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MA in Creative Writing

Our Creative Writing MA is an academically rigorous programme that gives students structured support through writing workshops and one-to-one tutorials in order to develop practical knowledge of writing poetry and prose fiction.

Students also study a broad range of literature from the 20th and 21st centuries, and produce new work in response. In addition to formal teaching of creative writing, our strong research culture has attracted numerous well-known authors to Durham to discuss their work. Beyond the MA, students can progress to study at MLitt or PhD level.
Course information
A research student Reading a book in Bill Bryson Library

Our creative writers on their work

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Career Development

The Department is involved in various other University and external groups that can further support your writing. These include:

  • New Writing North. Writing development agency for the North-east, which runs workshops, lectures, competitions and magazines. The Department works with New Writing North to develop Durham Book Festival.
  • The Centre for Poetry and Poetics. Based in the Department, this runs a number of events each term, including open-mic nights and talks by established poets.
  • Durham University Creative Writing Society. A group for students to develop their work in a friendly setting.
  • The Bubble. Student-run online magazine that publishes creative writing and reviews.
  • Durham Book Festival. Annual festival bringing well-known authors to Durham, including the Festival Poet Laureate appointed by the Department; the Festival includes workshops and networking events for aspiring authors.


Several of our students have gone on to achieve success and recognition with their published creative work. Recent notable successes include:

  • John Clegg won an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors in 2013 for his first book of poetry, Antler. His second book, Holy Toledo! appeared in 2016. John can be heard reading from and discussing his work in this READ podcast.
  • Sarah Fletcher has been a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and a two-time recipient of the Christopher Tower Poetry Prize. She has published two pamphlets: Kissing Angles, was published by (Dead Ink Books, 2015) and Typhoid August
  • Eiffel Gao’s poems have appeared in The Poetry Review and Shearsman magazine, and she is an editor for Transect.
  • Chris Kerr’s poetry has appeared in a number of publications, and he recently published his debut pamphlet, Citidyll.
  • Lauren Owen published her debut novel, The Quick, to great acclaim. It was praised by Hilary Mantel as ‘a sly and glittering addition to the literature of the macabre.’

What's new

Find out more about what's new in the world of creative writing at Durham University.

Lucy Atkinson reveals the Newcastle witch trials

Creative writing PhD student, Lucy Atkinson, has been describing how historical witch trials in Newcastle have inspired her research and novel.
Lucy Atkinson

Students Share their Stories during National Storytelling Week

During National Storytelling Week, 30 January – 5 February, we have been hearing from three budding writers who are currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing.
Kings Cross Station

‘Something that speaks to you in the quiet of the night’: Horror writing with Naomi Booth

Dr Naomi Booth, Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies and award-winning fiction writer tells us about horror writing.
Old house in the countryside

Durham Book Festival 2022

Durham’s celebrated Book Festival returns this year for another weekend in October, celebrating new writing with particular relevance to the North East.
Durham Book Festival promotional poster

Ideas for Positive Change: Writing Fiction About the Climate Crisis

What role might fiction play in helping readers to come to terms with the climate crisis? Dr Naomi Booth shares her ‘idea for positive change’ in this talk.
Fire fighter tackling a forest fire

English Studies academics recognised in two of Nation’s most coveted literary awards

The work of two of our academics - Sunjeev Sahota and Kayo Chingonyi - has received recognition from the Booker Prize and the Forward Prize for Poetry.
Literary awards