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Creative and Professional Writing BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W8P5 2019
4 years full time including sandwich year W85P 2019

Why choose this course?

Kingston University's degree in creative and professional writing is uniquely designed to encompass the art and craft of writing in all its forms, leading to a wide range of expressive and career possibilities. In choosing this course, you'll develop a wide range of writing skills across creative and non-fiction genres, different formats and contexts.

You'll also acquire technical skills and practical experience in writing for digital media formats, pitches, curatorial and exhibition writing, reviews, and articles. The course is designed to develop multi-skilled and entrepreneurial graduates, with a flexible skill set that will equip them to work in a wide range of creative industries. The core development of written skills will therefore be enhanced by a strong focus on oral communication, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Our creative writing graduates have all been highly successful in securing work after completing their courses: according to the latest DLHE data (2015) 96 per cent of them were employed or in further education six months after graduation.

What you will study

The creative and professional writing degree is structured to build your core writing skills across a range of genres, while also allowing you to specialise in the forms of writing that most inspire you. Working with published writers, academics and industry professionals, the course will allow you to develop a wide range of writing skills across creative and non-fiction genres, different formats and contexts.  Throughout your studies you'll also acquire technical skills and practical experience in writing for digital media formats, pitches, curatorial and exhibition writing, reviews, and articles. At the end of your degree, you'll have the opportunity to complete an extended writing project on a subject of your choice, and to work on real-life industry projects, giving you vital employment experience.

Through optionality, both at assessment and module level, the programme will enable you to tailor your degree to suit your interests and employment or enterprise goals. Workshops will allow you to hone your writing craft, while lectures and seminars will give you the tools you need to develop your own creativity.

The creative and professional writing degree has been developed as part of a major project in professional writing run by Writers' Centre Kingston which includes the development of online learning, short courses, and industry forums. As part of this project, students on the creative and professional writing degree have unique access to masterclasses involving our creative partners, which include individuals from companies including Macmillan Publishers, The Creative Society, PwC, Greene & Heaton literary agency and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 

Foundation year - Humanities & Arts

You can also study this course with a Foundation year. Find out more >

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. Weekly 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.

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  • 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. 

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  • Writing is a key communication tool of journalism. This module introduces you to the language, practical conventions, contexts and functions of written journalism in the multimedia environment. Through studying and critically analysing the structure, style and content of articles published on websites, in newspapers and magazines you will begin to develop an understanding of how copy is gathered, put together and directed at specific readerships.

    Through lectures and through practice in workshops you will learn to identify a story from raw, diffuse or incomplete information by the application of news values, to write it in appropriate style, to add headlines and online "furniture" and to upload it to a content management system.

    Writing clear, accurate and engaging text relies on understanding and applying the rules of grammar, using the right words and constructing coherent prose. This module also helps you to boost your grammar and punctuation skills, choose and use appropriate words and craft effective sentences and paragraphs. You will discover the underlying rules and principles, consider the impact of your writing decisions and develop your own writing and editing skills.

    Also, by examining and practising skills needed to develop and write pieces such as: originating ideas, researching, assessing the reliability of sources, interviewing, organising material and adhering to house style, you will aim to produce journalistic news pieces and feature articles that are suitable for publication.

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  • This module is a core requirement for students of English Language. It introduces you to language as a tool for human communication drawing on linguistics and its related disciplines. The main features of the module are (a) its focus on the analysis of language use and meaning in context and (b) its concern with key issues in intercultural communication.

    You will study language as communication in its social and cultural contexts and gain an insight into the formation of meaning and social relationships. The module will initiate you to the key concepts and frameworks for describing and analysing discourse, (ie. language above the sentence), with specific reference to meaning in context, talk in interaction, narrative practices and discourse strategies in intercultural encounters.  

    By the end of this module, you should have gained an insight into the nature of human communication and feel competent at discussing instances of everyday and institutional communication, demonstrating familiarity with the key frameworks in the study of communication in linguistics.  This module will also encourage the development of your interactional and intercultural competencies.  

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • This is a dissertation-style module, taught through a combination of small-group sessions and individual tutorials, in which you will have the opportunity to work on a sustained creative writing project of your choosing. You 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, you will receive constructive feedback and guidance on how to plan, structure, write, revise, and edit your projects, and gain advice in developing the skills and habits necessary to working independently. In addition, you will learn how to plan strategies for the possible dissemination and promotion of your 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 your projects, you will acquire the entrepreneurial skills and abilities necessary for success in self-employment and in other professions.

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  • This module explores the linguistic study of style and meaning in a range of contexts, such as spoken and written mediums, including natural conversation, literary and media texts. It brings together work from the fields of stylistics and pragmatics to consider how we use and understand language in use. The topics presented in this module focus on contextual meaning and its effects, exploring aspects of language and creativity, as well as key theories and frameworks in stylistics and pragmatics to understand how style and meaning are created and interpreted. The module builds on the foundational knowledge acquired at Level 4 and prepares students for work at Level 6 by introducing concepts and ideas that can be explored in Special Studies or as a final-year English Language and Communication Dissertation project.

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  • Available options will vary each year depending on staff specialism.

    • On this module, you 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. You will be asked to experiment with these elements in your own writing, and to participate in improving each other's work by offering thoughtful, constructive feedback. Along with developing your own personal sense of voice and style, you 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.

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    • 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.

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    • This module requires a passion for film and a preparedness to watch and read widely. Through lectures, workshops and exposure to both Hollywood and European cinema, you will learn how a rewarding screen narrative works - and how to create one. By the end of the module, you will have completed a short screenplay.

      The course is founded on the principle that knowledge of structure and characterisation can generate ideas for screen fiction, assess their potential and develop them into effective narratives.

      Consequently, we teach two strands, reflected in the final assessment. First, we deconstruct conventional narrative film, focusing in particular on structure and character, and why the film succeeds. Second, we guide you to the creation of your own short screenplay, providing models (in both film and script form) from a selection of successful short films.

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    • This module is an optional period module at Level 5. It will begin by exploring literature published from the 1930s through to the present day, and will examine the strategies writers have used in response to a changing Britain and wider world. We will consider how twentieth and twenty-first-century texts adapt realist, modernist and postmodern techniques to engage with issues such as the rise of mass culture, the threat of totalitarianism, the establishment of the Welfare State, post-war immigration, and sexual liberation. To enhance your perspective on these issues, you will be introduced to non-fiction material by other contemporary writers, such as J.B. Priestley, Erich Fromm, Iris Murdoch, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Hoggart, and George Lamming, as well as more recent critical and theoretical material.  The module also examines the development and continuing popularity of realist drama in the twentieth century. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which realist drama is used as a tool of social and political examination in the various contexts of pre-Revolutionary Russia, Dublin in the aftermath of the First World War, and the establishment of the welfare state in Britain after 1945. Secondly, we will examine the developments in non-realist forms of drama and the experiments which gave rise to what is, somewhat controversially, called the 'Theatre of the Absurd'. The module culminates with the study of a selection of texts chosen to illustrate the great variety of genres and styles in contemporary British literature and to exemplify literature written by different nationalities and social groups. Underpinned by relevant theoretical perspectives, questions will be raised about the relation between literature and contemporary events, with relation to issues pertinent to literature, such as social mobility, hybridity, democracy and technology. In recent years, authors studied have included Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Sylvia Plath, Harold Pinter, Alan Hollinghurst, and Zadie Smith.

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    • The UK magazine industry has never been more exciting and challenging. Despite digital and economic changes modern magazines devoted to trends and interests endure. This module looks at how these contemporary publications are positioned and how they co-operate to weave together strands of information. In this module you will learn about the contexts within which contemporary magazines operate. You look at the current state of the periodicals sector and reflect on trends and future developments by researching, originating and developing a magazine concept for a specified readership. You will build up effective editorial, team-working skills and adapt these to the needs of differing audiences and objectives through the origination and production of your own magazine. You will apply journalistic skills to create a portfolio of articles and will utilise design and layout skills to produce a dummy magazine.

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  • Work Placement Sandwich

Year 3 (Level 6)

  • Creative and Professional Writing Dissertation
  • This module allows students to study two authors in depth across a sustained period of time. In each year, the module will be taught in two blocks, each focused on the works of a single author who falls under the research specialism of one or more members of staff. Each block may involve the study of several texts or the extended, in-depth study of a longer work of literature. Information as to the current year's content will be released prior to the selection of student options, but will change each year to reflect staff research interests. Possible authors for study might include (but are not limited to) novelists such as Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, James Joyce, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, or Don DeLillo, poets such as John Milton, Samuel Coleridge, Sylvia Plath, or Ted Hughes, or dramatists such as Christopher Marlowe, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, or Caryl Churchill. Alternatively, the module may in some years also focus on a memoir or short story writer, travel writer, or notable literary theorist or philosopher. The module is assessed by a critical or creative project and two essays. 

     
  • Available options will vary each year depending on staff specialism.

    • In this course you will read closely four exceptional books of journalism dealing with war. In these books -- from George Orwell's account of the Spanish Civil War to Dexter Filkins's reporting on the American invasion of Iraq -- the writers are centre stage, exploring their own feelings and beliefs as they try to makes sense of the chaos of war. Through analysing the texts you will examine the historical, cultural and theoretical contexts of the conflicts themselves and and also how journalism deals with describing war and through close attention to the style of these writers you will become familiar with literary journalism and be given an opportunity to develop your own narrative writing.

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    • This module allows students to study two authors in depth across a sustained period of time. In each year, the module will be taught in two blocks, each focused on the works of a single author who falls under the research specialism of one or more members of staff. Each block may involve the study of several texts or the extended, in-depth study of a longer work of literature. Information as to the current year's content will be released prior to the selection of student options, but will change each year to reflect staff research interests. Possible authors for study might include (but are not limited to) novelists such as Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, James Joyce, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, or Don DeLillo, poets such as John Milton, Samuel Coleridge, Sylvia Plath, or Ted Hughes, or dramatists such as Christopher Marlowe, Oscar Wilde, Harold Pinter, or Caryl Churchill. Alternatively, the module may in some years also focus on a memoir or short story writer, travel writer, or notable literary theorist or philosopher. The module is assessed by a critical or creative project and two essays. 

       
    • This module is an optional module for all Drama and Creative Writing students at Level 6 and runs throughout the academic year.  Responding to the changing status of live performance in the twenty-first century, the module explores alternatives to the mainstream 'dramatic' tradition of playwriting. It takes into consideration how cultural shifts such as the advent of new technologies and a global community are or might be reflected in contemporary writing for the stage and in media-based performance (for example audio drama and experimental film). You will encounter a selection of play-texts and performances from the historical and contemporary avant-garde which act as prompts to your creative explorations of playwriting and performance writing methods and techniques.  You are encouraged to be experimental and innovative in your own writing, and to question the role of both the theatre and the playwright.  This is a practical and creative module that may involve performance-based exercises (for example improvisation and task-based performance) as well as writing ones.

      The module develops understandings and themes encountered in DA5005 The Play Today and is particularly suited to those who achieved a pass or above in DA5001 Write Action.  The module is ideal preparation for those who are considering master's level study in playwriting (particularly Kingston University's MA Playwriting), as well as those looking to pursue performance-making after graduation.

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    • This module will look at experiments and innovations in contemporary poetry, in what has been called the post-modern period (1955-present). You 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 those 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. You will be able to engage in your own creative writing projects and demonstrate an understanding of issues and concepts raised by the works studied in this module within your 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 you a sophisticated understanding of its developments, codes and contexts, and allowing you to engage with this genre from the perspectives of both theory and your own writing practice. Conceptual analysis is reinforced by practical work designed to enable you not only to understand the conventions of your chosen genre but also to apply them creatively to your own writing. The module may suit those 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.

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    • 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 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.

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    • 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.

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    • This module traces how literature from the 19th century to the present has concerned itself with questions of gender identity and sexuality, often offering a radical voice for those - including both women and LGBTQ+ voices - excluded from dominant and mainstream discourses. Rooted in feminist and queer theory, we will explore how feminist writing has critiqued patriarchy, how literature has challenged normative gender roles, how it has engaged with powerful questions regarding the body and the politics of desire, and how it has represented the debates within different facets of the feminist and queer community. We will also consider how writers have employed literary form and genre - for example the use of experimental writing, dramatic or poetic form, or the romance genre - and to what extent debates surrounding these forms and genre contribute to a gendered politics of cultural production. Explicitly intersectional in its approach, we will frame our discussions with an interrogation of how the politics of gender and sexuality is shaped by its relationship with questions of class, race, disability, and religion. Examples of authors studied might include Jeanette Winterson, Fleur Adock, Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Kushner, Clare Macintyre, Leila Aboulela, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Virginia Woolf.

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    • This optional Level 6 module allows you to pursue Shakespeare studies at an advanced level and is founded upon a detailed and extensive study of the writer and his works.  Consideration will be given to a range of critical approaches to Shakespeare as well as the long history and dynamic status of Shakespeare in performance and adaptation, for example in relation to questions of gender, identity and globalisation.  You will be encouraged to reflect upon the role of Shakespeare in culture now as well as relevant contemporary contexts such as the nature of early modern theatregoing alongside crucial political and religious conditions. Teaching on the module will be closely aligned with the rich resources available at the Rose Theatre and in particular will afford you the opportunity to participate in the stimulating series of talks and events organised as part of the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar (KiSS).

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    • This module examines the rich and dynamic presence of British black and Asian writing from the mid-17th century to the present. Exploring the ways in which black and Asian writing has contributed to definitions of Britishness for more than 300 years, it examines how black writers have produced formally innovative and conceptually challenging responses to questions of race, class, gender and identity, while simultaneously making significant creative contributions to the fields of drama, prose, poetry, and life-writing. In the first half of the module, you will study a range of early British texts from the mid-17th century to the 19th century from writers such as Equiano and Mary Seacole, alongside contemporary works which have reflected on the black cultural presence in Britain during this period, while the second half of the module turns to 20th century and contemporary texts by writers such as Zadie Smith. Andrea Levy, Monica Ali, Hanif Kureishi, Meera Syal, Gautam Malkani, Leila Aboulela, Jackie Kay and John Agard, contextualised by appropriate critical and cultural theories from thinkers such as Paul Gilroy and Stuart Hall. The module is assessed by a flexible assessment strategy which allows you to respond to the module through a combination of critical essay, performance and/or creative writing, and discussion posts documenting engagement and critical response. 

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    • Box Set Drama: Writing for Television
     
  • Major Project creative and professional writing

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 or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

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020 3308 9930*

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Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps

Contact our admissions team

Submit an enquiry

020 3308 9930*

*Calls cost 7p per minute from a UK landline plus your phone company's access charge. Calls to this number from mobiles are normally deductible from your inclusive minutes.

Location

This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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