Monday, March 31, 2008

Top 10: Getting your MA in Creative Writing in England

10. You can complete your MA in one year instead of the typical 2 or 3 in the states.

9. If you love to travel, (and boy the Brits do!), you can travel between semesters and during summer, finish up your dissertation in the fall and graduate by November!

8. It's cheaper, even with the conversion from dollars to pounds and the international rate for students and the tuition and housing and the travel to get there - it's still bloody cheaper.

7. If you've been filled to the brim with American fiction and would like to explore English lit, here's a wonderful opportunity to open your horizons.

6. Plenty of medieval towns, treacherous royal history, and natural coastal beauty to inspire you.

5. Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Mann, the Isle of Wright, Scotland and Ireland have made an immense contribution to the world literature from James Joyce to W.B. Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, Gillian Clarke as well as regional writers who have revived the folklore of this ancient land. I trekked Celtic town to Celtic town in search of mermaid stories and found inside an old church in a small hamlet town perched over the Atlantic, a 600 year old bench carved with the Mermaid of Zennor - now a future novel currently brewing in my imagination.

4. Access to European, Asian and international students co-mingling and conspiring to save enough pennies for trips to London.

3. School trips to Ireland.

2. Meet and get taught by Granta's freshest new UK writers.

1. And the number 1 reason to go to Britain for your MA? Pure love. 

These people love their books, love their words, love their authors with an undying appreciation for art. They've had several hundred years of legend and good ol' fashion storytelling to fire up their hearts (yes, Brits have fire in their hearts). Since the first pen scratched paper in 400 A.D., England's love affair with literature began and continues today in pubs tucked inside castle rocks and crevices with the whispers of kings and D.H. Lawrence still caught in the air. 

It's a breath of fresh air to be around lovers of art versus lovers of the business of writing. And that's a difference you won't find in an American application or on an American university's homepage. They will wow  you with writers, awards, fellowships but sometimes a writer just wants to live - have a new experience, see life from the other side of the ocean, have lunch with a Berber student, get bohemian, and love the existentialism that magically accompanies travel.

And of course, there are the mermaids. Did I mention I love mermaids?

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