The original version of this post is the most popular page on our blog, but we figured it was time to update the information - here's the 2017 version...
Unique is a good way to describe the postgrad creative writing programme
at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland. For a start, we put genre fiction
front and centre in our course. If you love writing and reading science
fiction, fantasy, crime or horror, most MFAs and MAs don't want to know
- but we embrace great genre writing.
Another unique focus at Edinburgh Napier is comics and graphic novels,
which most other programmes ignore. In fact, we love this medium so
much we devote an entire module about it, Writing Graphic Fiction. [Good news: no talent for drawing required!] We also specialise in creative non-fiction, applying the techniques for developing and writing a novel to a research-based narrative.
Edinburgh Napier's postgraduate creative writing MA does not offer a poetry option. I repeat, poetry is not a requirement.
There are plenty of other great courses with brilliant poets on the
faculty - if you want to study poetry, seek them out. We have had
prize-winning poets as students on our programme, but we don't teach or
There are no peer review workshops in Creative Writing MA classes at Edinburgh Napier. I repeat, there are no peer review workshops.
This boggles the mind of some people, as such workshops are the bedrock
of creative writing pretty much everywhere else. But we don't
have them in our classes. Not one!
Instead, we set weekly writing assignments and expect you to bring the results
to class. You're encouraged to critically self-reflect on your work
[with prompts from us], and to share that thinking. You get professional editorial feedback on your writing and your thinking, delivered masterclass-style in class. And you get six hours of one-to-one mentoring.
If that sounds enticing, here's how you apply for our course. Like so much of our programme, the admissions process we use to select students also
seems to be unique...
First, you fill in and submit an application form [there are
links to an online version top right of this page]. We
welcome applicants who already have a degree - it doesn't have to be in
English, English literature or some form of creative writing]. We
also recognise prior learning and writing experience in people who don't have a degree yet.
The crucial section of your form is the personal statement. This is where you tell us about your aspirations as a writer, and why our programme can help. Here's a hint: don't just paste in your usual personal statement. We always look to see if applicants have done their research on the course and have enthusiasm for our specialisms.
Do your homework. Google us to read interviews we've given
about our ethos, our approach to creative writing. Read
the other entries on this blog. If you want your application taken
seriously, show us you've taken our course seriously. Plus: that
statement is a first chance to showcase your ability to write. Blow our socks
All being well, we'll progress you to the next stage of our
admissions process. We don't ask for a writing sample with your application. Instead -
if we like your application form - we'll invite you to undertake a writing challenge. We ask you to write us an original short story of up to 1000 words, and you'll have two weeks to submit it.
To make this a challenge, we give you a choice of first sentences. You
select one and use that as the opening for your story. We also let you
decide when we send the brief, so you choose the two weeks that best suit you. We even include the criteria we'll be
using to assess your submission, so the process is more transparent.
Once you've sent in your story, we read and assess it. Some applicants
get turned away at this stage [we take roughly one out of every five
people who apply]. If your story shows promise, we
will invite you to a selection interview - face to face or via Skype if you live a long way from Edinburgh.
The interview is the last stage. It can last
up to an hour. During that time we use one or two teaching and learning activities
from our course to assess you as an applicants. This
gives you insight into our programme and how we teach it. Rest assured, your interview
should be an enjoyable experience, and not an interrogation!
We let you know within a day if we're offering you a place - no waiting for months to find out [and no fee to apply to the course, either!]. We
use a rolling admissions process: once we're full, we're full.
Our course takes a maximum of 16 full-time students a year, and up to four
part-timers who are with us for two years.
If you still have any questions, feel free to get in touch before you formally
apply. Email lecturer David Bishop here: firstname.lastname@example.org . The sooner you apply, the
better your chances...