We know it's not easy funding your studies, and we work hard to provide opportunities for you to apply for additional financial support.Find out more
Creative Writing and Publishing
Bursaries are available from £500. Find out more about funding opportunities
This programme is for you if you are already a committed writer looking to complete the first draft of a novel. You are keen to further develop your writing and research skills and learn about the publishing process and the role of the professional author in today's publishing environment. Learn from professional authors (see tutor profiles below for published work) with extensive creative writing teaching experience and visiting industry professionals. Workshops include experimental collaboration with artists working in other disciplines at West Dean. Intensive study blocks foster an immersive atelier-style experience within the College's School of Creative Arts and allows for self-determination in independent practice.
Benefit from the unique setting and history of the College. The house, its archive and extensive grounds offer opportunities to explore site-specific works, while historic connections to literary and publishing experimentation provide a stimulating environment for study.
What to expect
"I was looking into different universities/ colleges in order to do a Masters in Creative Writing and in the end chose West Dean's because I was impressed with the amount of attention and guidance the students got from their tutors, as well as the environment and freedom for creativity. I am also very pleased with the attentiveness of the course and how it has helped me grow as a writer." Nadia Ioannou, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, Second Year. Read more
"There's something about the sense of place here, notwithstanding all the amazing people and objects within... The history, the variety of things going on, the people you meet, all firing the imagination. It’s thought provoking, a place where as a writer you can’t help but become minutely observational. You’re drawn into the “West Dean Immersive Experience.” Not just creative writing, but part of a broad and very skilled artistic community...Another “big thing” about the Creative Writing & Publishing MA programme, is its focus upon publishing what we write, crafting something people will want to read, will appreciate and enjoy.” Jim Green, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, Second Year.
"I love it. I have almost completed the first draft of a novel which is something I never thought I’d be able to say. The teaching is first class and very supportive." Emma Matovu, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, First Year.
You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and supervised practicals. In addition, you have personal tutorials with your subject tutor.
On the MA Creative Writing & Publishing you typically have around 17-18 contact hours per study block, typically consisting of:
When not attending lectures, seminars and workshop or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
10% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity
Scheduled teaching and learning: 171 hours
Independent learning: 1629 hours
Story Making is the anthology produced by our 2020 MA Creative Writing & Publishing graduates. The publication is a collaborative project featuring work created by students during their studies on the two year programme. The anthology was produced in collaboration with Subject Leader Mark Radcliffe, with the guidance and support of époque press.⠀
|Year 1 / Semester 1 (18 weeks)|
|Christmas vacation||Mid-year review|
Authorial Practice: Critical analysis
|Year 1 / Semester 2 (18 weeks)|
Authorial Practice 2: Critical analysis
|Year 2 / Semester 1 (18 weeks)|
|Christmas vacation||Mid-year review|
Professional Publishing Practice
|Year 2 / Semester 2 (18 weeks)|
Professional Publishing Practice
Applicants should have a good honours degree in English or a compatible subject and be able to demonstrate a commitment to writing.
Candidates with a relevant portfolio and alternative accredited learning are also invited to apply.
English language: CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) Level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above.
Course fees are the same for UK and international students
Lunch (typically 2 courses) for part time MA Creative Writing students: £57 per term (£170 per year), accommodation and other living expenses are additional. Find out more
If you are a UK student and plan to take a postgraduate Master's course you may be able to get a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 to help with course fees and living costs. See www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan
Student scholarships and bursaries
Bursaries are available from £500.
As part of the College's Artist-in-Residence programme, Creative Writing and Publishing students have access to a series of professional writers living and working onsite, amongst students. They offer tutorial sessions with students as well as public presentations on the work produced during the residency and their wider practice.
Recent Writers-in-Residence included Rutendo Chabikwa and Anni Domingo, to coincide with their work being published in Myraid Edition’s New Daughters Of Africa, Elizabeth Haynes, William Shaw and Allie Rogers.
Applicants should have a good honours degree in English or a compatible subject and be able to demonstrate a commitment to writing. We can consider applicants who don’t meet academic entry requirements, through our Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) process. In this case applicants would demonstrate their suitability for the course through a portfolio of work showing their creative writing ability and alternative prior learning, gained through experience.
This course isn’t designed to prepare you for a career in publishing. What we do is offer an overview of the publishing process and what the author might experience from submission to publication.
We’d like to see around 3000 words of writing, containing some form of prose fiction.
This is a part time course comprising of 12 three-day study blocks spread over the two years. Typically, each study block takes around 17-18 teaching hours including lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals. When not attending lectures, much of your time is spent immersed in independent learning through self-study.
Commendations from the University of Sussex include:
"The demonstrable passion among the course team for the pedagogy of creative writing."
"The emphasis on writing as a craft, comparable to other subject disciplines in the College."
"The introduction of writers into the ‘Artists in Residence’ scheme to support the course and provide external feedback to students."
"I expected to learn about writing, but I also learnt about who I am as a writer. West Dean prepared us for life as writers."Nicki Herring, MA Creative Writing Student
Immerse yourself in the enriched learning environment of the College, with exposure to artists in other disciplines, access to 800+ short courses and use of the on-site Art and Conservation Library with thousands of specialist books, journals and databases.
The College's unique setting within the award-winning West Dean Gardens offers new avenues of inspiration for your work; the historic walls, surrealist trees and changing colours of the seasons all have a story to uncover and inspire.
Mark Radcliffe is the author of two novels; Gabriel's Angel (2010) which was longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize, and Stranger Than Kindness (2013). He has a PhD in Creative Writing and Philosophy (University of Sussex) and an MA in Creative Writing (UEA).
Mick Jackson's first novel, The Underground Man, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and won the Royal Society of Authors' First Novel Award. He has published four novels, two collections of stories and an e-book, all with Faber and Faber.
Lesley Thomson's second novel A Kind of Vanishing was escribed by Ian Rankin as a treasure ‘and Lesley Thomson is a class above.’. The novel won The People's Book Prize in 2010. The Detective's Daughter became Amazon UK's longest running #1 in 2013. Lesley has an MA in English from the University of Sussex.
Domenica de Rosa is the author of sixteen published novels, twelve of them written under the name Elly Griffiths. As Elly Griffiths, she is best known for the highly successful Ruth Galloway crime novels. In 2016, she won the Crime Writer's Association Dagger in Library Award for her body of work.
Laura has published six novels for adults (two under a pseudonym) and numerous short stories. Her contemporary fiction is published by Headline Accent. These novels are Crossing the Line, Skin Deep, Redemption Song and The Family Line. Crossing the Line was a Welsh Books Council book of the month and her latest, Skin Deep, has been widely praised, including a longlisting for Not the Booker Prize. Over the past nine years, she has also worked as an editor and mentor, coaching writers to competition shortlistings and publication. Laura loves to help writers find their voice and create compelling fiction.
If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.