Creative Writing at Lancaster
Lancaster was one of the very first universities to teach Creative Writing, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We host the world’s longest-running Distance Learning MA Programme in Creative Writing and, in 1997, awarded the first-ever PhD in Creative Writing – this was to Andrew Miller for his novel Ingenious Pain (Sceptre) which went on to win the IMPAC Award in 1999.
Celebrated Author Tutors
We continue to lead in the discipline with our celebrated author-tutors (three of whom are Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature), our student-centred teaching, our rich programme of free and open-to-all literary events, many in Lancaster’s historic Castle Quarter, our long-running student-run literary journals (Cake and Flash), and our close ties with Lancaster LitFest.
Our author-tutors currently include: novelists such as Jenn Ashworth, Elen Caldecott, Oliver K. Langmead, Okechukwu Nzelu, Conor O'Callaghan; playwrights such as Tajinder Hayer, Danile Bye, and John Schad; poets such as Sarah Corbett, Paul Farley, Eoghan Walls, Michelene Wandor, Lucy Burnett, and Catherine Spooner; short fiction writers such as Zoe Lambert, Saleel Nurbhai, and Veronica Turiano; and word-image specialists such as Mary Talbot, Brian Baker, and Ines Gregori Labarta.
Finally, our author-tutors have won or been listed for the Betty Trask Award; Portico Prize; BBC National Short Story Award; Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize; Tir na n-Og Award; Carnegie Medal; Somerset Maugham Award; Whitbread Poetry Prize; TS Eliot Prize; Costa Book Award; Edge Hill Prize; Papatango Prize; Eric Gregory Award; Crashaw Prize; Bridport Prize; Pigott Poetry Prize; Desmond Elliott Prize; and Polari First Book Prize.
Form and Genres
As one of the largest Creative Writing programmes in the UK, we have expertise in a host of forms and genres, and so are able to offer a very wide range of modules.*
At undergraduate level we currently offer the following modules:
• Short Fiction: Genre and Practice
• Poetry: Genre and Practice
• Creative Non-Fiction: Memoir & Life-Writing
• Writing Place and Landscape
• Writing for the Stage
• Longer Fiction: Approaching a Novel
• Writing/Reading Poetry
• Advanced Short Story: Form and Practice
• Poetry and Experiment
• Writing Fiction for Young People
• Writing Adaptations: Stage, Radio, Podcasts
• Elements of Tragedy
• Writing Fantasy and Sci-fi
• Writing for Games
At Master's level we currently offer the following modules:
• Approaching the novel
• Extended Prose for Young People
• Seeing Things: Visualizing Poetry
• The Contemporary Short Story
• The Personal Essay
• Writing Games
• Writing Poetry Today
• Writing Radio and Podcast Drama
• Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy
*Not all modules are available every year
In addition, we currently have, as Visiting Professors, Paul Muldoon and Mary Talbot, each of whom not only give undergraduate lectures and public talks but also offer specialist workshops one-to-one tutorials. Paul Muldoon has won both the Pulitzer Prize and T. S. Eliot Prize for his work, and described by The Guardian as ‘the most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War.’ Mary Talbot is an internationally acclaimed graphic novelist, whose first novel, Dotter of her Father's Eyes (with Bryan Talbot), won the 2012 Costa Biography Award, and is about James Joyce’s daughter Luce.
Students as authors
Many of our students have gone on to careers as authors themselves – for example: Andrew Miller (PhD), winner of Costa Book of the Year, 2011; Andrew McMillan (BA), winner of The Guardian First Book Award, 2015; Daisy Johnson (BA), youngest-ever author shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2018; and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (PhD), winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize in Fiction, 2018; and Camille Ralphs (BA) author of After You Were I Am (Faber, 2024)