Postgraduate MA

Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

On our course in Creative Writing you will develop work at the cutting-edge of new and evolving practices so that it really stands out, making it unique and distinctively attractive to the current market. You will do this by playing to your strengths while engaging with fundamental issues in the theory of literature. As a result you will produce highly original and exciting creative writing in prose, poetry or script, hybrid, visual or experimental forms, while further developing your personal practice through critical reflection.

This programme will be of interest to writers of prose, poetry, scripts and other forms. You will not be required to commit to any one form, and will have the opportunity to move between or mix forms if you wish.

You will:
  • Learn from internationally published and performed award-winning writers in a vibrant environment that nurtures your creative development.
  • Develop innovative approaches to creative writing that makes your work cutting-edge, while playing to your strength and interests.
  • Invest your writing with rigour and depth, interacting with theoretical ideas to provide a unique preparation for a creative writing phd.

Find out more by signing up to our upcoming Open Day, or if you have any generic questions please contact course enquiries.

You find helpful FAQs, learn more about student life at Salford or explore all our English courses. Continue reading to understand more about this MA Creative Writing: Innovation and Experiment course.  

This is for you if...


You are a humanities graduate or experienced creative writer who is looking to challenge your conceptions of literature.


You would like to develop your creative writing in new ways.


You would like to gain an introduction to further creative study before progressing on to a PhD.

Course details

All about the course

The course offers you the opportunity to develop your writing and to challenge your creative habits.

You will be invited to:
  • Produce original creative writing in prose, poetry, script or other forms, including the hybrid, visual and experimental
  • Focus on furthering your creative writing skills in one-to-one supervisions
  • Engage with fundamental issues in the theory of literature and apply them to exciting and original creative work
  • Develop an ongoing personal practice through reflection on creative achievement and speculation on future development.

You will explore the role of theory in creative writing – engaging with fundamental issues that have influenced the development of innovative and experimental writing. You will engage with the rich legacy of experimental writing from the 1950s onwards, learning about its links to theory. You will be encouraged to try out experiments, defining what innovation means in your own writing as you push the boundaries of your creative practice in an adventurous way, with rich and highly original results.


You will write original work in a stimulating and supportive workshop environment, drawing on fundamental issues relating to innovative creative writing and applying these to your own practice where appropriate. You will reflect on how your social, political and gender positioning influences your creative production. You will develop and extend the boundaries of your creative practice so that your work really stands out in its field, unique, original and deeply interesting. You will also receive training in how to conduct yourself as a professional writer in the academic and cultural worlds.


As the culmination of this course of study, you will undertake an ambitious, large-scale independent creative project which will allow you to pursue the creative questions which fascinate you in more detail, developing uniquely original work to a high publication standard.

Trimester one

Theory, Text, Writing

A series of lecture and seminars on philosophical contributions to major questions surrounding contemporary writing:

  • What is a literary text?
  • What is the relationship between language and writing?
  • How can one write politically?
  • How does one’s awareness of gender affect writing?

We will be reading the work of Freud, Marx, Derrida and others, examining how a wide variety of contemporary writers have explored these questions in creative practice including Charles Bernstein, Caroline Bergvall, David Eggers, Christine Brooke-Rose and many more.

Experimental Practice

A series of workshops and seminars, this module explores the history of new creative techniques over the last 60-70 years and examines how writers have sought new forms for expression to address rapidly changing realities.

Topics covered may include:

  • Conceptual Writing.
  • New Narrative.
  • Visual, sound and concrete poetry.
  • The use of mathematical rules and constraints in writing.

You can also study Experimental Practice as a standalone single module.

Trimester two

Professional Practice

This module deals with the public and academic aspects of the literary arts, including topics such as:

  • The public value of the arts
  • Marketing, publishing and networking
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Effective oral presentations

Writing Workshop

You will undertake a series of workshops in which you share your own creative projects with fellow students and a writing tutor. Work will be submitted regularly in advance to the group and the tutor, who will make detailed preparation for the workshops including annotated material. This workshop provides a context for an on-going creative exploration of how theoretical ideas can influence and inform creative practice.

Trimester three

Dissertation: Creative Project

The Creative Project gives you regular one-to-one tutorial support as your pursue your creative vision. You will be encouraged to draw on your knowledge of theory, experimentation and your own developing practice. Reading material will be negotiated on an individual basis depending on your chosen area.

Part-time study

Year one, trimester one

  • Theory Text Writing (30 credits)

Year one, trimester two

  • Writing Workshop (30 credits)

Year two, trimester one

  • Writing Workshop (30 Credits) 

Year two, trimester two

Professional Practice (30 credits)

Year two, trimester three

Final Project (60 Credits)

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


Written assignments


Final creative project

Your own creative activity is the main driver for learning on this course. It is supported by regular workshops, lectures and seminars, personal tutorials, masterclasses with visiting writers and other activities such as event attendance.

Students on the full-time and part-time routes will study together and have additional opportunities to share and discuss work via the university’s virtual learning environment.


All our English courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Our School and University have strong and long-lasting relationships with local and national industry. 

Once you graduate with us, you’ll join a thriving alumni community in Greater Manchester and beyond.

Dr Ursula Hurley, Senior Lecturer and module leader

'I work in experimental and innovative auto/biographical practices, ranging from historical narratives to digitally fabricated artefacts. My most recent work in this area is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, ‘In the Making’, exploring embodiment, disability and 3D printing. Initial findings appear in an essay for the international journal, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies.

Beyond this, I have just finished a book on the uncanny qualities of digital fabrication, entitled In The Making, and students will be invited to engage with my research on this during the Theory, Text, Writing module on the MA. In addition, I publish widely on auto-biographical practice and the pedagogy of writing with presses including Palgrave Macmillan. Find more detail on my writing.

Recent achievements for my creative work include: First Prize in the Unbound Press Creative Non-Fiction Competition; short-listed for the Kingston University Press Short Biography Prize; and shortlisted for the Biographers' Club Tony Lothian Prize for an uncommissioned biography.'


Employment and stats

What about after uni?


The aim of this course is to encourage you to challenge and develop yourself creatively as a writer whilst informing you about the contexts and techniques of contemporary literature. Graduates may use it as part of their career development in teaching, publishing, arts administration or journalism or as a means of access to doctoral study.


Postgraduate research in Creative Writing is co-ordinated by the English Literature, Language and Creative Practice Research group in the Arts Media and Communication Research Centre, headed by Dr Scott Thurston. The group explores hybrid and inter-disciplinary ways of working and in our examination of marginal, experimental and emergent practices. We are concerned with looking at the overlooked and teasing out readings of neglected and/or transgressive authors and cultural practices. From looking at writing conflict in Northern Ireland to Victorian Sensation fiction, from discontented minds in Early Modern Drama to the representation of serial killers in film and fiction, from African modernism to experimental poetry, from the hidden meanings of place names to discourse analysis – our work is searching, critically-engaged and culturally relevant.

A key strength of the group is in the practice and study of innovative writing, covering experimental and literary fiction, young adult fiction, innovative poetry, visual text, scriptwriting, devising and directing for stage, performance, adaptation, autobiography and translation.  Find out more.

Recent successes include:
  • Chrissi Nerantzi’s blog, including discussion of her experience of the Creative Writing MA 
  • Jazmine Linklater’s current work in the marketing department of Carcanet Press; 
  • Kayleigh McGuire’s apprenticeship with the Arts Council; 
  • John Mansell (writer name John Blakemore) ‘What Love is’ in Purple Reign anthology, Erbaccce Press, 2019
  • Leanne Bridgewater, Confessions of a Cyclist, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press:
  • Richard Barrett, Hugz, The Knives Forks and Spoons Press:
  • Nia Davies’ first full-length poetry collection with high-profile publisher Bloodaxe Books.
  • Nigel Wood and Joanne Langton co-editing The Dark Would anthology of Language Art with Phil Davenport.
  • Leanne Bridgewater’s work as a librarian in Coventry and publication of her first full-length collection with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press.
  • Richard Barrett as widely-published poet and editor of Happy Books.
  • Stephen Emmerson as a well-published poet with work from the if p then q press and co-editor of the magazine and small press BLART books.
  • Jazmine Linklater’s first collection for Dock Road Press.
  • Joanne Langton’s work as editor with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and current post teaching English in Mexico (she also published her first collection with KFS).

All of these writers performed at The Other Room poetry reading series in Manchester (2008-2018).

Career Links


Many of our graduates participate actively in literary culture through organising and entering literary competitions, setting up and editing anthologies, publishing work elsewhere, and taking up internships with publishers of poetry and fiction or in arts administration.

Whether our students are writers of experimental prose, poetry or script, mixed-media creators, visual text makers or performance artists, we prepare Creative Writing MA graduates for a life in the creative industries, offering instruction on production and project funding bids, PhD applications, and journal writing.

The course benefits from a programme of visiting writers to the English Subject Group. In addition, at least two workshops per academic year are convened by key figures in innovative writing. Past visitors have included: Lucy Burnett, Robert Sheppard, Phil Davenport, Allen Fisher, Camille Martin, Carrie Etter, Philip Kuhn, Tony Trehy and Christine Kennedy.

Other industry links are Carcanet Press who offer one week’s internship in their marketing department, Arts Council England, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Knives Forks and Spoons Poetry Press, Portico Library and Working Class Movement Library.

Previous graduates have gone onto further study and training and participated in literary culture through organizing literary competitions and publishing creative work. Recent successes include: Kayleigh McGuire’s apprenticeship with the Arts Council; Fereshteh Mozaffari’s Arts Council funded public procductions of Bring Me the Mountain; Nia Davies’ first full-length poetry collection with high-profile publisher Bloodaxe Books; Nigel Wood and Joanne Langton co-editing The Dark Would anthology of Language Art with Phil Davenport; Nigel Wood editing a collection of writings on the work of poet Alan Halsey; Leanne Bridgewater’s work as a librarian in Coventry and publication of her first full-length collection with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press; Richard Barrett as widely-published poet and editor of Department Press; Stephen Emmerson as a well-published poet with work from the if p then q press and co-editor of the magazine and small press BLART books; Jazmine Linklater’s first collection for Dock Road Press; Jazmine Linklater’s current work in the marketing department of Carcanet Press; Joanne Langton’s work as editor with The Knives Forks and Spoons Press, and current post teaching English in Mexico (she also published her first collection with KFS). All of these writers have performed at The Other Room reading series.


What you need to know

The programme is for humanities graduates and/or experienced creative writers who are looking to challenge their conceptions of literature and develop their own practice in new ways, so that they really stand out in their field. The course also functions as an introduction to further creative study at PhD level.

You will be encouraged to be open to new ways of thinking and to be flexible about experimenting in your creative work. At the same time you will also have considerable freedom to identify and develop your own writing projects.

You will also be invited to reflect on your creative achievements in order to understand your practice more fully, to present it to others (e.g. writers, audiences, publishers, agents) and to identify areas for future exploration.

You may be asked to attend an interview for a place on this course. You should bring an appropriate portfolio of work, clearly demonstrating an established creative practice. A portfolio should contain work that shows a good range of skills, some originality and knowledge of literature.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

Applicants to this course must have a good honours degree (2.1) in English literature, language or related subject.

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: The Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14,670per year
Part-time 2020/21 £1,320 per 30 credits for home
Full-time home 2021/22 £8,100per year
Full-time international 2021/22 £15030per year
Part-time 2021/22 £1,350 per 30 credits for home
Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
We have a range of scholarships available for students applying for courses in 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Our Global Gold Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,500 and our Global Silver Excellence Scholarship is worth £3,000 - both are available for students studying in our 2021/22 intakes.

We also offer the Salford International Excellence Scholarship which offers up to £5,000 discount on tuition fees. As this is a prestigious award we have a limited number of these scholarships available.

See the full range of our International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2020