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Queen's Anniversary Prize for University of East Anglia Creative Writing programme

Wed, 22 Feb 2012

Staff and students from the University of East Anglia's Creative Writing programme will receive a medal and certificate signed by the Queen this Friday.

The programme - which has aided the careers of so many contemporary authors - is to be awarded a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education.

This is the UK's most prestigious higher education award, given to those who can demonstrate outstanding work at a world-class level.

Five students currently studying on the world-renowned Creative Writing MA will travel to Buckingham Palace to accept the award, alongside course director Andrew Cowan.

Prof Jean Boase-Beier, head of UEA's school of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, and Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge, head of the Arts and Humanities graduate school, will also attend the event.

They will be awarded with a silver gilt medal and certificate signed personally by Her Majesty the Queen.

The award comes as the university celebrates the 40th anniversary of its Creative Writing MA, which counts Booker Prize-winners Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Anne Enright among its alumni.

Founded in 1970-71 by Sir Angus Wilson and Sir Malcolm Bradbury, it was the first course of its kind in the country and is known worldwide.

The programme has grown to encompass courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and research level, with MA strands in Prose Fiction, Poetry, Scriptwriting and Lifewriting. In 1987 the department launched the UK's first PhD in Creative and Critical Writing.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Edward Acton said: "I am absolutely delighted that UEA has come to be renowned nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence in this now thriving academic discipline. We were the first UK university to offer Creative Writing 40 years ago, and I believe we are still seen as a benchmark for others. It is an honour to be recognised, once again, at this very highest level."

Director of Creative Writing, Andrew Cowan, said: "This is a tremendous accolade because it not only recognises UEA's groundbreaking role in establishing Creative Writing as an academic discipline in the UK, and the unrivalled success of our alumni in achieving publication and major literary awards - it also recognises the continuing excellence of what we do. This is a very exciting time in the development of our programme, with many initiatives under way, and this award is hugely encouraging as we continue to innovate and expand."

Prof David Peters Corbett, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, said: "UEA has long been exceptional among UK universities in its willingness to blend academic and creative work. It is a tradition the university proudly continues to this day, and it owes a profound debt to the Creative Writing programme.

"Over the last 40 years, the programme has been host to a distinguished series of tutors and to a striking number of future successful authors who have come to UEA to study with them. Creative Writing is a jewel in the university's crown and this award is a wonderful acknowledgement of an intellectually dynamic feature of Humanities at UEA."

The Queen's Anniversary Prize medal and certificate will be presented by the Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on February 24. Prizewinners are entitled to use the Queen's Prizes logo for four years.

In 2010, the university's School of International Development and its pioneering charitable company, International Development UEA, received the Queen's Anniversary Prize for more than 40 years' sustained and highly respected responses to environmental change and poverty in some of the world's poorest countries.