Written by Guest blogger
Hi, I’m Nikki Mennen! I’m from the Netherlands and came all the way to Bournemouth to study MA in Creative Writing and Publishing. Are you thinking of coming to BU as well for this creative postgraduate course, or are you just curious about what we do? Let me tell you about my experience!
Why Bournemouth University?
After an undergraduate and MSc in Journalism in the Netherlands, I came to the UK to focus on my creative side and to develop a strong foundation to become a published children’s author (my life-long dream). As none of the universities in the Netherlands offers a postgraduate in Creative Writing, I gratefully came to Bournemouth to finish my student career with an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing.
Diversity inspires creativity
There is a very diverse mixture of backgrounds and personalities on our course. We have students with background in English, journalism, scriptwriting, illustrating, media studies and many more. The age spectrum goes from 23 to 60 and we have students from all over the world. Everyone has its own reason for being on this course. Some want to become published writers, others want to work in a publishing company and a few want to teach writing to others.
Tailored to suit your interests
I feel like the course is especially designed to give enough freedom to work on your own interests, while giving you enough structure to help you develop your technical skills. As I am interested in children’s fiction, I focus on this young audience in my assignments.
A lot happens in one year!
This MA lasts one year if you do the full time option, and is divided into three terms. The first term is all about creative writing, in which you do plenty of writing exercises, learn about the theory behind (interactive) narratives and develop a short story of your own. The second term focuses on the publishing side of writing and you learn about marketing and PR, publishing cultures and editing. The third term is about your final project and you can choose between a theoretical dissertation and a creative writing project.
The student routine
We usually have classes three days a week. On these days we have one, two or sometimes three lectures a day. On the other days you have enough time to work on your assignments, develop your own writing projects or have a bit of fun.
I find the classes to be really good, and much more practical than the ones taught in Dutch universities. We do in-class assignments, have discussions, prepare presentations and talk about our work. Of course, there is also a bit of theory involved to get us started.
Learning from highly equipped teachers
The teachers are highly equipped to teach you all about writing and publishing, and are often writers or publishers themselves. For the more technical parts of the assignments, like learning how to photoshop, we get help from an IT lecturer or a designer.
During the third term, which is all about your final project, you work with a supervisor and have one-on-one tutorials and a few group sessions. You are then required to work on your project yourself.
Assessment on real outcomes
The thing I love about studying such a practical course with no exams is that the modules are graded through portfolios and assignments. During the first term, we are busy with writing assignments, interactive narratives and an essay. The second term is even more practical, as we’re designing our own book cover, editing each other’s stories, writing a marketing plan, and experimenting with an old school letterpress. In the third term it’s time for your final project, which is a big part of your overall grade.
A journey to self-discovery
I think this course can help you in many ways. I have learnt about myself as a writer, developed my own writing style and have discovered what my strengths and weaknesses are. Even though I have not finished my course yet, I feel I have learnt a lot already.
By Nikki Mennen, The Netherlands, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, 2017/18