There are lots of creative writing schools available in the UK offering a number of different types of creative writing courses – some are online, some are in-class or residential. There is even one which is held outdoors! So which to choose?
The first choice to make is whether to go for an academic course (which would be offered by an academic institution and provide a formal qualification at the end of the course) or whether to go for a non-academic course. On the main, academic courses are carried out over a longer timeframe, by tutors with professional teaching qualifications, and cover a wider range of creative writing subjects such as poetry, writing for stage or screen, critical analysis, as well as writing novels and shorter fiction.
The non-academic writing courses, on the other hand, are usually more specifically focused on a particular type of creative writing (such as ‘Writing your first novel’ or ‘How to edit your novel’) and can often be as short as a weekend. Some of the non academic courses provide more extensive guidance on how to approach literary agents or how to get published, and are not so focused on teaching the skills of writing itself.
All the academic writing courses will have entry requirements, and some of the more popular non-academic schools will also look for a minimum writing ability from applicants.
Which course is right for you will depend on whether you are looking to improve your writing skills, whether you have written your novel and are focusing on how to get published, how important an academic qualification is to you, and how much time and money you have available. You can use the directory to drill down on most of these items to find the creative writing schools and the creative writing courses that best match your needs.
A few creative writing courses in the UK stand out from the rest. This can be due to the quality of their teaching, the profile of tutors and/or visiting guests, the profile of past alumni, or opportunities to link into agents, publishers, theatres, TV or other vocational writing related channels. Based on evidenced examples of these attributes, combined with feedback sent to us from course attendees, we recognise those writing schools in the directory which stand out from the rest with a Fairlight Creative Writing Schools Spotlight Award.