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Author Ian McEwan supports new creative writing courses launched by UEA and Guardian Masterclasses

Thu, 26 May 2011

The University of East Anglia and Guardian Masterclasses today announced a partnership to offer a series of creative writing masterclasses.

These courses, to take place in London, will be taught by award-winning authors including, Gillian Slovo, Geoff Dyer, Sarah Hall, Adam Foulds, Bernardine Evaristo and Ross Raisin. Guardian Masterclasses and UEA have designed this series of courses to appeal to those that have a serious ambition to become a writer but do not necessarily have time to complete a masters degree.

Ian McEwan, a former UEA student, said: "This is an exciting and timely initiative. UEA and the Guardian already make a significant contribution to the literary culture of this country. By working together they will provide a powerful focus and opportunity for people to discover what they can achieve at different stages of their writing lives."

Vice-Chancellor of UEA, Professor Edward Acton, said: "The University of East Anglia pioneered the teaching of creative writing in UK universities over forty years ago and continues to lead the field internationally. Our alumni include three Man Booker Prize winners among a host of other highly successful contemporary novelists. We are delighted to form this partnership with the Guardian which we believe will enable us to share this expertise among a broader range of people who want to improve their writing."

Sarah Hall, author of The Electric Michelangelo and How To Paint A Dead Man, said of her involvement: "I'm delighted to be involved with this new writing program. In the role of tutor I like to feel I'm 'at the coalface' of literature - helping students work on their manuscripts. This course has been designed specifically to help writers progress through the most difficult stages of their projects. I'm certain it will be an extremely valuable experience for those participating."

Three courses will be on offer and each course is aimed at a different level of experience. Those interested in joining level 2 and 3 will be asked to submit work and may be asked to attend an interview.

Level 1: How to tell a story - this level will focus on the art of good storytelling and will introduce students to the craft of narrative fiction. Over six months students will learn the component parts to creating a story, how to establish a strong foundation and key techniques employed by authors in a workshop environment. Through this course students will discover direction, their own personal style and will be assessed at the end.

Level 2: How to complete a first draft of a novel - during this level students will be taught over six months how to develop an idea into a first draft through workshops, individual tutorials, exercises and further reading. At the end of this level students will be coached in preparing for the future and will meet with literary agents and editors as well as undergoing an assessment.

Level 3: How to finish a work of fiction - this level is for writers who are ready to undertake the demanding process of establishing a final draft. Over nine months students will work in small groups and have one-on-one sessions with the tutors who will give detailed responses and guidance on their written work. By the end of this course students will have a final draft that can be presented to an agent and editors and the course directors will give advice on whom to approach.

The courses are endorsed by the University of East Anglia, which recently came third overall in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2011. UEA was the first university to establish a creative writing masters degree and its alumni include a number of renowned writers such as Kazuo Ishiguro, Anne Enright, Tash Aw, Adam Foulds and Tracy Chevalier. Ian McEwan also studied creative writing for his MA in English Literature at UEA and the university's reputation makes it well placed to reward aspiring writers.

For further information and to book a place visit:, or call course director Patrick Keogh on 020 335 32612.