MA in Life Writing
The MA Life Writing has been suspended for the next two years (2013/14, 2014/15) while a new MA programme is being developed that will include life writing - as creative practice, as well as the critical study of its forms and histories - alongside other forms of creative non-fiction. In the meantime, the Department remains committed to life writing as an area of teaching and research strength, supported by the Centre for Life-Writing Research. We welcome applicants wishing to specialise in this area, who can be accommodated on two of our other programmes: the MA in English: 1850 – Present, and the MA in 18th Century Studies. On these programmes it will be possible to write a dissertation on a life writing topic; to take optional modules such as Biographical Writing, Autobiographical Writing, Life Writing 1700-1850 or Illness Narrative as Fiction and Life Writing.
Teaching by international experts
The course will be taught by internationally recognised life writing scholars, published biographers and creative writers - including this year's Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award winner Edmund Gordon. Students will finish the course able to theorise and historicise a variety of life writing genres: autobiography, biography, letters, diaries and blogs, ghost-written celebrity memoirs, travel writing, prison writing, confessions, testimonies, war reminiscences, vindications, obituaries, and illness narratives. Practical exercises in biography and creative non-fiction will give students training in the researching and writing of life stories.
The MA encourages the exploration of seminal literary texts, marginal life stories, and extra-textual media too: film biographies, oral histories, postcards, (self-) portraiture, digital stories, and performance art. Where some may wish to focus on particular periods and genres, there will also be an opportunity to investigate how life writing has responded to historical change and technological innovation.
London resources on your doorstep
The course capitalises on the central location of King's: London's museums, galleries and archives offer inspiration and a wealth of research materials for investigating and practising life writing. The AHRC has recently funded life writing doctorates in collaboration with the British Library and the Imperial War Museum. The MA offers an ideal platform for embarking upon PhD study: an opportunity to present a more extended critical dissertation, to write a biography, or to develop a work of creative non-fiction.
Listen to the podcast
Listen to the podcast (right of the page), with the MA's convenor Professor Max Saunders, talking about the Centre for Life Writing and its work.