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Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Journalists

UEA scholarships nurture creative writers

The University of East Anglia, in Norwich, which is home to a world-leading creative writing programme, is now offering eight postgraduate scholarships, meaning more than a quarter of the 30 available places in 2017 are funded.

“Our aim is to widen opportunity for the most talented writers, which is why scholarships in this field are so important,” said co-director Henry Sutton. “Up to half of our students are from overseas and their average age is 30. Many have had careers in different fields, which means they bring a wealth of experience in addition to their desire to hone their creative writing skills.”

Competition for places is extremely tough, so the standard of students is high. Their background is also diverse. “Our aim is to nurture the greatest talent, not just from the UK but worldwide,” said Sutton. “Some scholarships are aimed specifically at international students, one is directed at students from the Republic of Ireland, and others are open to anyone.”

He added: “Creative writing is a powerful vehicle. The world revolves around empathy, and an appreciation of literature is culturally invaluable because it enriches us and gives us understanding.”

The programme at UEA was founded in 1970 by novelists and former UEA professors Sir Malcolm Bradbury and Sir Angus Wilson, and well-known alumni who regularly return to speak to students include Kazuo Ishiguro and Ian McEwan. Leading UK literary trust the Booker Prize Foundation and London literary agency David Higham Associates are among those funding scholarships.

With well over a third of graduates going on to have their work accepted by leading publishers, the course has the highest success rate in the country, and the University’s innovative approach contributes to keeping it that way. “Our courses are intense but it’s also important to us that they’re accessible, so we deliver our MA in Crime Fiction largely online,” said Sutton. “It means there’s even more opportunity for talented writers to follow their passion.”

The deadline for course applications is May 1, 2017, and for a scholarship application May 15.

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