, Oroonoko
  • Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando

The Prose fiction module introduces you to thematic concepts in advanced prose writing. We’ll look at how to structure a piece of short- or long-form work, focusing on aspects such as voice, place and setting, endings, story shape, dialogue, point of view and dialogue. We’ll work with reading journals to give you the chance to reflect on how your own reading informs your creative practice, and there is the chance to workshop and get feedback on your work-in-progress.

  • Atwood, M. E. (2002) Negotiating with the dead: a writer on writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gebbie, V. (ed.) (2013b) Short circuit: a guide to the art of the short story. Second edition. Cromer: Salt.
  • Gilbert, E. (2016) Big magic: creative living beyond fear. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Highsmith, P. (2016) Plotting and writing suspense fiction. London: Sphere.
  • King, S. (2001) On writing: a memoir of the craft. London: New English Library.
  • Lamott, A. (1995) Bird by bird: some instructions on writing and life. 1st Anchor Books ed. New York: Anchor Books.
  • Singleton, J. and Luckhurst, M. (2000) The creative writing handbook: techniques for new writers. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
  • Thomas, S. (2012b) Monkeys with typewriters: how to write fiction and unlock the secret power of stories. Edinburgh: Canongate.
  • VanderMeer, J. (2013) Wonderbook: an illustrated guide to creating imaginative fiction. New York: Abrams Image.
  • Wood, J. (2008) How fiction works. London: Jonathan Cape.
  • Yorke, J. (2013) Into the woods: a five-act journey into story. London: Penguin Books.

The Process of Publishing module considers how the publishing industry is currently responding rapidly to current challenges and consequent changes of behaviour

  • The number 1 industry magazine is The Bookseller
  • The New Yorker
  • The Paris Review
  • Granta
  • The Stinging Fly
  • The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
  • Blake, Carol, From Pitch to Publication

The Theory and Practice module encourages you to learn the effects of a variety of approaches to poetic devices, techniques and structures.

  • Goldberg, Natalie, Writing Down the Bones (Shambhala, 1986 and 2005).
  • McCullough, John,Panic Response (Penned in the Margins, 2022).

Find out about our Creative Writing MA.







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