Matthew Perryman

MA Creative Writing, 2015

Matthew Perryman

In a single year, the course completely transformed my entire perception of writing fiction and has accelerated the development of my own writing style. I am young for the writing game and came onto the course with many misconceptions

Matthew Perryman completed his undergraduate degree in English and Film at Brookes. His decision to continue onto the MA Creative Writing course has proved fruitful for him as a fledgling writer. Matthew was awarded the 2014 Blackwell Prize by the department and has already tasted publication success.

I decided to enrol onto the MA Creative Writing because the course offered an invaluable opportunity to develop my fiction writing. The course has received a lot of good press for the calibre of its teaching staff and Creative Writing Fellows. I’d greatly enjoyed my first three years as a student in Oxford and wished to continue the experience.

In a single year, the course completely transformed my entire perception of writing fiction and has accelerated the development of my own writing style. I am young for the writing game and came onto the course with many misconceptions. The tutors have helped me recognise my misconceptions and shape them into something stronger. I now feel much more aware of the act of writing; I can examine and appreciate prose from more stylistic perspectives and can interpret my life experiences through writing in a more grounded and effective manner.

The tutors have encouraged me to read and write outside of my comfort zone. This has increased my appreciation for fiction from a writer’s point of view and allowed me to use what I’ve read to improve my own writing. I really appreciate working with experienced writers, the quality of the teaching, and the like-minded students. The peer feedback groups, while at first a little bewildering, became meetings of likewise minds that inspired my confidence.

Each of the teaching staff has taken a different approach, and each has inspired me in a different way. For example, I completed the narrative module with Nikita Lalwani. I enjoyed her informal and supportive teaching style; her openness in sharing her experience as a young novelist was uplifting. James Hawes injected great energy into his sessions; I found his enthusiasm for writing infectious and highly motivating. Meanwhile, the excellent cast of Creative Writing Fellows gave me the chance to delve into the minds of a whole host of experienced and opinionated writers. Sarah Dunant, who became my mentor for the degree’s major project, gave me incredibly detailed feedback and was very supportive.

I’m very grateful for the opportunities that the course created for me. We were always alerted to competitions and opportunities. As a result I received one of the 2014 Winchester Writers’ Festival Scholarship awards, a fantastic weekend event at which I was lucky enough to meet with literary agents and other industry figures. The course has allowed me to create and maintain ties with the teaching staff and Creative Writing Fellows. My fellow students and I have continued to swap and critique each other’s work since completing the course and I am sure this will continue far into the future.

Work that I completed during the course has been published in literary journals such as LabLit, the leading scientific fiction journal, and MISO Magazine, a national publication of creative writing students’ work. I was honoured to be awarded the 2014 Blackwell’s Prize by the department. The recent introduction of the Bell Lomax Moreton Prize is yet another example of the department’s commitment to the success of its students.

If, like me, you loved studying English Literature, yet felt the creative portion of the subject was woefully unexplored, then the MA Creative Writing is an excellent option. If you are interested in writing fiction then it is an unmissable opportunity which might at times be intimidating but will ultimately prove fruitful.