Isobel Brown

MA Creative Writing, 2015

Isobel Brown

The course has definitely changed how I write. I’ve picked up some pearls of wisdom from the Creative Writing Fellows about what makes a good commercial novel

Isobel Brown had some success in short story and flash fiction competitions before she started the MA Creative Writing. She has continued to work full time as a lawyer while studying part time. She was shortlisted for the London Magazine short story award with a piece of writing she developed during the degree.

I decided to do this course because I wanted to connect with other talented writers in an academic environment, and find out and solve whatever problems in my writing had been standing in the way of me getting published. What attracted me to the course was the chance to gain exposure to a range of different published writers. The workshop based learning appealed to me, the location was a draw and, quite simply, I liked Brookes’ style.

The course has been ‘as it said on the tin’ but in most cases it has surpassed my expectations. I love the interaction with other student-writers and the way we are able to work with such a distinguished range of writers.

The course has definitely changed how I write. I’ve picked up some pearls of wisdom from the Creative Writing Fellows about what makes a good commercial novel. The course has boosted my writing confidence through doing writing exercises, regularly exposing my writing to critiquing by tutors and peers, and really learning from that process. Now I can see what I mustn’t do, what I must stop doing, and how to change things that don’t work. Believe me, that’s big.

I found Kate Clanchy very inspiring – she took my writing into new directions and it was a great treat to work with her. Through the piece I developed that semester, I was shortlisted for a prestigious competition.

Sarah Dunant ran sessions that were full of insight, focused and encouraging about the writing process. I loved the way she seriously assumed we were all fellow-authors – she was not talking to us ‘de haut en bas.’ Steven Hall had a warmth and engagement in helping individuals in our group to solve their story problems. He passed on some real nuggets about how to deal with feedback and when to ask for it.

In the future I hope to get a three-book deal with a major publisher, keep writing better and better, and communicating with a wider and wider readership.