Goldfish on-line journal - work from students currently enrolled on the programme.
We examine relevant literary and cultural theory as well as the politics and practicalities of language and writing from the point of view of the writer.
Practitioner-led, the programme offers you the opportunity to work with a range of published writers who visit the College to give readings and lead workshops.
Visiting writers have included, William Fiennes, Jackie Kay and Aminatta Forna. Poetry Masterclasses have been led by Sharon Olds, Les Murray, Derek Walcott and C K Williams We also expect to draw fully upon London’s rich tradition as a converging point for culturally diverse literary practices.
Our graduates have gone on to have successful careers as writers and have won awards including the Guardian First Book Award, the Eric Gregory Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and the Dylan Thomas Prize. Two of our graduates have just been recognised in Granta's 2013 Best of Young British Novelists list.
There are three main components:
There will be two core courses: a two-term workshop in creative and life writing, and a one-term Contemporary Contexts for Creative and Life Writing seminar course.
All students attend this two and-a-half-hour compulsory workshop – part-time students attend in their first year. In the first term you will be encouraged to experiment with a variety of genres in creative and life writing, and then in the second term to develop your individual interests in poetry, fiction, autobiography and biography, or perhaps a fusion of those genres.
Each term you submit a piece of your own writing together with a critical account of how you have structured and developed it. Presentations of your work to other students with an account of your aims and approaches form an additional important element.
Some workshops will be taken by visiting writers, introducing you to a range of practices, concerns and techniques. The workshop also enables you to debate issues raised in the Contemporary Contexts course in relation to your own practice.
This is a two-hour seminar course, made up of informal talks by visiting speakers, followed by a seminar. These talks might be by practising writers, biographers, critics or philosophers (from both outside and inside Goldsmiths).
Our notable visitors have included Ali Smith, Imtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra and Jon McGregor. Wide-ranging topics have included: the role of the writer and politics; writing the self; the relationship between contemporary fiction and biography; the relationship between fictional and non-fictional autobiography; writers and their readers; the publishing world; contemporary ideas about language; gender and writing.
In both the Contemporary Contexts course and the workshops you will be asked to consider works by significant contemporary writers in relation to your own writing practice. Assessment is by a critical essay on a writer or literary issue. Full-time students take the Contemporary Contexts course in their first term and part-time students in their second year.
Tutorials will be offered at regular intervals during the year (12 in all).
You also choose an option course lasting one term. Full-time students take the course in the second term, while part-time students take it in the second year (second term). You can choose from a specialist workshop in fiction, poetry or life writing, or an option from the list of MA options offered by ECL including topics such as European Avant-Garde, Postmodernist Fiction or Re-writing Sexualities.
Assessment is by the submission of four pieces of writing of 5,000 words each – either an essay, or, for workshops, a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing – plus a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. You will also be assessed on a portfolio (maximum of 20,000 words) containing a piece or pieces of creative or life-writing together with a critical account of how you have structured and developed your work. In all cases, the number of words applies to prose.
If you register your interest in this programme we will keep you informed about open days and send you relevant further information. If you subsequently decide to apply for this programme you will be able to use the same login details to apply.
You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
You must submit a portfolio of your creative or life writing with your application. Your portfolio should include two or three short stories, 20-30 poems or several extracts from a novel.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.
If your first language isn't English, you need to demonstrate a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent to enroll and study on this programme.
Please check our English Language requirements for more information.
Get in touch via our online form
+44 (0)20 7919 7766
+44 (0)20 7919 7702
Blake is a poet, novelist and journalist, whose books include two family memoirs, ‘And When Did You Last See Your Father?’ (which was made into a film with Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent) and ‘Things My Mother Never Told Me’; a study of the Bulger case, ‘As If’; three collections of poetry, including ‘The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper’; the novels ‘South of the River’ and ‘The Last Weekend’; and several play adaptations, ‘The Cracked Pot’ and ‘We Are Three Sisters’ among them. He has also written three opera libretti, edited anthologies of contemporary writing, and published two books of literary criticism. He is a frequent contributor to the Review section of ‘The Guardian’.
Maura has published six collections of poetry, including ‘Kissing a Bone’, and recently ‘Life Under Water’ (2008) both of which were shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Maura is also an anthologist, has worked as a script consultant and been involved in numerous initiatives to enhance the profile of poetry in the United Kingdom.
His poetry publications include ‘Flowering Limbs’, ‘The Sandfields Baudelaire’, ‘Dream City Cinema’, and, for children, ‘Sardines and Other Poems’. He has published the novel, ‘Mr Schnitzel’ in 2000, and an anthology, ‘I Am Twenty People’, edited with Mimi Khalvati. His fiction and poetry reviews have appeared in the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ and the ‘Independent on Sunday’.
Francis produced an anthology of literature about the poles, ‘The Ends of the Earth’ (with Elizabeth Kolbert), and he is the author of ‘The Child That Books Built’, ‘The Backroom Boys’ and ‘Red Plenty’.
His first novel, ‘Beach Boy’, won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and has been translated into 10 languages. His second novel, ‘One Day’, was shortlisted for the Encore Award.
Associate Tutors include Romesh Gunesekera, Pamela Johnson, Eva Salzman and Richard Skinner
"I began the MA in Creative and Life Writing part-time in 2000, the first year of the course. I had wanted to write for a long time and the huge support and encouragement from staff in the department and fellow MA students was crucial in me beginning to find my feet as a writer, as well as giving me the conviction to carry on once the course was over.
Through the course I got an agent and then began to get stories published in the US, Ireland and here in the UK. I received a grant from the Arts Council to finish my first collection which was published in 2009 by Harvill Secker. By then I had already returned to Goldsmiths to begin a PhD in Creative Writing. I have the same supervisor, Maura Dooley, as I did for my MA and that continuity and her familiarity with my writing has been invaluable. Writing can be a pretty lonely business and Goldsmiths provides support, an intellectual and creative environment, as well as an academic framework for me to work in. Throughout my PhD I have continued to publish and have just been shortlisted for The Sunday Times/EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, the largest prize in the world for a single story. I aim to finish my PhD in summer 2013 and feel I will then be well placed to continue my career both inside and outside academia."
MA in Creative and Life Writing, 2004
"I completed the course in 2004, and continue to tell anybody and everybody just how good it is, and how useful it proved to be for me. Not because it greased my wheels into the publishing industry, but because the relationships I developed there, with fellow students and with tutors, have supported my career as a writer ever since. This has happened because of the atmosphere of the course, and its concentration on the craft of writing process and the importance of having the mindset, rather than the publishing competitiveness of some courses.
I began my first novel at Goldsmiths, and am now starting my third. Things have gone very well for me so far, I suppose, career-wise, but it is testament to how and why I began writing, on the course, that the work itself is always more important to me than that work's place in the book world."
Graduates of this programme include Tom Lee, Lucy Caldwell, Ross Raisin, Amy Sackville, Rohan Kriwaczek, Evie Wyld, Sara Grant, Naomi Foyle, Bronia Kita, Lijia Zhang, Ashley Dartnell and Suzanne Joinson and the poets Emily Berry, Andy Spragg, Kate Potts, Jack Underwood, Abigail Parry, Anthony Joseph, Katrina Naomi and Matthew Gregory.
Among them they've won or been shortlisted for awards including The Sunday Times/EFG Private Bank Short Story Award 2012, the Rooney Prize for Literature 2011, the 2008 and 2011 Dylan Thomas Prize, several Eric Gregory Awards, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award 2009, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize 2009 and 2010, the Guardian First Book Award, the New Writing Ventures Prize, and several Betty Trask Awards.
Other graduates have gone on to work in publishing (for example, as senior commissioning editors), journalism, public relations, teaching, advertising, the civil service, business, industry, and the media.
The MA will enable you to develop transferable skills, including: enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts; the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials; the ability to organise information, and to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments.
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
Goldsmiths has charitable status