Creative Writing

8th July – 3rd August 2024



This 4-week course offers developing writers a supportive environment in which to further their writing skills in fiction, poetry, and drama. Students have a unique opportunity to develop their own critical analysis by attending Modernism and Contemporary Literature lectures, as well as author-led Masterclasses. SUISS tutors, who are published writers and experienced teachers, lead the students in 3-hour group seminars and individualised mentoring sessions.

In addition, our Creative Writing students have the opportunity to attend private readings by well-known British authors, many of who will be reading at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August.


The Creative Writing course offers:

  • Workshop Seminars: SUISS tutors lead small group writing seminars catered to students’ writing interests.
  • Author-led Masterclasses: Prominent contemporary British writers offer students an opportunity to engage in unique discussions and activities.
  • Lectures: Students attend select Modernism and Contemporary Literature lectures to gain additional perspectives of critical analysis.
  • Individual Mentoring Sessions: Students receive 30min of individualised mentoring sessions with a SUISS tutor per week.
  • Publishing Lecture: A Literary Agent identifies key aspects of the publishing industry in an exclusive lecture for the students.
  • Editorial groups: According to shared interests, students discuss their work with their peers in an informal, interactive environment.
  • Northern Light: An opportunity to be published in our biennial publication.

Reading List

Creative Writing students attend selected lectures from our Modernism and Contemporary Literature courses. Students are strongly advised to read as many of the texts as possible before arriving in Edinburgh, as time will be limited once the programme is underway. The lectures are pitched high, and lecturers are advised that all students will be familiar with the texts at the time of lecture.

Core texts and lectures for the Creative Writing summer programme, on which the tuition will be based, are listed below.

Essential reading (in alphabetical order): 


T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land 

Harry Josephine Giles, Drone 

James Joyce, Dubliners 
China Miéville short stories (from Three Moments of an Explosion)* 

Alan Moore, V for Vendetta 
Selected imagist poetry* 

Ali Smith: selection of short stories*  

Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway 


Suggested further reading**:

Neil Astley (Ed.), Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times
John Gillard, The Very Short Story Starter: 101 Flash Fiction Prompts for Creative Writing
Louise Glück, Proofs and Theories: Essay on Poetry
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Robert Hass, A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry
Stephen King, On Writing
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Alice LaPlante, The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing
Alysoun Owen (Ed.), Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2023
Deryn Rees-Jones, Consorting with Angels
Calum Rodger (Ed.), makar / unmakar: twelve contemporary poets in Scotland


*Students are not required to purchase volumes of poetry or short stories – specific reading selections for these lectures and seminars will be circulated to all students in advance.

**NB: Students are not required to read texts listed in ‘further reading’. However, if you are interested in complementary material, these texts will expand your knowledge and discussion of the essential reading list as well as the subject of creative writing more broadly. All of the further reading is available to loan from the University of Edinburgh library or the SUISS library.

For more information on the course, see our Sample Creative Writing Syllabus.