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Creative Writing BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time See course combinations for joint honours UCAS codes 2015
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2015

See the Unistats data for this course

Why choose this course?

This joint honours course enables you to explore a wide variety of different kinds of writing – from the classic to the contemporary – while discovering and developing the writer within you. You will gain a thorough insight into the process of writing from our teaching team, which includes award-winning published authors.

See the course combinations section for more information about the different joint honours options.

Watch a video to find out why you should study creative writing at Kingston University:

What will you study?

Year 1 aims to provide a broad foundation to the basic genres, forms and practices of creative writing. It will enable you to develop fundamental skills appropriate to creative writing, to identify and understand qualities of good writing, and to establish habits of self-reflective practice. You will study the work and commentary of other writers, practise writing in a variety of literary and professional forms, and develop skills in writing, review, criticism and co-operative discussion.

Year 2 allows for more-sustained study and development of particular skills in poetry, prose and scriptwriting. Study at this level also focuses on the need for rigorous editing and knowledge of the processes of publication or performance. You will continue to study existing works and write pieces appropriate to the media you are studying: radio, stage and screen, poetry, prose, fiction and non-fiction.

Year 3 offers opportunities for more-specialist writing, with option modules that allow you to study subjects that include some or all of the following: traditional literary forms, the thriller, crime, romance and science-fiction genres, stories for children, life writing, biography, writing lyrics for popular music, and writing for television and for the stage. In addition, you will have the chance to produce a substantial piece of developed writing.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • This module centres upon practical work designed to develop the skills appropriate to the undergraduate study of creative writing.  These skills will be focused in the following areas: the analysis and use of published writing; language and style; seminar/workshop practice; and habits of writing, self-reflection and revision.  The module will investigate how writers think about their craft and the techniques they use to write most effectively in their various mediums.  Fortnightly lectures will be given by practicing writers who will introduce students to their own published work as well as that of a wide range of other authors. Students will read, analyse and discuss poems, short stories, plays and essays, and will develop a greater awareness of language and style in writing through a variety of exercises.  These workshop exercises will allow students to establish guidelines for constructive participation and encourage co-operation and self-reflection.

     
  • This module is designed to familiarise students with a range of rhetorical strategies, aesthetic techniques, redrafting and editing skills, while also providing the opportunity to practise writing and editing in a number of literary and non-literary forms. In “Writing that Works” students are introduced to key techniques for writing effectively and they develop their ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in writing by studying a number of different forms of published texts, both literary and non literary. These abilities are first developed by reading and examining good and bad examples of writing in a variety of forms written for different audiences – from short stories and poems, to newspaper articles, commercial writing, blogs, ads, speeches, emails, informational pamphlets, and business letters.  In addition to the examples offered by tutors, students will be encouraged to source independently further instances of good and bad writing to share with the class in seminars. The next step is for students to practise and obtain tutor and peer feedback on their own writing in these forms and styles.  Transferable skills are embedded in the module through the editing and redrafting practice in which students synthesise the reading, analysis and feedback they have received in order to produce a portfolio of writing that works. The module will make use of the expertise of a number of our Writers in Residence, Distinguished Writers and Creative Writing staff who will present and discuss examples of their own writing that has, and hasn’t, worked. 

     

Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This is a dissertation-style module, taught through a combination of small-group sessions and individual tutorials, in which students will have the opportunity to work on a sustained creative writing project of their choosing. They will produce a substantial piece of writing in a chosen form, having undertaken contextual reading in that form and engaged in other research as appropriate, such as location scouting, conducting interviews, or visiting archives and specialist collections. Through group workshops and presentations, as well as one-on-one tutorials, students will receive constructive feedback and guidance on how to plan, structure, write, revise, and edit their projects, and gain advice in developing the skills and habits necessary to working independently. In addition, students will learn how to plan strategies for the possible dissemination and promotion of their projects in the world outside the university, as professional authors would, such as through various methods of publication or performance. By learning to work independently and by planning the dissemination and promotion of their projects, students will acquire the entrepreneurial skills and abilities necessary for success in self-employment and in other professions.

     
  • On this module, students will have the opportunity to study fiction and poetry writing in greater depth, learning practical techniques for crafting expressive, imaginative work. Aspects such as voice, point of view, structure, character, imagery, and tone will be explored through the reading and discussion of texts by a variety of contemporary authors, whose work reflects the diverse range of styles and approaches at work today. Students will be asked to experiment with these elements in their own writing, and to participate in improving each other’s work by offering thoughtful, constructive feedback. Along with developing their own personal sense of voice and style, students will practise applying skills learned on the module to real-world situations faced by professional authors, such as writing a piece for a commission or for a target audience.

     
  • This module is an option for full, major and half field Drama and Creative Writing students at Level 5 and runs throughout the academic year.

    The module introduces students to the craft of writing dramatic scripts for stage, screen and radio. Through a series of practical exercises, writing tasks and feedback students will become familiar with key principles of dramatic writing that apply across the three forms.  A refined sense of how 'conflict' and 'action' build suspense, tension, humour or pathos; of how to create characters that draw the audience's empathy; of the importance of 'subtext' and of how to harness the scenographic dimension through stage directions and settings, all contribute to the craft of a successful dramatic writer. In addition, sessions on radio and screen writing will not only introduce students to the specific conventions of these forms but also, in drawing attention to the spoken word and aural dimension (in radio) and visual story-telling (in screen), students will be sensitised to the power of the scenography as a component of dramatic craft.

     

Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This is a year-long optional module in the Creative Writing field. It provides an opportunity for students to challenge their work in each form (Prose, Poetry, Drama) by reading experimental writing within and across genres and traditional form boundaries, and to produce a portfolio of work that engages with experiments of their own. It will follow a lecture/seminar format, with some small-group workshops and tutorials, as well as an online forum for peer review. It may be of interest to students wishing to engage in experimental writing in a sympathetic environment.

    The main features of the module are the study of experimental literary texts of the 20th and 21st centuries -- such as experimental novels that play with form and genre, visual, concrete, digital or alternative poetry, and innovative drama – and the creative writing practice either in imitation of such experiments, or in the experimental creation of new and hybrid forms and genres. This dual focus on experimentation – a conceptual exploration and the practical testing of literary boundaries -- enables students to produce work that challenges, experiments with, or reflects upon preconceptions of form, genre or language.

     
  • Creative Writing Dissertation Project is a year-long 30-credit module which showcases and synthesises students’ practical skills, knowledge gained, and creative talent nurtured and developed throughout their creative writing degree. It documents them in a unique portfolio that can be presented to a range of audiences, potential sponsors and employers. The specific nature and dissemination of the project is influenced by the type of joint-honours degree the students are taking and this is reflected in the proposal initiated and developed by students themselves in discussion with their supervisor. The project also builds on accumulated experience in research and creative writing in an inter- and transdisciplinary context, as it encourages students to make use of lateral thinking in order to draw on knowledge from across their course in conceptualising and producing their creative dissertation. It fuses creativity, initiative and imagination cultivated in a practice-based writing course with skills gained in joint disciplines in a way which resonates with the demands of contemporary creative economies and job markets.

    In its format, the portfolio of work included in the Creative Writing Dissertation Project reflects stages of project development and execution encountered in a range of creative and research industries (proposal/bid, creative practice, dissemination and evaluation). Specific phases are designed to strengthen initiative and enterprise, in a process which benefits from employability-related skills gained in Level 4 and Level 5 modules such as, but not limited to, Writing that Works and Independent Creative Writing.

    Throughout the project, students gain knowledge of the most effective ways of presenting creative work to a wider audience including employers, sponsors, and commissioning bodies. Against the increasing dominance of self-publication, they learn how to operate successfully in the literary market without traditional networks of support. The work on the portfolio emphasises transferable skills and employability, as well as entrepreneurship and self-reliance, whether the students are preparing to enter the job market, work freelance or progress to post-graduate study.

     
  • This is a year-long optional module in the Creative Writing field. It allows an advanced, detailed, and extensive study of experimental writing and the philosophical and theoretical context surrounding it, giving students a sophisticated understanding of its developments, codes and contexts, and allowing them to engage with this genre from the perspectives of both theory and their own writing practice. Conceptual analysis is reinforced by practical work designed to enable students not only to understand the conventions of their chosen genre but also to apply them creatively to their own writing. The module may suit students wishing to devote extensive consideration to a specific genre of writing, and produce a sustained body of work within its conventions. It is taught by members of staff specialising in appropriate genres and delivered in small groups. The module will concentrate on discussion of a number of contemporary experimental novels and more unusual workshop exercises including use of photographs, music, sensory derangement, psychogeography as well as further readings from philosophy and critical theory to encourage the development of more innovative, playful, self-reflexive or otherwise genre defying creative work.

     
  • This module will look at experiments and innovations in contemporary poetry, in what has been called the post-modern period (1955-present). We will study aspects of the current trends in poetry and examine selected influential poetry movements, such as the Black Mountain School, the New York School, “language” poetry, Oulipo, and late modernism, with special attention to abstract lyricism and lyric disruption. The notion of experiment will also be looked at closely - visual arts, music, and other collaborative approaches to the delivery of poetic utterance may be investigated. Poets such as Denise Riley, Patience Agbabi, Jorie Graham, and Charles Bernstein will be read closely. You will make podcast readings and/or poetry folios which you can use as part of your writing CV, and which may be featured in the end-of-year Awards and Achievement Show. This module will suit students who would like to experiment with several poetic forms and who wish to engage with current poetry culture in order to further develop their own critical and writing ability. Students will be able to engage in their own creative writing projects and demonstrate an understanding of issues and concepts raised by the works studied in this module within their own writing practice.

    This is a year-long optional module in the Creative Writing field. It allows an advanced, detailed, and extensive study of a specialised genre of creative writing, giving students a sophisticated understanding of its developments, codes and contexts, and allowing them to engage with this genre from the perspectives of both theory and their own writing practice. Conceptual analysis is reinforced by practical work designed to enable students not only to understand the conventions of their chosen genre but also to apply them creatively to their own writing. The module may suit students wishing to devote extensive consideration to a specific genre of writing, and produce a sustained body of work within its conventions. It is taught by members of staff specialising in appropriate genres and delivered in small groups.

     
  • This year-long module focuses on the study and creative practice of (auto)biography and memoir, some of the most interesting and thriving literary genres. It is aimed at those students tempted by the idea of writing about their own and others’ lives, wishing to read a variety of life stories and examine the many different ways in which a life story can become a book. We will explore exciting examples of autobiographical writing, looking at the highly literary and the popular bestsellers alike. Authors will range from Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein to Tracey Emin and Cheryl Cole, or another of your favourite – or most irritating -- celebrities and his or her ghost writer.  We will sample, and experiment in, some of the many subgenres of life writing, which include childhood narratives, investigations of family secrets, testimony, graphic memoir, illness memoir, stories of trauma and abuse, war memoir, celebrity autobiography, and many others. Conceptual analysis will be reinforced by practical work designed to enable you to understand the issues in relation to your own creative life writing project.

     
  • This challenging and interesting special study module aims to provide you with the opportunity to engage with different examples of popular fiction such as crime fiction, romance, the thriller, and science fiction. It will enable you to identify the standard practices of popular genres and understand why they succeed or fail in particular texts. It will encourage you in the critical study of narrative techniques to best learn how to apply them in a work of popular fiction. You will experiment in writing crime, SF, thriller and romance stories before choosing one or two of these genres to take through to your final submission. All this will be put into the context of more general and transferable lessons to be learnt in the art of compelling storytelling.

    For each genre studied you will read two core novels, plus a more general theoretical text on narrative construction. The module is lead by a writer of four published crime/thrillers.

     
  • This is a year-long optional module in the Creative Writing field. It allows an advanced, detailed, and extensive study of forms of dramatic writing (stage, screen, and radio) giving students a sophisticated understanding of its developments, codes and contexts, and allowing them to engage with this genre from the perspectives of both theory and their own writing practice.  Starting with the study the work of contemporary playwrights such as Martin Crimp, Lucy Kirkwood, Timberlake Wertenbaker and Caryl Churchill, we will examine how such writers who were produced by the main new writing houses (Royal Court Theatre, Soho Theatre and the Royal National Theatre) have responded to significant social events and phenomena through the genre of drama.  Our approach will be both theoretical and practical and we will use the techniques acquired from this study and apply them to an exploration of other dramatic forms such as film, television and radio.  Conceptual analysis is reinforced by practical work designed to enable students not only to understand the conventions of their chosen genre but also to apply them creatively to their own writing. The module may suit students wishing to devote extensive consideration to developing their expertise in writing for the stage, radio, film and television, and produce a sustained body of work within its conventions. This special study will be taught in small groups by members of staff who have extensive experience of writing drama across a range of forms.

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's study abroad programme or Erasmus programme.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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