English Literature and Creative Writing

English Literature and Creative Writing

Our Creative Writing and English Literature programmes cover contemporary and historical literature from Romantic poetry and Victorian novels to children’s literature, performance poetry, science fiction, and page-to-screen adaptations. Our students learn about literature and other art-forms, national and international culture and politics, and the relationship between literature, publishing and technology, philosophy and religion, and environment and place.

Over the course of their degree students take modules including Poetic Form and Genre, Theatre and Performance, Publishing and the Book, Writing and Editing Fiction and Nonfiction, Genre Fiction, Victorians to Moderns, Why Literature Matters and The Writer's Craft. Students also specialise in a final year dissertation.

In a dedicated year-long module on the publishing industry we invite celebrated writers and guest speakers from major publishing institutions to help students understand the process of taking a manuscript from author to printed book and beyond into prize structures, rights fairs and literary festivals. Our aim is for students to graduate with a confident sense of how the publishing industry works and a clear idea of where in the industry they might want to work.

Central to everything we do is a love of literature and a thorough and wide-ranging critical and practical discussion of what it means to be a reader and writer today, in the UK and elsewhere in the world. Seminars and workshops are tutor-led opportunities where students learn to present their creative and critical work, to offer and receive feedback, and develop creative, intellectual and technical skills. Workshops and seminar discussions form an essential part of developing creative practice. Degree study in our areas typically consists of lectures and discussion seminars, mixed with student presentations and opportunities to work on critical or creative assignments and projects.

Our modules focus not only on individual creative practice and critical skills but on a lively intellectual engagement with literary history, theory and contemporary production. Students learn to place their creative output in context and actively engage with wider debates about publishing and the place of literature in today’s world.

We also help students develop the technical aspects of writing - editing, grammar, punctuation - in a shame-free environment, enabling them to write fluently and confidently in a variety of genres, including creative nonfiction, and to deepen their understanding of different cultural and literary forms.

Over the course of the year students visit London’s many thriving cultural venues, such as Tate Britain and Tate Modern, The Globe Theatre, the Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, and Poetry Unplugged at the Poetry Cafe.

The Anthology project

Creative Writing and English Literature moved into the School of Art, Architecture and Design in 2016/17, and we began collaborating with the tutors and students on the Design, Illustration and Publishing degrees. It was an inspiring process to see the critical and creative work of our students emerge in a shared project like the Anthology book. The design students’ brilliant creative responses gave our students’ writing a beautiful new form. We collaborate on producing a book of design and writing students’ work for the School's annual summer show.