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.


Dr Mary Jean  Chan

Dr Mary Jean Chan

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry)

Dr Mary Jean Chan is the author of Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019) and Faber USA (2020). Flèche won the 2019 Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted in 2020 for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, the Jhalak Prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize. In 2021, Flèche was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Chan's second collection, Bright Fear, is forthcoming from Faber in 2023. 
Chan won the 2018 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem in 2017 and 2019, receiving an Eric Gregory Award in 2019. Their writing has been featured in or is forthcoming from The New RepublicThe New StatesmanThe GuardianGranta and The London Review of Books. Chan was guest co-editor with Will Harris at The Poetry Review in Spring 2020 and recently co-edited 100 Queer Poems (Vintage, 2022) with Andrew McMillan. In Summer 2022, Chan will be a Visiting Writer at the Asia Creative Writing Programme in Singapore. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Chan currently lives in Oxford.

Dr James Hawes

Dr James Hawes

Reader in Creative Writing

James Hawes is a British novelist and popular historian who has been an official bestseller in both genres. He has also written theatrically released screen adaptations of two of his works.

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).

In 2005 Random House published his novel Speak for England, which predicted Brexit so accurately that the Observer later declared "it deserves some kind of prescience prize" (Observer, 23.04.2017).

James has taught on the Oxford University MSt. in Creative Writing since 2005. In 2008, he was also appointed Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University. In 2012, he was promoted to Reader. Among his former students there are Kit de Waal (My Name is Leon), Catherine Chanter (The Well), and Anne Youngson (Meet me at the Museum).

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 England made #4 in The Times bestsellers.

In 2022, James was Series Story Consultant/key on-screen contributor for BBCTV's 8-part documentary, Art That Made Us and sole author of the accompanying book, Brilliant Isles.

Dr Morag Joss

Dr Morag Joss

Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing

Morag Joss is the Subject Coordinator for Creative Writing at Brookes. She is the award-winning author of the three Sara Selkirk novels, Half Broken ThingsPuccini’s GhostsThe Night FollowingAmong the Missing (Across the Bridge) and Our Picnics in the Sun. Her work has been translated into several languages and her fourth novel, Half Broken Things, was adapted as a film for ITV, starring Penelope Wilton and Daniel Mays. 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 residencies at the Heinrich Böll house on Achill, Ireland, and at Casa Ecco, Como, Italy. Her recent work includes new libretti for operas by Donizetti and Offenbach. Prior to joining Brookes, she held Fellowships at the universities of Reading and Southampton, and taught Creative Writing at Oxford University. She has also been a tutor for the Arvon Foundation and for the National Writers Centre of Scotland, 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