PhD in Creative Writing

Since October 2018, I have been a PhD candidate at the University of Sunderland, working towards a doctorate in Creative Writing. I am a self-funded, part-time student, and it is anticipated that my PhD will finish in 2024.

My thesis, entitled ‘Magical Realism and Northern Identity‘, is split into two segments: a creative component, which is roughly two thirds of the total word count, and a critical component to make up the final third.

The creative component is an experimentally structured novella-length story interspersed with short stories. It follows an illegal immigrant in the UK, a young girl called Bria, as she is whisked away from the life she knows and smuggled to a mysterious, magical house hidden at the edge of a forest. Taking inspiration from Slavic folklore and set in the North East of England, the story follows Bria as she fights to carve a life of her own choosing.

The critical component will use theory and praxis to answer questions around the nature of location within the magical realist tradition, and around how readers react and engage with the novella/short story structure .


My PhD Blog

Studying for a PhD is completely different to any other form of study I’ve ever done; studying for a Creative Writing PhD is different to most other doctorates. It’s a lonely venture (especially during a pandemic). It’s also something which has a limited amount of information available. I remember when I was applying, trying to find out more information about how things might work, what to expect

Through my blog posts (which won’t be half as regular as I’d want them to be, unfortunately, but will be as often as I’m able to write them), I’ll attempt to provide progress reports and insights into what a Creative Writing PhD entails, including applying to and preparing for conferences, the supervision process, and post-PhD preparations.

While a key aim of my blog is to allow me to engage with my studies from a new perspective, another incentive is the hope that hopeful students will be able to use my experiences as a resource in preparing themselves for PhD study, or as an informational source in their decision whether or not to apply.


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