English and Creative Writing

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Welcome to the English and Creative Writing Digital Open Day

Studying English and Creative Writing

Studying English and Creative Writing

Studying English Literature or Creative Writing at Roehampton offers you more than learning in the classroom. You will graduate having met famous authors and learned about their work, gained contacts and experience that will help your career, and you may even see your work in print. Here is just some of what we can offer you.

Rich resources:

  • Facilities: Our beautiful library has thousands of books and resources, including special collections of Childrens’ Literature and the Richmal Compton archive
  • Guest speakers: Attend special lectures and have lunch with bestselling authors at our regular events, which have previously featured Anthony Horowitz, Emma Donoghue and Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Experienced lecturers: You will be taught by published authors and academics who will share their knowledge and experience with you
  • Networking opportunities: We hold special networking evenings that are attended by a range of professionals, including agents, publishers, teachers, marketing professionals and librarians
  • Internships and volunteering: We are partnered with major literary festivals and organisations, such as Wimbledon Bookfest and Battersea Arts Centre, which offer internships and volunteering
  • Beautiful campus: Our tranquil green campus offers plenty of reading spots, whilst London’s libraries and literary culture are just half an hour away
  • Study abroad: Take the opportunity to study abroad, either for a week as part of a module or for a semester on the Study Abroad programme
  • Publish your work: Roehampton’s Fincham Press publishes anthologies of student works and peer reviewed journals

Famous literary locations near us

Studying English and Creative Writing at Roehampton means you have all that being in London offers, as well as being surrounded historical literary figures in a location that has inspired important works of fiction. From Shakespeare and Dickens to Woolf and Bernard Shaw, London has been home to many famous writers over the centuries. 

Barnes, just down the road from Roehampton in South West London is home to the Barnes Children's Literature Festival and has been the base for several well known writers over the years, including Judith Kerr, creator of the much-loved The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog. Barnes was also home to another children's writer, Dodie Smith, who wrote The Hundred and One Dalmations and I Capture the Castle.

Literary London

Literary London

Find out more about the course you are interested in

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Creative Writing - Tim Atkins

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English Literature - Alberto Fernandez-Carbajal

Taught modules

Roehampton has an impressive range of modules; you will be able to study traditional topics, such as Shakespeare and Dickens, but also choose to take modules that will allow you to explore literature from first and second generation immigrants to Britain from the Caribbean and South Asia, American literature, and blogging.

Below is a small sample of modules taught on our courses.

Creative Writing

Writing London (first year module)
London is an extraordinary city, in which history, culture, and desire collide, and has inspired writing for hundreds of years. You will have guided tours and learn different ways the city can act as source, setting and inspiration for creative writing.

Telling True Stories (second year module)
Learn to use the full range of narrative techniques to tell stories about real people, places and events and consider the benefits for all writers that can be gained from professional reporting skills beyond traditional journalism.

Comics and Children's Books (third year module)
Explore the dynamic relationship between image and texts in both picture books and comics. The ways in which these shape the reader's experience will be contrasted with prose texts written for Young Adults.

Publishing: From Book to Internet (third year module)
Learn about the fast-changing world of publishing, and different ways of working with words, anchored in an understanding of past and current trends. Through directed readings and practical assignments, it looks behind the public face of texts to understand the steps that occur after an author 'finishes' a text.

 

 

English Literature

London in Literature (first year module)
Think about how London has been constructed in literature and other cultural forms over the last few centuries, and explore London as a city of constant change through studying texts and taking field trips to different areas of the city. You will think about Victorian London, imperialism, the post-war settlement and the influx of new cultures, immigration, ethnicity, gender, the construction of public transport and the impact of new technologies.

Continental Connections: Study Trip (second year module)
Visit a foreign city and discover first-hand the places and artefacts in literary sites, and learn about the relationship between writers, literature and contexts.

Literature on Screen (third year module)
Investigate the study of literature as an interdisciplinary and multimedia form. You will examine a range of genres and styles, including film, television, screenplays and playscripts.

Fincham Press – see your work in print

Fincham Press is Roehampton's very own University publishing press and is run by a team of staff and students, publishing an anthology of student work every year. Fincham Press also publishes two open access, peer-reviewed journals; International Journal of James Bond Studies and RoundTable, run by the department's research students, which gives a platform for early career research in their fields.

Alumni

Haleh Agar, a Canadian-Iranian novelist, graduated from Roehampton's MA Creative Writing progrmame in 2017. Her debut novel about a fractured family, OUT OF TOUCH, will be published by W&N (Orion, Hachette) on April 2nd 2020.

Haleh has been published in literary magazines and journals, including Mslexia, Viva Magazine, Fincham Press and Lamplight Magazine. Her short story, 'Not Contagious' was Highly Commended by the Costa Short Story Award. She won the Brighton Prize for a piece of flash fiction, and her narrative essay 'On Writing Ethnic Stories' won the London Magazine's inaugural essay competition. She is currently working on her second novel.

Haleh Agar

What journey did you take from joining Roehampton to being published?

Writing a novel means drafting and redrafting. It means that you aren’t precious about your words. The Creative Writing MA was the beginning for me, where ideas started to take shape. The manuscript is very different now than it was when I was an MA student. This is something I think every aspiring writer needs to be comfortable with—change. You have to be able to break your manuscript at any stage to make it better.

Once I was happy with my revisions, I queried literary agents and was lucky enough to have choices. My amazing agent Camilla really got me as a writer and so we started our partnership together. She and the team at Darley Anderson helped guide me with suggestions for further revisions before we submitted to publishers.

Why did you want to do your degree?

I was always interested in creative writing but lacked the confidence. The MA helped give me the confidence I needed to take my work forward. Importantly, the MA  gave me time to work on the novel. 

How did Roehampton support your writing?

My supervisors were so encouraging and supportive. They gave me critical feedback on my work and a lot of encouragement. Leone Ross and Peter Jaeger were wonderful with their feedback and support. So often with writing there’s a crisis of confidence, and sometimes, we just need someone to say—you can do this, you’ve got this.

Where did your idea come from?

I love writing about complex relationships, particularly families. Ideas come from lived experiences and the culture around you. The movie Shame about a brother and sister who both struggle to cope with childhood trauma, really got to me, and I started thinking about my characters--estranged siblings, Michael and Ava.

How did you nurture that idea?

It's a matter of reading and writing EVERY day. Not waiting around for inspiration. That being said, the writing process  is also one of co-creation. Once you are tapped into the characters and understand their inner worlds, they will often take you to unexpected places that were not part of the original outline. You must be willing to accept such deviations. I am also nothing without the books I’ve read. Authors who really inspire me like Anne Enright and Alice Munro are my teachers. 

Can you talk us through the steps that you took to write your first book?

Once, the general idea of the plot and characters came to me, I wrote a thousand words a day. This means that in a few months, I had a first draft. But of course the first draft will be quite different from the final product. I love the revisions and editing phase. Taking a short break after the first draft means you can revisit the manuscript with fresh eyes. And of course, other eyes help a lot. Gaining distance from your work is crucial so that you can see it in more objective terms.

The tough question is—when do you know when the manuscript is ready? It’s not easy to tell. But if there’s something bothering you about it, if deep down you know that there are things that don’t quite work yet, then don't ignore the feeling. For example, when reading over the book after the first few drafts, I noticed parts where the pace slowed for me, parts I didn't enjoy reading, and I realised that the voice was missing in those places. So I infused voice into such sections, or got rid of them completely, if they could be cut. You get one chance to send that manuscript to your dream agent, so it makes sense to take the time, to see what works for you, and what doesn't.

How did you take your book from manuscript to published piece?

Even once you’ve got the perfect home for your book with a publisher, there’s a lot of work to be done. Your editor will request revisions—structural, and line edits. I can’t even tell you what draft number I’m on! Every time you think—oh yes, this is the one, think again! It’s much easier for me now that I’m working with professionals in the industry who can point me in the right direction. The key again, is to be comfortable with change. That being said, if something is important to you, and your editor is asking for you to change it, make the case-- explain why it works, how you feel it adds to the story. The editorial process should be one of dialogue, and I was lucky enough to have an editor who practiced this.

What have you got planned next?

I’m working on my second novel, and I'm very excited about it. I also dabble into short fiction every now and then for a change, and I find the variety keeps me inspired. You want to stay inspired!

Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour

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Have a look around our campus using our new virtual tour.

View highlighted accommodation, department buildings, student life and student support spaces.

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Student Life

Student Life

Why Roehampton?

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Being a student at a campus university in London gives you the best of both worlds. We are lucky enough to have a 54-acre parkland campus to call home, and are only 30 minutes from central London.

We offer plenty of opportunities for you to get involved through playing sport, music, volunteering, or joining one of over 50 student societies. We also have catering outlets, across campus, and each College has social spaces where you can meet up with your friends and relax.

Our campus is close to Putney, Hammersmith and Wimbledon, which each have wide a range of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. With central London so close, you can easily access the wealth of culture, entertainment and dining options the capital has to offer.

Accommodation

Accommodation

We have among the most affordable student accommodation in London and can offer all new students a place in halls. We have a range of options to suit all tastes and budgets. Each room is:

  • Single occupancy
  • Furnished
  • En-suite or semi en-suite
  • Self-catered with shared kitchen facilities

Fees also include utility bills and contents insurance. We have Flat Reps and wardens living in on-campus accommodation to provide support and information when you need it.

View our on-campus accommodation  

Support services

Support services

Meet our Wellbeing Team

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At Roehampton we are focused on ensuring you succeed, and have a wide range of support services to help you at every step of your journey.

Wellbeing – our team are able to provide personal wellbeing support, professional counselling and mental health support. Each college has a Student Wellbeing Officer and a College Warden, the latter is available after hours for all on campus students.

Medical – we have an on-site NHS medical centre which provides doctor and nurse-led services.

Disability and dyslexia – we encourage students to let us know about specific needs so we can work with you to tailor our support.

Financial – we have a wide range of scholarships, and a student hardship fund for those students in financial difficulty.

Chaplaincy – our diverse community is reflected in our multi-faith chaplaincy and we have a number of spaces for worship.

Study support – all students have an Academic Guidance Tutor, as well as access to library support and online study resources.

Next steps

Next steps

We hope you found our Digital Open Day informative

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We hope you found our Digital Open Day informative

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