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The PhD in Creative Writing at King’s is a practice-led course, incorporating taught elements and aspects of professional development. It is designed to cater for talented, committed writers who are looking to complete a book-length creative work for publication and sustain a long-term career in writing.
Our unique programme offers students:
- a varied, structured framework for the development of their creative work, with regular feedback from experienced author-lecturers in the department through supervision and workshops
- purposeful engagement with professionals from the publishing and performance industries throughout the course, building potential routes to publication
- valuable teaching experience in creative writing at HE-level through our Graduate Teaching Assistantship scheme
- practical experience in public engagement, through curating and chairing public literary events at King’s
- a community of fellow writers and collaborative projects
We have over 100 doctoral students from all over the world working on a wide range of projects. Together with our community of postdoctoral fellows, our early career researchers both organise and participate in our thriving seminar and conference culture.
The English department is home to award-winning novelists, poets, essayists, biographers, non-fiction authors, and literary critics, who supervise creative projects at doctoral level within their specialisms.
Works by our staff have won or been shortlisted for a number of literary accolades, including: the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize, the Man Booker Prize, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, the Costa First Novel Award, the Costa Poetry Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Commonwealth Book Prize, the Biographers’ Club / Slightly Foxed First Biography Prize, the U.S. National Book Critics Circle Award, the CWA Gold Dagger Award, the European Union Prize for Literature, the RSL Encore Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Letters, le Prix du Roman Fnac, le Prix du Roman Etranger, the Kiriyama Prize, the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Royal Society of Literature’s Encore Award, and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Many of the creative writing staff are Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature.
Their most recent publications are:
The Young Accomplice (Penguin Viking, 2022) – fiction
A Station on the Path to Somewhere Better (Scribner, 2018) – fiction
The Invention of Angela Carter (Chatto & Windus, 2016) – creative non-fiction
Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015) – poetry
Sonnets for Albert (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022) – poetry
The Frequency of Magic (Peepal Tree Press, 2019) – fiction
The Group (John Murray Press, 2020) – fiction
Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing (Bloomsbury, 2018) – creative non-fiction
Homing: On Pigeons, Dwellings, and Why We Return (John Murray Press, 2019) – creative non-fiction
Daughters of the Labyrinth (Corsair, 2021) – fiction
Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life (Chatto & Windus, 2020) – poetry
Emerald (Chatto & Windus, 2018) – poetry
Mayflies (Faber & Faber, 2020) – fiction
The Secret Life: Three True Stories (Faber & Faber, 2017) – creative non-fiction
*may vary according to research leave and availability.
The list of King’s alumni not only features many acclaimed contemporary authors—Michael Morpurgo, Alain de Botton, Hanif Kureishi, Marina Lewycka, Susan Hill, Lawrence Norfolk, Ross Raisin, Alexander Masters, Anita Brookner, and Helen Cresswell—it also includes major figures in literature, such as Maureen Duffy, Arthur C Clarke, Thomas Hardy, Christopher Isherwood, BS Johnson, John Keats, W. Somerset Maugham, and Virginia Woolf.
Our postgraduate writing students are given a supportive environment in which to enhance their technique, to explore the depths of their ideas, to sustain their creative motivation, and to prepare them for the demands of the writer’s life beyond the College.
At King's we know that writing well requires self-discipline and an ability to work productively in isolation; but we also appreciate that postgraduate writers thrive when they are part of a community of fellow authors, an environment of constructive criticism and shared endeavour.
That is why we offer our PhD students the guidance of knowledgeable and experienced practitioners. They will have frequent opportunities to interact and collaborate with peers and forge lasting connections within London’s writing industry.
Students will be expected to attend the quarterly Thesis Workshop, and also to take an active part in curating literary events at King’s, including the Poetry And… quarterly reading series. They will be invited to apply for positions teaching undergraduate creative writing modules as part of the Department’s Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) scheme.
After three years (full-time) or six years (part-time), students are expected to submit either:
- a novel or short story collection
- a poetry collection
- a full-length work of creative non-fiction
In addition, they are also required to submit an essay (up to 15,000 words) that examines their practical approach to the conception, development, and revision of their project, and which explores how their creative work was informed by research (archival, book-based, or experiential).
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