Thursday, 7 May 2009

The MFA in Creative Writing Comes to the UK

I just came across an ad in The Writer’s Chronicle that stopped me in my tracks. Kingston University in London is now offering the UK’s first Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

MFA in Creative Writing programs are the rage in the States and many aspiring writers see the MFA degree as necessary to achieve the dream of publication. The degree doesn’t come cheap with some universities charging over $20,000 a year for a two-year program. Most programs encourage their students to focus on writing short stories (novels take too much time) or poetry. Some also feature non-fiction writing.

MFA programs can offer student writers the chance to work with instructors who are not only talented writers but are gifted teachers. Students have a chance to network with other writers, and agents often do visit campuses to meet students. Some students are offered contracts based on their writing. However, at the end of the day, most MFA students graduate without a literary agent and/or a contract with a publishing house. Many end up in debt and with limited job prospects.

So what do you think? Does the UK need the MFA in Creative Writing program?


Matt Curran said...

Hi Ann

It's interesting this has now come over to the UK, though without knowing the nitty-gritty of the course I guess it's hard to know how ground-breaking it actually is. The University of Anglia has been running Writing Masters for sometime now, and I studied for a Masters in Creative Writing in the 1990's at Sheffield Hallam University, which was taught by writers such as Barry Hinds and Lesley Glaister.
In my day the course was composed of a number of modules such as short prose, novel writing, play writing and poetry. You could major in any one of those subjects (I majored in novel writing - though for financial reasons I left the course after the first year and went it alone).
I think having an MFA available in the UK won't harm writers here, though if these courses aren't competitive enough compared to their more established UK counterparts they may find paying students thin on the ground given today's financial climate and the availability of well-regarded writing masters elsewhere…

Emerging Writer said...

What's the difference between an MA and an MFA (other than the price?)

Alexa CD V said...

Isn't Kingston University's MA Creative Writing quite well-respected? Hanif Kureishi is a teacher there, and, looking at their website, he is just one in a long list of well-respected and successful authors that do.

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