MLitt Creative Writing: Writing Sample Guidelines

We require a sample of creative work as one of the academic requirements for entry. For the prose strand this should be up to approximately eight pages (fiction or creative nonfiction); for poetry, approximately eight poems. A half-and-half mix is also acceptable.

The tutors specialise in literary fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and scriptwriting, and we welcome applicants who share those interests. Please note that journalistic, professional and children’s writing are not taught on the course and so writing in these forms should not be included in the writing sample.

The personal statement is an opportunity for you to share your background, experiences, and, crucially, the type(s) of contemporary literature that you like to read and which you aspire to write.

Below is a list of some of the things we are looking for you to demonstrate in the writing sample, across both prose and poetry. The list is neither exhaustive nor prescriptive and should be used as a guide rather than a checklist.


  • A degree of consistency and persuasiveness of setting, character and point-of-view (in creative fiction) and subject matter, theme and tone (creative non-fiction).
  • Evidence of essential aspects of technique and form such as narrative point-of-view, dialogue, physical description and narrative time.
  • Clear and fluent expression; avoiding predictable, clichéd or expositional language.
  • Good editing and presentation skills, including a command of spelling, grammar and punctuation.


  • A good command of register and tone.
  • A willingness to engage with aspects of technique and form such as metre, rhyme, imagery, metaphor and simile (although not all of these need to be present).
  • Expression that is lucid and focused, without reliance on abstractions.
  • Clear evidence of editing and presentation skills, including a command of spelling and punctuation.


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