Why did you choose MA Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham?

Having grown up in Birmingham, I’d always been aware of the University’s excellent reputation and so it was an obvious choice for me when I decided to pursue a Masters. It was important for me to find an MA that had a reputable and proven way of teaching Creative Writing, and this is something I could see mirrored in the modules offered and their accompanying reading lists. I also looked into recent publications by the department, both creative and academic to determine whether research for my dissertation could be supported. I really admired the work of Dr Isabel Galleymore and her approach to teaching ecopoetics, and this was something I was able to explore later when working with her as my supervisor. As well as this, I really valued how staff described their own ways of teaching the arts as a craft to be finetuned, and this for me was the deciding factor, I realised I wouldn’t be getting the same approach anywhere else.

What has been the highlight of your course?

The modules offered throughout the MA have been exceptional in helping me identify and progress my writerly stance and the genres I engage with. My favourite module would have to be ‘Intertextuality: Story, Genre and Craft’, which helped develop the writing style I entered the MA with, whilst also allowing me to explore different modes of storytelling. Throughout my time on the course, I have really loved hearing from guest speakers from within the publishing industry such as, editors, agents and publishers to gain a better understanding on how to progress my work for publication. As well as this, the dissertation has truly been such a fulfilling and positive experience that has challenged my poetry allowing me to refine my work to form a more succinct and explorative final project.

What have you learnt from your programme?

Being taught industry standards of editing as both a writer and a reader of my peers’ work has been one of the most important skillsets I have gained since starting this MA. The weekly workshops which are a key part of the programme have given me the ability to address wider issues concerning my work in theoretical contexts. This in-depth preparation and research is a key skill that I know I will continue to develop after this MA and has now become a significant part of my writing process. There have also been many opportunities to progress my career as a writer through public readings, allowing me to gain the skills and knowledge needed to perform and showcase my publications in the future.

What is life like as a student at the University of Birmingham?

As a full-time student, this course has allowed me to maintain both my academic and personal commitments. The structure of the course means I have been able to balance a part time job, alongside classes and getting involved in several societies such as, Redbrick (the University paper) and Yoga society. I’ve spent most of my time here on The Green Heart, which is surrounded by the Main Library, several coffee shops, open study spaces and of course, the Arts Building, making it so easy to meet up with friends before and after class.

What have you enjoyed most about living and studying in Birmingham?

The city is home to so many great museums, gardens and monthly art events, some of which are even located on campus and are free to University students. The culture and heritage that is showcased throughout the city has influenced my creative projects greatly, and it is always so great to attend all the literature festivals and poetry open mics that Birmingham has to offer. All of these provide a much-needed break in between studying.

How has your course and your time studying at Birmingham prepared you for your future career?

I began this course with limited knowledge on how the publishing process works and have since learnt how to pitch my work, identify whom I should be pitching too and how to effectively work alongside publishing professionals throughout the process. This programme has ensured that I can leave with the tools necessary to successfully complete and publish future projects.