Wed 22 May 2024
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NAWE PhD Creative Writing Network   

Set up in December 2015 following an inaugural meeting at Birkbeck, University of London, the NAWE PhD Creative Writing Network is an online network designed to help Creative Writing PhD students to connect with others in the UK.

It is open to anyone who is studying for a Creative Writing PhD in the UK. MA students considering a PhD are also welcome.

You don’t have to be a member to join the Network but we do hope that anyone who is not already a member of NAWE will consider joining, at least as a student/associate member (costs just £30 per year). We also have a Professional Graduate Membership for university creative writing students who have recently graduated. Full details of how to join and the benefits of membership can be found here.

The NAWE PhD Creative Writing Network is a largely self-facilitated network, with input and support from NAWE. In 2024,  Ruth Moore (University of Exeter) and Elena Traina (Falmouth University) are taking the lead on helping to revive the Network on behalf of the NAWE HE Committee with online meet-ups, opportunities to connect regionally with NAWE members, and bespoke sessions at the 2024 NAWE conference (8-9 November, Online).

Here’s how you can get involved:

Join the NAWE PhD Creative Writing Network on Facebook (we are exploring other networking platforms). If you have any problems doing this, please email

Post on the Network’s X account.

Email Elena and Ruth to register interest in the first online NAWE PhD forum of 2024 (open to all). Please copy in when emailing Elena and Ruth.

Join NAWE as a Student or Professional Graduate member for access to a wide range of resources and discounted conference tickets.

If you are already a member of NAWE, but not part of the Facebook group, please email Elena and Ruth to let them know you want to be involved.

Below are links to other NAWE resources supporting those studying for a Creative Writing PhD.

Frequently asked questions

What will I get out of a creative writing course in Higher Education?

  • With hard work, you will get the qualification on offer - degree, MA or PhD.
  • You will also get a chance to develop your own writing style and voice within a critical but supportive environment.
  • Your reading will be guided and extended.
  • Your critical faculties will be developed.
  • Your writing craft and technique will be honed.
  • You will learn to think, to research, to discuss, to make presentations.
  • You will make friends with like-minded people.
  • In short, it will give you everything you could get from a 'traditional' Humanities course - and much more besides.

How should I go about choosing a course?

  • Think about where you would like to be (or need to be) geographically.
  • Make a list of the things your ideal course would include.
  • Check the UCAS website and NAWE website for details of courses.
  • Send for prospectuses of those which interest you the most.
  • Visit the University's website - it has room for much more information than the prospectus.
  • Go to Open Days.
  • Talk to staff and students.
  • Don't rely on league tables.
  • Trust your instincts.

What questions should I ask?

  • Who teaches on the course? If all the staff are practising writers, are they also experienced HE tutors? A good writer is not necessarily a good teacher.
  • What extra-curricular writing activities (e.g. visiting speakers) are offered by the institution?
  • What are the Unique Selling Points of the course?
  • Does it have a theoretical or practice-based approach?
  • How many students do they have and how large are classes?
  • What have previous graduates gone on to do?
  • How are classes taught - by lectures, seminars, group tutorials, workshops, individual tutorials, on-line?
  • What form does assessment take?

What job can I get afterwards?

Forty percent of graduate jobs do not require any particular degree. Writing degree students go on to further degrees or to work in jobs right across the creative industries, in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, book publishers, children's publishers, advertising, PR, literary agencies, press offices, theatre, art therapy, web writing, libraries, schools, and colleges. Oh yes, and many become published writers.

Life After Graduation Case Studies

You can read some accounts by those who have gone on to enrol on a Creative Writing PhD here


NAWE's Research Benchmark Statement provides guidelines for what constitutes research in the discipline of Creative Writing, including an appendix about Creative Writing PhDs. Available to download below.