Creative Writing

Our English and Creative Writing courses will grow your writing through work with established writers, industry professionals, teaching specialists and your peers, whilst you experience this most literary of all cities.

Getting you published

Our graduates’ recent achievements mean that agents and publishers really listen when they hear you’re with us. Among many other stand-out successes, in 2018 Anne Youngson's Meet Me at the Museum has met with international success, and Linni Ingemundsen launched the first novel of her two-book deal with Usborne’s young adult list. In 2016 Kit de Waal (pictured with Philip Pullman at our 2013 showcase) published My Name is Leon, which was immediately taken up for adaptation by BBC radio, TV and film; and in 2015 Catherine Chanter’s The Well appeared to international acclaim and was chosen by the Richard & Judy/WH Smith Book Club.

All Major Projects gaining a Distinction are looked at by top agents Felicity Bryan Associates (who visit us each year), with a view to representation, and by legendary London publisher Philip Gwyn Jones, who has commissioned some of the biggest names in fiction. People like this are the gatekeepers of literary success; our aim is to get them to open those gates for you.

Helen Eve reading from Stella at the annual showcase

Be Inspired

Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes can open doors to your creativity that you didn't even know existed.

Teaching fellows

Our Creative Writing Fellows lead on average a major workshop session every other week of each semester as well as other shorter sessions.

Patience Agbabi

Patience Agbabi – poet and author of Telling Tales and The Infinite.

Sally Bayley

Sally Bayley – fiction and nonfiction author, most recently Girl With Dove and No Boys Play Here.

Steven Hall

Steven Hall – was included as one of Granta Magazine’s ‘Best Young British Novelists’ in 2013.

Philip Gwyn Jones

Philip Gwyn Jones – was the first UK publisher to have offered contracts to Naomi Klein, Patrick Ness, Arundhati Roy, Lionel Shriver, Zadie Smith and David Foster Wallace, among many others.

Simon Mason

Simon Mason – author of Moon Pie (Guardian Children's Fiction Prize - shortlisted) and YA series Garvie Smith, and leading children's fiction editor.

Staff

Dr Mary Jean  Chan

Dr Mary Jean Chan

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry)

I was born and raised in Hong Kong, then received a BA in Political Science and English Literature from Swarthmore College in the US before obtaining an MPhil in International Development at the University of Oxford. I subsequently completed an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. 

At Oxford Brookes, I am currently Module Leader for two BA courses in Creative Writing, and am Module Leader for the MA Poetry elective. I am also a PhD supervisor in Creative Writing, with a focus on poetry projects. As an editor, I was co-editor of Oxford Poetry (2017-2019) and was guest co-editor of The Poetry Review for Spring 2020. I am a Ledbury Poetry Critic (2018-present), having reviewed for the Guardian Review, The Poetry Review, Poetry London, PN Review, The Stinging Fly and The Hong Kong Review of Books

Dr James Hawes

Dr James Hawes

Reader in Creative Writing

James is the author of six novels with Jonathan Cape. The first, A White Merc With Fins (1996), was a Sunday Times bestseller, as was his second, Rancid Aluminium (1997). This was filmed, starring Joseph Fiennes, whilst Michael Sheen starred in the adaptation of his third novel Dead Long Enough (2000).  His study of Kafka - Excavating Kafka - (“absolutely brilliant and utterly infuriating” Guardian, 2008) was the basis of a BBC documentary televised in November 2008. In 2018 his "The Shortest History of Germany" reached #2 in the Sunday Times bestsellers; in 2021 "The Shortest History of Emgland" made #4 in The Times bestsellers.

James is currently working as "Series Story Consultant"  and on-screen talking head on the upcoming landmark 8-part BBCTV history of creativity in these islands, which will be broadcast in April 2022. 

Dr Morag Joss

Dr Morag Joss

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Morag Joss is the award-winning author of the Sara Selkirk novels, Half Broken ThingsPuccini’s GhostsThe Night FollowingAmong the Missing (Across the Bridge) and Our Picnics in the Sun. She has also written for television, and writes short stories for print and broadcast. Her prizes and shortlistings include the CWA Silver Dagger, the USA Edgar Award for best novel, and a Heinrich Böll residency on the island of Achill, Ireland. She holds Fellowships at Reading University and Southampton University and also teaches Creative Writing for Oxford University. She is a regular tutor for both the Arvon Foundation and the Scottish Writers Centre at Moniack Mhor.

Annual showcase

At the end of each year, students from MA Creative Writing course are given the opportunity to showcase their work to a group of literary agents, publishers and some best-selling writers.

They present extracts of their work to the literary professionals, and as a direct result of the evening, students can enter talks with agents and have even landed a publishing deal that will establish them in the literary world.

“Among the Creative Writing courses that I’ve seen – and I’ve seen quite a lot now – the one I’ve seen at Oxford Brookes is certainly one of the best.”

Philip Pullman

Open lectures

Previous Oxford Brookes Creative Writing Lectures have been delivered by Philip Pullman, Marilynne Robinson, Howard Jacobson, Daisy Goodwin, Nick Cohen and Stewart Lee.

Mark Watson

This film of the 2013 Oxford Brookes University Annual Creative Writing Lecture features Mark Watson combining two strands of his rich and varied career, in an evening of ‘bookomedy’. Mark reads from his fourth and latest bestselling novel The Knot, and from unpublished work-in-progress.

Mark Watson is an award-winning stand-up comedian, a prolific TV and Radio broadcaster, and author of four bestselling novels. He was born in Bristol, and is an English graduate of the University of Cambridge.

Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee is a stand-up comedian, writer, novelist and reviewer. In this interview he talks about his life in writing and comedy; broadcasting, performance and publishing.

Hosted by: Simon Kövesi, Head of English and Modern Languages, Oxford Brookes University