Creative writing

  • This guide lists some specific resources and services which undergraduate and MA students of Creative Writing might find useful. Check the Subject Help pages for English and Drama for further guides and links to resources. 

    You are welcome to contact Joanna Cooksey, the Academic Liaison Librarian for English and Drama for help during your course.

  • Many MA Creative Writing reading lists will include titles recommended by tutors on writing techniques. You can access your reading list through the Moodle course or view all of the MA Creative Writing lists here.

    You can also browse through the Creative Writing books on Level 4 of the Headington Library. Here are some useful call numbers (shelfmarks):
    808.02            Creative writing
    808.06692     Writing biography
    808.1               Writing poetry
    808.2               Writing drama
    808.3               Writing fiction

    Find out more about searching for books and borrowing them.

    In addition to your own creative submission, many modules require you to write a 'critical review' of a published work which is related in genre, form or content (or all three) to your own work.

    Help with writing your critical review

    Do ask your tutors if you have any questions about what is expected when writing your critical review.

    Help with finding published sources

    Once you have chosen the published work you wish to write about, you may want to find secondary sources such as books and journal articles which comment on it. You are welcome to contact Joanna Cooksey, the Academic Liaison Librarian for English and Drama for help with finding these sources and referencing them.

    Books covering a specific author could be useful; these may include critical works and biographies. These will be shelved in the library just after the author's own works. You may also want to search for books covering literary topics, genres or periods.

    To find a book, use the Books & e-books search on the Library home page and type in the author, title or subject that you are interested in.
    Find out more about searching for books and borrowing them

    Online dictionaries and reference sources

    • OED online version of the Oxford English Dictionary.
    • Oxford Reference Online This is a collection of Oxford University Press reference books on a variety of subjects including Literature. Titles covered include The Oxford Companion to English LiteratureThe Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary TermsA Dictionary of Writers and their Works and many others.
    • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - an illustrated collection of articles providing the life stories of over 50,000 people who have shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond. Includes novelists, poets and playwrights.

    Journal articles can be a useful source for essays on literary texts. They may also include book reviews.
    You can use LibrarySearch to look for articles on specific authors or literary works. Find out more about searching for articles.

    We have several literary review journals available in print (shelved in the Basement of the JHB Headington Library) and online:

     Other sources for books reviews are listed in the Library guide Book reviews

    How to reference the sources you use

    Published sources used in your critical review need to be cited correctly using the MHRA referencing style. For guidance on how to reference in this style, see Referencing in MHRA. You can contact Academic Liaison Librarian for English and Drama if you need help.

    You can access library e-resources such as databases, e-journals and e-books from anywhere - just log in when prompted with your Brookes username and password.

    Eduroam allows you to use the wifi service on campus at Brookes and at any other university that uses the same system. To register your laptop with eduroam, go to the IT Services homepage and choose 'WI-FI: Get online with eduroam'. Follow the on-screen instructions to register. 
    NB During registration you will see a screen with 2 checkbox options - one asks if you agree to the terms & conditions; the other asks if you want to be able to access eduroam beyond your home university. Make sure you've ticked both checkboxes if you wish to use eduroam in another university library.

    You can use the  Interlibrary Loans service to request books, articles and other publications which aren't held in Brookes Library. You may also be able to join other libraries including the Bodleian and access e-journals through a number of public libraries.

    Accessing the Bodleian
    If you are doing the MA in Creative Writing, you will be able to access the Bodleian Library of Oxford University for reference. Undergraduate students doing dissertation-level research are also eligible to apply when they are in the 2nd semester of their 2nd year or in their final year. You can obtain an application form for the Bodleian Library from the Headington Library Help Zone on Level 1, or download one from our web pages. Take this form to your supervisor first and then bring it to the Library for your Academic Liaison Librarian.

    SCONUL Access scheme 
    This scheme allows Brookes students to use many university libraries across the UK. You may find this useful if you live at some distance from Oxford and would like to use an academic library in your local area. To apply, go to the SCONUL website and check first whether the library you wish to visit is a member of the scheme, then complete the online application form. Once your application has been authorized by Brookes Library, you will be sent a confirmation email from SCONUL access and will need to take this along when you first visit the member library.

    Library Catalogues

    • SOLO: the Oxford Libraries' Catalogue includes the stock of the Bodleian Library.
    • COPAC: contains the merged online catalogues of more than 20 of the largest university research libraries in the UK and Ireland, including the British Library Public Catalogue. 

    Access to Research: access e-journals via public libraries
    Through this scheme, academic publishers have made many of their journals freely accessible to the general public. Access to these e-journals is only available through computers in one of the participating libraries. These include Oxford Central (though not at the moment because of their temporary relocation), Wheatley, Headington, and Botley public libraries. Go to the Access to research web site to check which libraries are participating and use the search option to see whether a specific journal title/issue is available through the scheme.