City, University of London: Jonathan Myerson, MA Creative Writing (Novels)



the Creative Writing MA in novels at City University is just about unique in the world the standard model in the english-speaking world for a Creative Writing ma is you come along and you choose to a module in poetry and you might do another module in screenwriting or whatever on our novels ma we only look at one thing the novel we spend two years doing it and at the end of it you've written a whole novel I should just add here that the course breaks down into two different groups one group writes crime thriller novels and the other group taught entirely separately apart from a few crossover sessions writes literary novels so you need to decide before you need to know which sort of novelist you want to be because you have to enter the course knowing that knowing what sort of novel you want to write as far as I'm aware this is the only course in Britain or America where that's what you do you come out with a full-length novel ready for the industry my students in the literary novel they average about eighty thousand words crime thriller they average about a hundred thousand words and you come out with an industry ready novel plus our contacts to put you into it it seems to me that it's the only way to learn how to write a novel is to write a novel every novelist would tell you that and it's the same here we get you to write from beginning to end we're the only course in the world which teaches you how to get over the famous 30,000 word hump which every novelist on every novel experiences you get to 30,000 words and it's the most boring impossible thing to write we get you through that we get you to the end and in the lifetime in the two years lifetime that a student is on the course we read over 200,000 words our creative writing by each student that's what we do we read your work we annotate your work we advise on your work that's what we do at the end of this course you're not going to get a job it's a creative writing MA that doesn't qualify you for anything except for one thing and it's a whole lot better than a job at the end of this course you're a novelist now we only take about a dozen students a year maybe sometimes 13 or 14 so I get over a hundred applicants and I take the best dozen or so students and at the end of it they have finished a novel that we then get out into the industry get to agents who are the gatekeepers of the publishing industry and they want to read our students work and as a result we're currently averaging at about two a year get published so for instance in this year so far we've had a student published who graduated in 2010 and another student who graduated in 2012 and won our end-of-year prize that the prize being some cash but also representation by a leading London literary agency but she's not the only one to be represented by an agent and that's what you need for the next stage of your work so you don't get a job what you do get is you go straight into the publishing industry with a finished piece of work that they want to read because we are the only course in the world where the student have a whole novel at the end of it so the agent everywhere else can only say if you ever finish a novel please get in touch with us they say let me read the novel

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