Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London - UCAS

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Course summary

Have you got a story to tell? Or poems that you want to shape into a collection? This Masters degree will help you develop your creative writing practice. You’ll experiment with a wide variety of forms to help you discover your preferred mode of writing. Why study MA Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths

  • You may be writing regularly; you may be returning to it after concentrating on your career. Whatever your background, if you're serious about your writing, we can help you to develop your practice.
  • Our students bring with them a lively range of interests, cultures and experiences. We welcome students of any age who share the drive to take their writing seriously.
  • You’ll have the chance to experiment with different forms – poetry, the novel, short story and life writing - as well as to specialise in one of those areas - and you will receive expert guidance in each field.
  • Some seminars will be taken by visiting writers who will talk about their work, introduce you to different theories of creative writing and engage you in discussion about their writing. Recent visitors have included Ali Smith, Caryl Phillips, Claire Keegan and Daljit Nagra.
  • We host weekly readings and discussions organised by our Writers Centre, together with occasional visits from editors, literary agents and organisers of literary projects.
  • The Pat Kavanagh Prize is presented annually to an outstanding graduate from the programme. The £500 prize, created in memory of the much-admired literary agent, is awarded by a team of her colleagues at United Agents. This has been the catalyst for publication by several previous winners.
Student success Since an MA creative writing course was established at Goldsmiths, later followed by a PhD programme and the introduction of creative writing at undergraduate level, over 100 of our students have gone on to bring out books with mainstream publishers. Notable successes include:
  • Bernardine Evaristo was joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.
  • MA graduates, Ross Raisin and Evie Wyld, were named on Granta’s list of ‘best of young British novelists’.
  • Sophie Collins, Jack Underwood, Emily Berry, Richard Scott, Malika Booker, Anthony Joseph, Abigail Parry, Nick Makoha, Charlotte Shevchenko Knight, Rachel Long and Rachael Allen are among the prize-winning poets who have come through Goldsmiths.
  • In 2018, the Royal Society of Literature elected 40 new fellows under the age of 40 – in effect selecting the leading young British writers today. Six – Ross Raisin, Evie Wyld, Lucy Caldwell, Sophie Collins, Amy Sackville, and Emily Berry – are Goldsmiths alumni. No other university creative writing programme comes close to matching that.
  • Since 2016, ten of our creative writing graduates have won the Eric Gregory award for poets under thirty: Sam Buchan-Watts, Alex MacDonald, Rachael Allen. Ali Lewis. Sophie Collins, Phoebe Stuckes, Susannah Dickey. Amina Jama, Kandace Siobhan-Walker, and Daniella Fearon.
  • Other awards include the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Betty Trask Prize, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, the T S Eliot Prize and the George Devine Award, as well as wins and shortlisting for the Costa Prize (in the poetry, novel and short story categories), the Encore prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Orange Award for New Writers, the Dublin International IMPAC Prize, The Miles Franklin Award, the Ruth Rendell Award, The Young People’s Laureate for London, the Michael Marks Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the TS Eliot Prize, the Bridport short story award, the Guardian short story award for BAME writers, and the Forward Prize for Poetry.


Compulsory modules You will take three compulsory modules over the course of the programme. You will also participate in twelve one-on-one tutorials throughout the year. Workshop in Creative and Life Writing 60 credits Contemporary Contexts for Creative and Life Writing 30 credits Creative and Life Writing Portfolio 60 credits Options You also choose one option module. Full-time students take the module in the second term, while part-time students take it in the second term of their second year. You can choose from a specialist workshop in fiction, poetry, or life writing, or an option module from the list of MA options offered by the Department of English and Creative Writing including topics such as European Avant-Garde, Postmodernist Fiction, or Re-writing Sexualities. Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Fiction Option) 30 credits Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Life Writing Option) 30 credits Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Poetry) 30 credits Specialist Workshop in an Aspect of Creative and Life Writing (Writing for Children/Young Adults Option) 30 credits Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Assessment method

Assessment is by the submission of four pieces of writing of 5,000 words each – either an essay, or, for workshops, a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing – plus a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. You will also be assessed on a portfolio (maximum of 20,000 words) containing a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing together with a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. In all cases, the number of words applies to prose.

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree, or equivalent, of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject. You might also be considered if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level. We consider applications from candidates without literary backgrounds. In this case, we would focus on the applicant's relevant experience, the quality of their portfolio and evidence of wider reading. Applicants from a non-literary background often bolster their CV with short creative writing courses, to demonstrate written skills and the ability to work in a team. You must also submit a portfolio of your creative or life writing with your application. Your portfolio should include two or three short stories, 20-30 poems or several extracts from a novel. If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and no element lower than 6.5 to study this programme.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

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Additional fee information

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Creative and Life Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London - UCAS