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Shereen Younes

MA Creative Writing

ADSS_Postgraduate -Student _Shereen -YounesWhere are you from?

Northern Ireland

What undergraduate course did you study and where?

English in University of Ulster, Coleraine campus.

Why did you decide to study a masters? 

I have always had a strong passion for English Literature and wanted to study Creative Writing to further my understanding of the subject. It also acted as a stepping stone into PhD opportunities.

Why did you choose Northumbria university?  

Northumbria University had a strong internet presence. I was impressed not only by the campus, but the lecturer profiles that I was able to access via the site. Creative Writing enabled me to study a side of English Literature that I had not yet immersed myself in.

What makes your course challenging/inspiring/different?  How would you sum up the difference between undergraduate and postgraduate study?

Those undertaking the MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria University are encouraged to explore all forms of writing under the guidance of many professionals still working in creative fields. This means at times you are taken out of your comfort zone, but it is exciting. Our capability is never questioned, it is just improved on.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Northumbria has provided the perfect environment for my postgraduate study. As well as a brilliant library and resource centre, the amount of events in Newcastle centering around academia has been abundant. Our University took part and hosted many of the 'Being Human' festival's events, and hosts several guest lectures on a variety of topics that have helped my studies. Our course has provided me with the perfect balance of self study, informative lectures, and critiquing sessions with my peers. As well as this, we have had several guest lecturers and speakers, who have given some very informative talks. These have ranged from a perspective from inside the publishing industry to those who work presently in radio dramas and are pursuing other creative outlets. If I had to pick the greatest strength of the MA, it would be how the lecturers approach our feedback. Whilst our coursework is marked by them, they encourage us to critique each others work in scheduled seminars. In these sessions our lecturers have taught us how to comment professionally on work, which has given us an insight into our own writing styles and tastes, as well as helped prepare us for our personal commentaries.

How connected is your course with industry?  Do you have the opportunity of placement, work on projects?

Our lecturers inform us of every opportunity for writers as often as they can, and have created multiple networking opportunities via reading events at the Lit and Phil and other similar venues.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

The staff are still active in their creative pursuits while lecturing at the University. This ranges from writing for radio and stage, critical theory on writing, novels, and poetry. This is a massive benefit to us as students, as our lecturers can convey the changes in the publishing world as they happen.

How accessible do you find our staff?  Do you feel at ease?

Our lecturers are very accessible and are happy to organise tutorials, as long as they are notified in advance. They treat you as academics at all times and strong professional relationships are established very quickly.

As a postgraduate student, what aspects of university life are important to you?

Library facilities are incredibly important to me as an Arts student, especially now that I'm completing my MA in Creative Writing. Northumbria University is very well equipped, and has a section dedicated to silent study. Newcastle itself was a city that surprised me with its rich artistic interest, and our lecturers encouraged us to attend several events to help nurture the creative process involved with writing.

What doors do you think this course will open for you? 

I believe this course has already opened doors for me, due to networking being encouraged very early on in the semester. It is inarguable that having an MA in Creative Writing will help you that little bit more when securing a publishing deal for a novel, and is crucial for those students who, like me, wish to pursue a PhD in the subject.

Have you changed as a person?

I've become more confident as a writer and more secure in my belief that this is something worth pursuing.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words before coming to Northumbria?  What are the 3 key skills and attributes you have gained since being here?

Neglectful, vague, optimistic. I have definitely improved on my proof reading, my time management, and my ability to deliver informative criticism to others in concerns to their writing.

How would you describe Northumbria in 3 words?

Innovative, welcoming, fresh.

Do you feel that your course has been a worthwhile investment in your future?


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