Study with us
Our undergraduate courses offer a unique exploration of the practice and theory of writing and can be taken as single honours degree or in combination with film studies as a joint honours degree.
Creative writing at Essex focuses on the practice and theory of becoming
a writer. Since our department’s inception in the 1960s under the poet
Donald Davie, we have nurtured a tradition of distinguished writers, who
have shaped literature as we know it. These include Robert Lowell, Michèle
Roberts, Ken Smith, Tom Raworth, Ed Dorn, Ben Okri, Pierre Joris and Ted Berrigan.
Our undergraduate courses explore a full range of
writing styles and genres and help you to develop your writing skills and
voice in tandem with your understanding of the history and theory of writing
practice. We also offer the option to take creative writing as a joint
degree with literature or film studies.
At postgraduate level, our MA Creative Writing
follows Ezra Pound’s call to “make it new” and places a strong emphasis on
innovation, experiment, and invention. We have a large and active doctoral
community and welcome applications for PhD study
combining original creative writing with critical commentary.
Studying a Creative Writing degree at Essex
Learn from experienced and established writers
Our creative writing staff have a unique breadth of writing experience
across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and song:
We regularly invite writers to give writing workshops to our
students as well as talks as part of our Writers at Essex series.
Nobel laureate Derek Walcott was Essex Professor of Poetry from
2010 to 2013, and made annual visits to the department to give special
masterclasses and direct performances of his plays at the University’s
More about creative writing at Essex
Research and publications
Ongoing research ventures include
Memory Maps, an online writing project that began as a collaboration
with the Victoria and
Albert Museum, and continues to provide opportunities for students to
contribute work. You can also publish with our creative writing journal
Creel, which is released on an annual basis.
Many of our students go on to publish work after graduation with recent
success stories including Alexia Casale, whose novel Bone Dragon
was published by Faber & Faber. Other graduates include the writers Petra
Mcqueen as well as Patricia Borlenghi, the founder of
Patrician Press, which has
published works by a number of our alumni. Another group of recent graduates
have collaborated to publish a short story collection called
Life after graduation
We have an excellent student support system to offer guidance and advice
during your studies, and to prepare you for success after graduation. Our
University’s Employability and
Careers Centre also provides support to help you pursue your chosen
career path, including by finding work experience and internship
opportunities that allow you to put the skills you learn into practice.
Throughout the year our weekly Research Seminar series welcomes leading academic specialists, as well as writers, poets, playwrights, filmmakers and journalists to talk about their work.
Our MA Creative Writing emphasises innovation and experiment and provides a challenging course of practice based study that allows you to develop your writing voice across an exciting range of forms and genres.
PhD study in creative writing allows you to combine an original creative writing project with critical commentary. You will be supervised by award winning writers with a unique breadth of experience across literary genres.
Three-quarters of our research is rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' (REF 2014). We do both creative
and critical work across genres and media forms using a distinctly comparative approach.