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What Students Said about our Creative Writing MAs in 2009
A selection of responses drawn from anonymous evaluation forms completed at the end of the August 2009 Summer School for the Distance Learning MA in Creative Writing and after the Campus MA Residential at Ty Newydd, November 2009
‘Extremely useful – all very different’
‘Overall these workshops were stimulating, most enjoyable being Graham’s Furiously Sleep Ideas’
‘Most of the workshops have been really useful, especially Brian’s and Jane’s workshops. The agents invited were fantastic – I loved the poetry workshop with Peter Sansom.’
‘Jo Baker’s workshop on redrafting was very useful…[it] took a fresh approach to imaginative redrafting and it worked. Peter Sansom’s workshop on poetry and publishing was excellent. He modeled the substance of the workshop in the style of his teaching – very clever and very effective. It was very generous of Michelene Wandor to hold tutorials over the phone while she was unwell. She was – as always – full of insight and purpose.’
‘Michelene deserves a special credit for chatting to students on the phone for ages, and accommodating us in London.’
‘All workshops were useful, even the ones allegedly unrelated!’
‘I enjoyed the workshops that had nothing to do with my project just as much as I enjoyed the ones specifically geared towards my subject.’
‘The workshops were very useful and diverse…a very good balance of workshops and writing time…I felt every tutor I had – Sarah, Jo, George and Graham – brought their own slant to the writing experience.’
‘The workshops were generally very good, enjoyable and challenging at the same time. The exercises were excellent and very stimulating to creativity!...Tutors were inspiring, knowledgeable and gave lots of useful tips.’
‘Jo Baker and Brian McCabe were particularly good.’
‘I feel quite exhausted, intellectually, creatively and emotionally. When things have ‘settled’ and I no longer fear being caught out as an imposter among a talented group of real writers, I’m sure I will feel energized and motivated. Thanks for the experience.’
‘Jo Baker’s workshop was my favourite and possibly the most useful for me in practical terms. Also, I liked the way in which she participated in her own exercise – this gave it real validation.’
‘Graham is possibly one of the most eloquent and quick-thinking people I’ve ever met. His teaching and comments are among the things that need to settle, and I’m sure will benefit my writing.’
‘Jo Baker’s “Murdering Your Darlings” was my highlight. It offered good practical ways of redrafting work. We applied tips that were quite simple but I feel will transform my writing process and stop me endlessly tinkering with one paragraph. Jo was bright and encouraging…’
‘Brian McCabe’s workshop on setting was thought-provoking. I enjoyed working from images and the interesting discussion about how setting brings in themes, sets tone and reader expectations.’
‘As someone who has another life as a counselor, I am fascinated by the psychodynamic, delve into your subconscious approach in workshops! I like it too – it really gets us beyond our censoring minds.’
‘I liked George’s questioning of ‘what does this bring to the story / poem?’ ‘Has this earned its place?’’
‘I went to a lot of Graham’s workshops and, even though I didn’t feel that I produced anything brilliant in the workshop itself, I did find myself producing new chapters at a scary rate later in the day. The workshop on the subconscious was particularly useful and I’ll be using those techniques at home.’
‘Graham (as Michelene) and as himself – really enjoyed his workshops, lots of food for thought going forward. The critical workshop was brilliant.’
‘Jo’s workshop on “Murdering Your Darlings” was full to capacity and was very, very good. Lit agent and editor were informative and very good. The writing workshop by Peter Sansom was especially good. And I loved getting real advice from writers (tutors) and industry people (agent / editor).’
‘Karolina’s talk was very informative, a little discouraging but realistic. I was impressed by her passion and came away feeling clearer about how to approach agents.’
‘Synopsis workshop was also very useful. Strangely enough I came away from it thinking I could actually answer the question ‘what is your book about’ in a succinct and coherent way for the first time.’
‘I’d also like to say a word about Graham’s “bag” exercise. I still can’t believe it stimulated me to write and edit a short story in under two days about a character that I might observe but not flesh out.’
‘Overall, I was impressed with the programme and it was great to connect with tutors and students on a one to one level. Graham’s commitment to the course was evident and made all the difference. I am very proud of being a Lancaster student, much more so after this visit. The fact that my supervisor went out of her way to connect with me and was sincerely invested in my understanding the expectations of the course is an example of why I am so satisfied and why I feel the course was a worthy investment of time and money.’
‘I thoroughly enjoyed summer school. Meeting everyone was such a good experience. I was so happy to meet my tutor, finally, and all the others. Lee is fabulous behind the scenes. I really enjoyed the tutors’ readings at night.’
‘It was great and worked wonderfully well…Every single contributor was excellent and I hope some of the magic sticks. The abiding image for me is of a moss witch!!...This was a superb week and every single contributor was outstanding. It’s been a real privilege to have been here. Many, many thanks.’
‘The whole week has been exhausting but good exhausting and it was a unique opportunity to submerge oneself in writing and thinking about writing for five days. Meeting and working with other tutors made me realize how many different techniques and approaches to writing there are…It’s been a very intense experience, but I feel that I’ve gained a lot from this week in terms of inspiration and encouragement…It’s been great. Thank you.’
‘It was probably the best residential writing course I have been on. Lee was so helpful and accommodating. I actually like Graham’s dry humour! All lecturers/tutors have been helpful and encouraging. Thank you.’
‘Inspiring, high quality, stimulating….Expanded possibilities of working beyond my genre.’
‘Even though we are all writers, everyone’s work is completely different, and it’s great to be amongst such talent. The week was a good mix of fear and enjoyment! I’m sad to leave as it’s been productive and worthwhile.’
‘It was great putting faces to names to writing; this should make the 2nd year of the MA a lot of fun…’
‘Thanks for a great experience.’
‘I really enjoyed myself. Thank you very much.’
‘Thoroughly enjoyed the week, even though I feel like I’ve been run over by a bus! Thank you.’
‘I found the workshops motivational….I definitely felt inspired to write and I produced a lot of new work.’
‘It’s been a really valuable week…It has definitely made me feel more convinced about myself as a writer, and I think useful stuff will continue to emerge. The tutors have been great – inspiring, insightful, supportive.’
The mix of students and the international dimension:
I really enjoyed the week. The tutors and other students were encouraging and supportive. I hated reading aloud but I’m glad I did it and inviting PhD students was a great idea. It would be good to have some sort of shared space with them on the portal.’
‘Meeting PhD students was a positive, inspiring experience.’
‘Thoroughly enjoyable week. Great to meet my fellow students and get to know such a talented and culturally diverse group of people. Likewise excellent to meet some of the tutors for the first time and to get to know some of the others a little better.’
‘A group of students from many cultural backgrounds, we worked together seamlessly.’
‘It was a delight to see how different writers work and to be with a group from such diverse backgrounds. It’s been one of those experiences that I know will sustain me in leaner times!’
‘The part I enjoyed most was the mixing of people from all over the world. Different accents were fun – different experiences and politics and senses of humour.’
‘I thought the international element of the group also worked really well bringing a cultural layer to the writing experience. The group seemed to get on really well and it will help this year’s café discussions as we will be able to put a name and a personality to the written word.’
Accommodation and domestic arrangements:
‘Great – nice clean private rooms with ensuite – internet’; ‘Food and accommodation were excellent’; “rooms clean and practical”; ‘The food was good and the room was perfect for my needs’; ‘very good accommodation’; ‘The rooms were very good…showers were good and hot…Food was generally good, especially the hot pot!’; “Accommodation and food EXCELLENT.’; ‘Clean, private, a good standard – nice to be able to choose whether to be sociable or retreat.’
Friendly, lovely staff; gorgeous location; very good food.
The recommendation to work on new stuff was a good one – it allowed the varied workshops to function well and to provoke thought without my trying to shoehorn ‘lessons’ into my project.
What a grand week!
The workshops were very useful. Also good for meeting the other tutors – especially useful for part-timers.
It’s a beautiful location, good food, charming place. I loved the workshops. I would actually have liked more of them even.
Ty Newydd is blissful. I found the workshops very interesting and stimulating.
I felt strongly that suggesting people leave their projects behind for the week is a great idea.
I found the workshops – all of them – tremendously helpful in pushing me to try different methods of writing. I had a set view of my technique and was pleased to open up to new ways of writing.
Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»
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The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»
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