BA (Hons) Creative Writing

Key information

Why choose this course?

  • Be taught by award-winning poets, fiction and non-fiction writers
  • Develop your talent in a supportive and encouraging environment
  • Explore genres from popular fiction and soaps to literary texts

Do you have a passion for writing? Spend your time writing stories instead of doing your homework? No need to choose anymore. With this course, writing stories is your homework. You’ll be taught by leading poets, fiction, and non-fiction writers. All our lecturers are active writers in their field. Some are even internationally published authors. This means you’ll be learning from writers who have excellent industry connections and have the latest knowledge when it comes to trends, styles, and publishing guides. In short, they have everything you need to become a published author yourself.  

Here are some of your lecturers: 

  • Poetry lecturer Dr Wayne Holloway-Smith, winner of the Poetry Society’s Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and Seamus Heaney Prize nominee. 
  • Fiction and Non-Fiction writer, Dr Lorna Gibb, author of five books, winner of the Granta Memoir prize and shortlisted for the Sperber Biography prize in the US. 
  • Dramatists Simon Vinnicombe and Drew Pautz, with writing credits that include the whole range of scriptwriting, from work in current production as feature films to EastEnders to the Old Vic and Royal Court. They have international reputations with performances, in original and translated versions, in Canada, Europe and the United States. 
  • Fiction and non-fiction writer, Helen Gordon, a former editor at the renowned, world-famous publisher Granta, with two acclaimed books and numerous short publications. 

Find out more about the programme tutors in the UH Arts showcase series Family Is.

What's the course about?

Creative Writing is more than just writing stories. It’s about learning how to engage your readers, how to capture their attention. It’s about how to communicate with others; to help them see the world through your eyes, while still giving them space to use their own views. You can use these skills in many fields and career paths, including marketing, education and even business.  

You’ll learn about different genres, cultures, and eras when it comes to writing. You can join competitions in poetry, prose, fiction, drama, and short stories. You’ll learn the theory that underpins what writing is about. You’ll then put into practice what you learnt. You’ll be given writing tasks; read each other’s stories and comment on the stories you have read for that week. As homework you’ll write stories, poetry, and prose, which you’ll then discuss in a friendly class environment with your course mates.  

In your first year, your modules will focus on giving you a solid understanding of what it means to be a writer and what genres are out there. You’ll study writing for the screen, learn to interpret stories and delve into contemporary as well as traditional writing. 

 In your second year, you’ll learn more about the art of writing to an audience. You’ll also look at writing for the stage, literature, and poetry. You’ll choose two optional modules that suit your interests, for example how to make a historical documentary or 20th century literature. Our students can choose a work experience module, Literature at Work, which explores English in the classroom and aspects of the literary heritage industry. The module is centred around a six-week work placement where you’ll gain valuable transferable skills. Our students have worked as school classroom assistants, in publishing houses or attractions such as London’s Charles Dickens Museum and Dr Johnson’s House.

Study abroad/work placement option: In between your second and third year, you can take an optional study abroad or work placement year. During this year you have the chance to study at one of our partner universities in a different country or spend a year in industry gaining valuable experience. If you prefer, you can go straight to your third year without this ‘extra’ year in between. The choice is all yours.  

In your third year, most modules are optional. That means you can choose the ones you like the most and really tailor your degree to what you want to do in life. You’ll delve deeper into the thin line between reality and fiction and examine the ethical questions this raises. You will take a compulsory module on writing for popular fiction markets, to increase your employability. Lastly, if you are studying BA (Hons) Creative Writing, you will work on a final year writing project in the genre of your own choosing, with one to one tutor support throughout. You will have produced something to be proud of that you can take with you when you leave university.  

If you'd like more information, contact Lorna Gibb.

Your main campus is de Havilland

You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, sport, education, and humanities subjects. The student housing is close to our Sports Village which includes a gym, swimming pool and climbing wall. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner in our on-campus restaurant or bar (in the newly built Enterprise Hub) on days you don’t feel like cooking. You can also use the common room to play pool, video games or just to hang out with friends.  Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.  

What will I study?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.    

Alumni headshot

Alumni Stories

Eleanor Pilcher

Meet Eleanor Pilcher who since graduating in 2016 has taken the publishing industry by storm. Eleanor currently works as a Marketing Manager at Avon, HarperCollins Publisher.

Read more stories Find out more about this course
Current job roleMarketing Manager
Year of graduation2016
Course of studyBA (Hons) History and Creative Writing
Ellie Pilcher

University experience and employability

Eleanor is a keen writer with great creative ambitions. During her degree she undertook a six-month internship at a literary agency in her final academic year. In 2016, shortly after her studies, Eleanor landed a placement at Penguin before getting a job in publishing recruitment. After developing her skills within the industry and amassing and impressive amount of knowledge and experience, Eleanor began her current role at HarperCollins Publishers.

Eleanor's degree encompassed a broad spectrum of critical, analytical and evaluative skills and helped shape her as a writer. Throughout her studies she had been writing a novel, which she submitted to literary agencies after being encouraged by her tutor to do so. It was Eleanor's passion for writing that uncovered her interest in working for a literary agency. Due to the fantastic lecturers on her course and the invaluable industry networks available to students, Eleanor managed to secure impressive opportunities in her chosen industry that have informed her career.

Sher recognises the impact the University has had on getting her to where she is today. 'For me the advice and feedback I received on both my History essays and Creative Writing finals was incredibly useful to my academic and professional development. I learnt to take criticism and to harness it and also write more because of it.'

Ambitions for the future

Eleanor has established herself in her chosen industry yet still has ambition to continue pursuing new goals. On her hopes for the future, she says: 'I hope to run a marketing department within a publishing company, possibly the one I'm at now. I hope to publish a novel and continue my freelance writing and public speaking on the side.'