The MA in Creative Writing at Wits University is housed in the School of Literature, Language and Media but enjoys cross-disciplinary collaboration with lecturers and supervisors from several departments including Drama, Journalism and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research. Guest writers and publishers are invited to conduct workshops or give lectures in the programme, giving students the benefits of their experience and expertise.
Several alumni of the programme have completed manuscripts and gone on to publish with established publishing houses. These include:
|Antony Altbeker, Fruit of a Poisoned Tree (Jonathan Ball)|
|Kevin Bloom, Ways of Staying (Picador Africa)|
|Shaun de Waal, Exposure (Booksurge)|
|Craig Higginson, The Landscape Painter (Pan Macmillan)|
|Pat Hopkins, Johnny Golightly Comes Home (Penguin)|
|Liesl Jobson, 100 Papers (Botsotso)|
|Andie Miller, Slow Motion (Jacana)|
The MA in Creative Writing (ENGL8033) is a two-year MA by research. Candidates accepted into the programme will register to write a dissertation under supervision.
The dissertation will comprise a literary work (a novel, a collection of short stories, a collection of creative non-fiction, or a dramatic work) and a research/reflective essay that examines the process of the work’s composition in relation to contemporary theoretical and philosophical debates on the genre of the work and the themes and concerns it addresses.
Candidates will be assigned to a suitable supervisor by the course coordinator.
The MA will be evaluated as follows: 80% of the mark will be allocated to the creative component and 20% to the research essay. All the usual protocols of internal and external examination pertain.
All candidates are expected to complete their projects, on a part-time basis, over a two-year period. Occasionally, a candidate will be permitted to complete the MA in one year on a full-time basis. This option is available only to experienced and published writers, with the permission of the course coordinator in consultation with the dissertation supervisor.
A candidate’s progress will be closely monitored and they will be required to attend workshops, complete a proposal by the end of April of the first year, and show significant progress on their creative project by the end of the second semester of the first year (November). If the candidate does not successfully meet these requirements the course coordinator, in consultation with the supervisor, may advise them to withdraw from the degree.
An Honours degree in literary studies, journalism or drama is a prerequisite for entry into the MA in Creative Writing. Occasionally a candidate without such a degree may, at the discretion of the course coordinator, be admitted to the MA on the basis of their submitted portfolio or an extensive publishing history. Candidates may be called for an interview as part of the application process.
The first step in the application process is to submit, to the course coordinator, a full curriculum vitae and a portfolio of writing comprising at least fifty pages (1.5 spacing) of prose (fiction or non-fiction), or a play manuscript. Academic papers and poetry will not be accepted as part of the portfolio.
Accompanying the portfolio must be a covering letter and details of academic qualifications and/or publishing history. The covering letter should describe the proposed creative project that the candidate wishes to undertake for the MA (this is not a detailed proposal, but a succinct description of the proposed project).
There are places for twelve students in the MA in Creative Writing. Candidates for these places will be accepted on the strength of the writing portfolio (and, if applicable, the interview).
The deadline for submission of portfolios for international applicants is 15 August, and for South African applicants is 15 October, in any given year.
Once you have been accepted into the programme you should submit an application to the university. Please check the deadlines for submission with the University Enrolment Office.
All South African and international postgraduate applicants to the University are required to pay an application fee of R200.
International students are required by the university to submit SAQA and IELTS English Proficiency certificates with their application to the University.
Once accepted into the programme, candidates will be required to submit a detailed proposal before embarking on the dissertation. The proposal, which will be developed with the guidance of the prospective supervisor, should outline the proposed project in detail and provide a schedule. The proposal will be circulated to the other MA candidates and to relevant staff members from SLLM who will be invited to attend a public seminar at which the candidate will outline and discuss the writing project. The candidate is expected to address the suggestions made during this seminar in the final proposal submitted to Faculty. The candidate will not be allowed to continue in the MA if this requirement is not met.
The proposal should:
All students registered for the MA in Creative Writing will be expected to attend a fortnightly workshop. Workshops will run from February to November, with recess periods during University study breaks and vacations.
Students will circulate work (by email) in advance of each workshop and all class members will be expected to engage the work and give cogent and critical feedback in terms of the protocols set out at the first meeting.
Some of the workshops will be set aside for presentations by staff members, supervisors and established authors on aspects of composition, professional writing practice and publishing.
All candidates will be expected to prepare their manuscripts for potential publication.
At the end of the first year of the MA, the candidate’s progress will be assessed by the Head of the programme and the supervisor. The student must show adequate progress in the writing of their creative project in order to be allowed to register for the second year of the MA.
For more information about the degree and the application process, contact
Dr Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (Bronwyn.firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms Antonette Gouws (email@example.com) in the School of Literature, Language and Media.
For information regarding fees or other administrative concerns, contact Ms Julie Poyser (Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Graduate Studies Office, Faculty of Humanities, located in the South-West Engineering Building on the East Campus.