Department of English

The Department of English at City boasts a research-driven environment for the study and practice of the English Language, alongside the UK’s largest Creative Writing Masters programme.

The Department of English is home to our new undergraduate English programme, now in its second year, as well as popular and long established MA programmes in Publishing and Creative Writing.

Our courses

BA (Hons) English

Our English BA combines world-class literary scholarship with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and skills in skills in preparation for the creative, professional and digital new world. Building on our significant international reputation in Creative Writing and Journalism, this special programme focuses on three core strands: literature, professional writing, and creative writing.

English MA

City’s stimulating MA English enables you to acquire academic research training and vital employability skills while studying in the heart of London.

Creative Writing and Publishing MA

Our Creative Writing and Publishing MA enables aspiring writers to combine business acumen with creative endeavour, equipping them to work within the publishing industry while fostering their writing skills. Students acquire intimate knowledge of publishing and are offered support from professional writers to complete a substantial creative writing project. The programme offers the option of industry placements and has a strong record of alumni publications and creative writing prize winners.

International Publishing MA

This programme is perfect for graduates who now want to forge a career in the global publishing industry. Students arrive with degrees in a wide range of humanities, social science, business, and science subjects, and come from all over the world. We enjoy fantastic links to commercial publishers in London from across the full range publishing sectors. The MA seeks to provide students with a practical understanding of how 21st century publishing works in an increasingly globalised, fast-changing and often digital markets.

Publishing MA

Our Publishing MA is perfect for graduates with an interest in a career in the publishing industry. Students arrive with degrees in a wide range of humanities, social science, business, and science subjects, and from all over the world. The programme enjoys fantastic links to many different commercial publishers in London from across the full range publishing sectors. The programme seeks to provide students with a practical understanding of how 21st century publishing works, and pays particular attention to issues of innovation and digitisation in publishing.

You will be taught by

You will be taught by

BA English

Dr. Patricia Moran

nullDr. Patricia Moran's research in recent years brings together her interests in psychology, narrative and female embodiment to show affect is central to an understanding of female development and female subjectivity. This interest has shaped the chapters she has contributed to her co-edited books The Female Face of Shame (Indiana University Press, 2013) and Jean Rhys: Twenty-First Century Approaches (Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

In addition, Patricia has published extensively on Modernist women writers, including two monographs — Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and the Aesthetics of Trauma (Palgrave, 2007) and Word of Mouth: Body/Language in Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf (University of Virginia Press, 1996). Patricia is currently completing a book that focuses on the way in which manic-depressive illness shaped British writer Antonia White’s narratives of self.

Dr. Minna Vuolelainen

nullDr. Minna Vuolelainen joined City in August 2016 and teaches on the BA English programme. Before joining City, she worked at Edge Hill University, Birkbeck and the University of Derby. Her teaching is underpinned by a strong commitment of interdisciplinarity, derived from her past studies and ongoing research.

Minna’s primary research interests lie in fin-de-siècle popular and print culture and publishing history (c. 1880-1920), genre studies (particularly gothic and crime), London literatures, spatial theory, and the medical humanities; twentieth-century conflict literature is a significant secondary interest. Recent publications include a monograph on popular author Richard Marsh (University of Wales Press, 2015), a co-edited collection of essays on the Italian Holocaust survivor Primo Levi (Palgrave, 2015), and a critical edition of Marsh’s Judith Lee detective stories (Valancourt, 2016). She is currently working on a co-edited essay collection on Marsh and a monograph on Thomas Hardy and the gothic.

Dr. Hetta Howes

nullDr. Hetta Howes started as a lecturer at City in 2017, and is teaching on the new BA in English. After studying for her BA and MPhil at the University of Cambridge, she joined Queen Mary in 2012 to begin her doctoral thesis. The project, supervised by Professor Julia Boffey and Dr Alfred Hiatt, examines the role of water as a literary metaphor in late-medieval devotional prose, with a special emphasis on writings for and by women. She is currently turning this thesis into a monograph: 'Transforming Waters in Medieval Devotional Literature.'

She has published on tropes of crying and cleansing in Aelred of Rievaulx’s spiritual treatise A Rule of Life for a Recluse and on the role of sight in fourteenth-century alliterative verse. She contributes regularly to the Year’s Work in English Studies, surveying current criticism on medieval lyrics, and has a book chapter forthcoming on blood and shame in a Middle English Passion lyric. She is one of the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers for 2017/18 and is committed to communicating her research to a wider audience, contributing regularly to BBC3's Free Thinking, the Times Literary Supplement, Times Higher Education and BBC History.

Dr. Dominic Davies

Dom Davies joined City as a Lecturer in English in April 2018. Prior to that, he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford, where he also completed his DPhil. His research focuses on the broad themes of colonial and postcolonial literature; urban cultural studies; and the relationship between urban infrastructure, the built environment and literary and visual cultures.

He is the author of a number of book chapters, articles, reviews and online pieces relating to these interests. His first book is Imperial Infrastructure and Spatial Resistance in Colonial Literature, 1880-1930 (Peter Lang, 2017) and his second is Urban Comics: Infrastructure and the Global City in Contemporary Graphic Narratives (Routledge, 2019). He is also the co-editor of Planned Violence: Post/Colonial Urban Infrastructure, Literature and Culture (Palgrave, 2018).

MA Creative Writing (Playwriting and Screenwriting)

Phil O'Shea - Programme Director

nullPhil O'Shea is Programme Director. Phil wrote and co-directed the feature film Vampire Diary (2007) which won Best Film at the Milan International Film Festival and three other major awards. Phil also wrote the feature films Spirit Trap (2005) and The Harpist (1998).

Phil has worked as a TV screenwriter for BBC, Channel 5, ITV and Sky TV, writing over thirty hours of produced TV drama. His stageplay Playing for England was on at the the King's Head Theatre, Islington in 2006. Phil has also directed TV drama for the BBC and the film The Crane, starring Jude Law, for the British Film Institute. Phil has won the UK Film Council '25 words or less' £10,000 screenwriting award, the Tours Film Festival special drama prize, the documentary film prize Toronto and the Virgin Atlantic Travel Film Award. Phil has lectured on screenwriting at Birkbeck College, London South Bank University, the City Literary Institute and many film schools. He is currently the External Examiner in screenwriting at Birkbeck College and the University of Bournemouth, and formerly was External Examiner at Bedfordshire University. He is a member of the film committee of the Writers Guild of Great Britain. Phil O'Shea's research area is screenwriting in the digital era.

Barbara Norden - Senior Lecturer

Barbara Norden is a playwright, theatre maker and lecturer in playwriting. She is actively working as a playwright alongside her teaching. Commissions have included The Milkman (Birmingham Rep Theatre); Meteorite (play for 7- 11 year olds, Hampstead Theatre, published by Oberon); and Souvenirs (The Factory/Hampstead Theatre and BBC Radio 4). She has participated in numerous short play and performance projects. For instance her short text Apples & Pairs was performed by The Factory in a scratch performance at the V&A on a perspex house constructed by Brazilian architect Carlo Texeira as part of Architects Build Small Spaces. Her plays have been performed in a wide variety of venues – not only theatres but also nightclubs, festivals, disused churches and art galleries. She also does research into dramatic structure.

Find out more about Barbara here

Visiting Lecturers

Terry BaileyDr. Terry Bailey is a writer and media academic. He is currently co-writing two television pilots, one for a production company in London, the other for a production company in Vancouver, Canada. Terry has worked as a television producer/director, both in his native Canada and for the BBC, and has served as a judge for the International Emmy Awards. His play, Grave Men, Near Death, was staged last year. Academically, Terry ran the MA in Scriptwriting at Aberystwyth University for ten years. His most recent articles can be found in the Television Genre Book, 3rd Edition (ed. Glen Creeber), and in the Journal of Screenwriting, 5.2. Terry's paper on the Origins of the Cinematic Three Act Structure was delivered at the Screenwriting Research Network Conference last September.

nullJim Hill is a graduate of The National Film and Television School. He is a writer and director of popular television drama and is perhaps best known as the co-creator of the successful series Boon. He has worked on many prime time television series as both a director & writer including Casualty, Pie in The Sky, Minder, Lovejoy and The Bill.

Jim has worked abroad for Fremantle Media (Grundy) in Mallorca, France, Germany, Hungary and Finland as a script consultant and story-liner, establishing and training story teams on daily serial dramas. Jim is 1st year tutor MA Television Scriptwriting at De Montfort University (Leicester), and he lectures at the National Film and Television School and is the external examiner for the MA and BA script modules at Sheffield Hallam.

Philip Palmer is a screenwriter, radio dramatist, novelist and producer. His screen credits include The Many Lives of Albert Walker, Rebus and The Bill. For radio, his plays include The King's Coiner starring Ian McDiarmid, Blame, The Faerie Queen, and two series of  Red and Blue starring Tim Woodward. As a writer of SF novels he is responsible for considerable galactic carnage; his five books published by Orbit US & UK are Debatable Space, Red Claw, Version 43, Hellship and Artemis. Philip is the founder of Afan Films, whose projects include the Welsh film noir Inferno.

For the last seven years he has had a part time role as a lecturer at the London Film School on the MA Screenwriting course. He has also worked as a lecturer at the NFTS, Bournemouth University, Leeds Metropolitan University, York University, and as an adjunct Professor at the University of Seton Hill, Pennsylvania.

nullPaul Sirett is a playwright, dramaturg and teacher. Paul's most recent production was an adaptation of Ted Hughes' The Iron Man for Graeae Theatre Company which won the award for Best Children's Show at this year's Brighton Festival (2011). Paul's also wrote the Ian Dury musical Reasons to be Cheerful for Graeae - a production in which he also played guitar.

Other productions include the Olivier nominated Ska musical The Big Life (with Paul Joseph) at Theatre Royal Stratford East & Apollo Theatre, West End, Rat Pack Confidential at Nottingham Playhouse/New Wolsey Ipswich/Bolton Octagon & West End, and Come Dancing (with Ray Davies) at Stratford East. Other plays first seen at Stratford East include: A Night in Tunisia; Worlds Apart; Crusade; Jamaica House; and Bad Blood Blues (which has also been seen in India, Brazil, South America and opens in Australia in November 2011). Paul has also written for Soho Theatre, Polka Theatre, Yellow Earth Theatre; Live Theatre, Newcastle; Dukes, Lancaster, and a number of venues on the Edinburgh Fringe. Awards include: Best Off-West End Musical, Whatsonstage; Best Play, Pearson; Best Production, City Life; Best Writer & Best Play, New York International Radio Festival; and nominations for TMA, Evening Standard and Olivier awards. Paul has also written for radio, TV and film.

nullLisa Goldman is a director, dramaturg and writer. She was Artistic Director and joint Chief Executive of Soho Theatre (2006-10) and the Red Room (1995-2006). She has dramaturged a huge range of plays, which together have been nominated for or won every UK play writing award. Her book The No Rules Handbook for Writers was published by Oberon Books in 2012 and was an Amazon Kindle No 1 bestseller.
She has directed plays at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, the Soho Theatre, and the Red Room. Lisa also commissioned and produced for the Royal Court. Lisa's work as a playwright includes Hoxton Story, Discover my Dream, A Couple of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians (co-translated with Paul Sirett for the Soho Theatre); The Diaries of Hannah Cullwick (adaptation- writer in Residence Essex University); Flying Colours (Travelling Light Tour); and On the Bridge (Oval House Theatre). Lisa has taught at RADA, Essex University and Goldsmiths, and facilitated international dramaturgy in Iran, Turkey, Norway, Japan, South Korea, US, Sweden, Finland, France, Lithuania, Poland, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Ireland.

Guest Lecturers and Mentors

All our lecturers are produced and practising writers and specialists in their chosen medium. Our visiting lecturers have developed plays and screenplays with other writers for the BBC and major theatres.

nullPenny Gold is a writer and also a dramaturge/director/producer who works in theatre, TV, film and radio. Stage plays include The President's Holiday (Hampstead) and When We Are Rich (Nuffield) and radio plays include A Chaos of Wealth and Want and Three Days that Shook the World (both BBC Radio 4).

She has undertaken literary/dramaturgical work for a wide range of theatres including the RSC, the Soho, Hampstead, Kali and the Nuffield Theatre where she was literary manager. For BBC TV she was a script editor and later producer. For ten years she was commissioning editor for BBC Radio Drama.

Writers whose work she has developed, directed or produced include Howard Barker, Edward Bond, Jim Cartwright, Nick Dear, David Edgar, Peter Flannery, Barrie Keeffe, Hanif Kureishi, Philip Ridley, William Trevor, Nick Ward and Craig Warner. A keen-eyed talent-spotter, she loves working with new writers.

nullOlivia Hetreed wrote the screenplays for Girl with a Pearl Earring (BAFTA nominated for best screenplay and three Oscar nominations) and Wuthering Heights. Television includes The Canterbury Tales: Man of Law's Tale and The Canterville Ghost. Olivia has taught workshops at the Sarajevo Film Festival and short courses for the Arvon Foundation. She is chair of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Film Committee and served on the board of the International Screenwriters' Festival.


Second year students have been individually mentored for a whole year by established screenwriters and playwrights such as:

nullBen Brown took the MA in Playwriting Studies at Birmingham University and teaches playwriting at Royal Holloway. He has also been a visiting lecturer at the London Film School and UEA. His plays include All Things Considered (Scarborough, Hampstead), Larkin With Women (TMA Best New Play), The Promise (Orange Tree) and Three Days in May (2011 National Tour and West End). He also writes for film and television and is a screen consultant for Curtis Brown and Cuba Pictures.

Andrew Cartmel was the show runner on three seasons of Doctor Who. Since then he has worked as senior script editor on Casualty and script editor and lead writer on Dark Knight. Lately he has freelanced as a writer, most recently with script commissions for Torchwood and Midsomer Murders. He has also written two plays for London's Fringe theatre, had novels published and performed stand up comedy.

nullBarbara Cox a graduate of Oxford University, is a professional scriptwriter and script editor. She has worked on numerous TV series for both adults and children, including The Bill, Wycliffe, Dangerfield, 99-1, Love Hurts, I Was a Rat!, Bootleg and the multi-award-winning Pig Heart Boy. She won a BAFTA Best Adapted Script award in 2005 for the children's drama Wipe Out. She is currently working on several film and TV projects.

nullSue Teddern has been a writer for TV and radio for over 20 years. Her many radio dramas include three series of soloparentpals.com, In Mates and Sad Girl. Her TV writing credits include: Birds of a Feather, Bosom Pals, Sister Frances (co-written with Jo Brand), Happy Together and My Parents are Aliens. Her drama series, SWAGS, has been commissioned by ITV, to be broadcast in September 2012. Sue has lectured in screenwriting, radio drama and sitcom at City, University of London, Central School of Speech & Drama, UEA and Norwich University College of the Arts. She was screenwriter-in-residence, University of Exeter, from 2002 to 2007 and also taught the MA module 'Developing the Feature Screenplay'. Sue has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Essex (2009-10) and UEA (2010-12.

Working with actors and directors

Directors and actors from London's new writing theatres and in television will help you develop your work. Recent directors have included Lisa Goldman, Tessa Walker, Lucy Morrison, Maria Aberg, Michael Longhurst and television director A J Quinn.

MA Creative Writing (Literary or Crime Novels)

Literary Novels: Principal Lecturers

The principal lecturers – all working, published novelists – teach the key opening modules and then act as the one-to-one tutors on your developing novel.

Jonathan Myerson has been Programme Director since 2008, doubling the size of the course and making it the UK's largest Creative Writing Masters specialising in Prose Fiction . He is the author of two novels (Noise and Your Father), both published by Headline Review. He has also written over forty original plays for radio. His recent work for Radio 4 includes the acclaimed dramatisation of Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, as well as Doctor Zhivago, an updated version of Trollope's The Way We Live Right Now and five series of Number 10, his series about British politics -– which won the Writers' Guild Award for Best Radio Drama 2010 - and a recent series about The Clintons.

He has also written screenplays for film - including a recent feature film version of The Taming of The Shrew – and television episodes for series such as The Bill, EastEnders and Holby City. The Canterbury Tales was his first animated film as writer and director – he was nominated for an Oscar and won a BAFTA, Primetime EMMYs and other awards all over the world. He has also directed for the theatre, in rep and fringe as well as  for the National Theatre.

Clare Allan has been teaching on the programme since 2012. She studied at UEA and was the winner of the first Orange Short Story Prize. Her first novel was Poppy Shakespeare. The book was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, BT Mind Book of the Year 2007 and longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2007.  She has written extensively for major newspapers, including a column for The Guardian since 2006, It’s My Life.

nullAnthony Cartwright leads the Reading As A Writer module. He studied at UEA – having worked in factories, meatpacking plants, pubs and warehouses and with London Underground. His debut novel, The Afterglow, won a Betty Trask Award in 2004. Heartland was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Best Novel in 2010. This was followed by How I Killed Margaret Thatcher and his latest novel is Iron Towns.

Literary Novels: Tutors and Guest Mentors

The tutors who deliver seminars and tutorials are all working, published novelists.

nullKate Worsley is herself a graduate of the MA (2010). She Rises was published by Bloomsbury in June 2013 as their "Debut Literary Novel of the Year" and won the HWA Debut Crown for New Historical Fiction. The Times said "This debut novel leaves convention behind to tell a rollicking story of love and adventure. Harwich is gloriously reinvented as a place of smuggling, secrets and a decidedly contemporary passion. This is a fresh take on historical fiction; enjoyably witty and playful” and Sarah Waters described it as "An immensely likeable novel, full of energy, intelligence and delicious turns of phrase...she inhabits her characters without strain, without fuss, but with obvious assurance, making them and their period feel utterly close and convincing".

Jeremy Page is the author of three novels and last year was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award: Do It Now, Jump The Table is about a young man meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time, not knowing that they are nudists. His first novel, Salt, was shortlisted for the Jelf First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. His second novel, The Wake, was published by Penguin in 2009, and The Collector of Lost Things in 2013. He has also worked as an editor for FilmFour and the BBC.

nullRebekah Lattin-Rawstrone is a partner of Apis Books, an independent publishing company for shorter fiction. Home, published by Social Disease (2008), is her first novel, described as 'dark, perverse, convincing and compassionate - an extremely strong first novel'. Find out more about Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone on her website.

Students also each have a Guest Mentor to offer additional tutorials. Recently these have included:

Sarah Waters is the author of five six novels: Tipping the Velvet (1998), which won the Betty Trask Award; Affinity (1999), which won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award; Fingersmith (2002) which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize; The Night Watch (2006) which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize; and The Little Stranger (2009), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker. Her latest novel is The Paying Guests. Find out more about Sarah Waters on her website.

nullA L Kennedy’s work includes novels, short stories, drama, non-fiction and journalism for a variety of UK and overseas publications. Day won a Saltire Award, the Costa Prize, the Eifel Literaturpreis and the Austrian State Prize For International Literature. Her latest novel is Serious Sweet. Her books have been translated into many languages. Find out more about A L Kennedy on her website.

nullSunjeev Sahota's first novel, Ours are the Streets, was published in January 2011 by Picador. He wrote the book in the evenings and at weekends because of his day job. His second novel, The Year of the Runaways, about the experience of illegal immigrants in Britain, was published in June 2015 and was shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

Rachel Cusk's first novel, Saving Agnes, won the Whitbread First Novel Award. In The Lucky Ones, she uses a series of five narratives, loosely linked by the experience of parenthood, to write of life's transformations; of what separates us from those we love and what binds us to those we no longer understand. In 2003 Rachel Cusk was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. Her novel, Arlington Park, was shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. In 2014 her novel Outline was shortlisted for the Bailey's Prize and the Folio Prize.<

nullEsther Freud's first novel, Hideous Kinky, was published in 1992 and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and made into a film starring Kate Winslet.  In 1993, after the publication of her second novel, Peerless Flats, she was named by Granta as one of the Best of Young Novelists under 40.   She has since written seven novels, including The Sea House, Love Falls and Lucky Break. Find out more about Esther Freud on her website.

Stephen Kelman’s debut novel Pigeon English was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. He studied marketing at the University of Bedfordshire, and subsequently worked in a factory before writing Pigeon English. His latest work, Man on Fire, is a fictional biography about an Indian Journalist Bibhuti Bhushan Nayak – it was published by Bloomsbury in 2015.

Evie Wyld is the author of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and Betty Trask Award-winning novel After the Fire, A Still Small Voice and All the Birds, Singing. In 2010 she was listed by The Daily Telegraph as one of the twenty best British authors under the age of 40. Her novels have been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize, The Miles Franklin Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Orange Award for New Writers, the Dublin International IMPAC Prize and long listed for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Her second novel, All the Birds, Singing was published in February 2013 The book won the 2014 Miles Franklin Award in June 2014. Find out more about Evie Wyld on her website.

Jonathan Coe published his first novel, The Accidental Woman, in 1987. In 1994 his fourth novel What a Carve Up! won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger in France. It was followed by The House of Sleep which won the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Best Novel award and, in France, the Prix Médicis. As of 2016, Coe has published eleven novels. He was a judge for the Man Booker Prize in 1996. Find out more about Jonathan Coe on his website.

Jon Canter is a television comedy writer and novelist. Seeds of Greatness, a comic story inspired by his upbringing, was published in 2006, A Short Gentleman in 2009 and Worth in 2011. Since 2008 he has been a regular contributor to the Guardian's comment pages.

Julie Myerson is the author of eight novels and three works of non-fiction. Her first novel was Sleepwalking and her latest is The Stopped Heart. The Observer described her penultimate novel, Then, as "a bold, uncompromising book written with a deftness of touch that marks out Myerson as a truly interesting and risk-taking author".

Crime Novels: Principal Lecturers

We have three principal lecturers – all working, published novelists – who teach the key opening modules and then act as the one-to-one tutors on your developing novel.

nullClaire McGowan has run the crime writing MA since it began in 2012. She’s the author of seven crime novels in the Paula Maguire series, which was optioned by the BBC, and as Eva Woods has written several women’s fiction novels too. She’s also written plays, short stories, and scripts. She is a former Director of the Crime Writers’ Association. You can find her on Twitter as @inkstainsclaire.

nullLaura Wilson Laura Wilson has degrees in English literature from Somerville College, Oxford, and UCL, London. She lives in Dalston, London, where she is currently working on her fourteenth novel. Previous titles include The Lover (winner of the Prix du Polar European and shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger), A Thousand Lies (shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger) and the DI Stratton series of novels, the first of which, Stratton’s War, won the CWA Ellis Peters Award for Best Historical Mystery. She is the crime fiction reviewer for The Guardian newspaper and has written a 'Crime Fiction Masterclass' column for Mslexia magazine. Her latest novel is The Other Woman. Visit Laura Wilson's website to find out more.

A. K. Benedict read English at Cambridge and then Twentieth Century Literature and Creative Writing at Sussex. Formerly a rock singer and composer for film and television, she now writes crime and speculative fiction. Her first novel, The Beauty of Murder, was nominated for an eDunnit award and is in development for an 8 part series for Sky Atlantic; the second, The Evidence of Ghost's has recently come out in paperback. Her short stories and poetry have been published widely, including in 'Great British Horror', 'Magma' and 'Best British Short Stories'. She has written a novel, The Stone House, set in the world of Patrick Ness' Class TV series as well as audio dramas for Torchwood and Doctor Who.

Crime Novels: Tutors and Guest Mentors

All our Tutors and Lecturers are working, published writers. Recent Guest Mentors include:

nullSteve "S. J." Watson is an English writer. He debuted in 2011 with the thriller novel Before I Go to Sleep. Rights to publish the book have been sold in 42 different countries around the world and it has gone on to be an international bestseller

  • Melanie McGrath
  • Tammy Cohen Erin Kelly
  • Alex Marwood
  • Zoe Sharp
  • Natasha Pulley
  • Sarah Hilary
  • Angela Clarke
  • Antonia Hodgson
And in previous years have included Mark Billingham, Sharon Bolton, Julie Cohen, Andrew Taylor, SJ Parris, and many other experienced and well-known authors.

Visiting Authors

Every term, we invite leading novelists to come for Question And Answer sessions with our students.

This is a chance to hear from established writers about the process, the heartache and the joy of being a novelist. In last few terms, we have heard from...

nullHoward Jacobson won the Booker Prize in 2010 – the first 'comic' novelist to do so. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), the highly acclaimed The Act of Love, the Man Booker Prize-winning The Finkler Question and J.

nullGwendoline Riley is shortlisted for the 2017 Bailey's Prize. Her first book, Cold Water, was named one of the five outstanding debut novels of 2002 by The Guardian and also won a Betty Trask Award. Sick Notes followed in 2004 and Joshua Spassky in 2007 which won the Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. First Love was published in February 2017.

nullAli Smith is a novelist, playwright, academic and journalist – described as "Scotland's Nobel laureate-in-waiting". Her novels have won The Baileys Women's Prize For Fiction, the Goldsmiths Prize and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Novel Award.

MA Creative Writing (Narrative non-fiction)

Principal Lecturers

nullDr. Julie Wheelwright has been programme director since 2007. She has written three books, Amazons and Military Maids: Women Who Dressed as Men in Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness, The Fatal Love: Mata Hari and the Myth of Women in Espionage and most recently, Esther: The Remarkable True Story of Esther Wheelwright. She has written numerous chapters for academic books and journals, focusing on the participation of women in armed conflict and in the intelligence services. Her broadcasting career has included producing for Woman’s Hour, feature-length documentaries for Document and producing television documentaries on historical subjects for the BBC, for The History Channel (Canada), APTN and W. She is currently acting as a historical consultant for the Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, on a major exhibition on Mata Hari. As a journalist, she contributed author profiles to Image, The Independent and Scotland on Sunday and features for most UK national newspapers including The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times and in Marie Claire,  Red Magazine and The New Statesman.  She received her PhD in journalism in 2014 from City, University of London.

nullLesley Downer has made her living as a writer for most of her adult life. As an author she specialises in a place - Japan - rather than a genre; most of her non-fiction doesn’t slot easily into any particular genre. An award-winning writer, her books include a travel book, On the Narrow Road to the Deep North; a biography, The Brothers, chosen as a New York Times Book of the Year; the best-selling Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World, translated into eight languages; and Madame Sadayakko: The Geisha who Seduced the West. She has written four novels, including The Last Concubine, translated into thirty languages. She has also presented and written television programmes, including a six part series A Taste of Japan for BBC2. Lesley’s latest novel, The Shogun’s Queen, was published in November 2016.

nullSarah Wise has a Master's Degree in Victorian Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. Her debut book, The Italian Boy: Murder and Grave Robbery in 1830s London (2004), won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her follow-up, The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum (2008), was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize for evocation of a location and was a Radio 4 Book of the Year. Her most recent book, Inconvenient People, was shortlisted for the 2014 Wellcome Prize. Her television appearances include the BBC's 'The Slum'; Who Do You Think You Are? and History Cold Case.  She has spoken on BBC Radio 4’s Thinking Allowed, All in the Mind, Woman's Hour and the Today programme. You can find her online at sarahwise.co.uk

Tutors and Guest Mentors

nullSarah Bakewell is the author of At the Existentialist Cafe: freedom, being, and apricot cocktails (2016) which tells the story of twentieth-century existentialism, exploring the lives and ideas of its creators and asking what it might still have to say to us today. Her previous book, How to Live: a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer (2010) is an unorthodox biography of the  sixteenth-century philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography in the U.S. and the Duff Cooper Prize for Non-Fiction in the U.K., and was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award and the Marsh Biography Award.

nullKate Chisholm is the radio critic of the Spectator and the author of Fanny Burney: her life (Chatto & Windus, 1998), Hungry Hell: what it’s really like to be anorexic (Short Books, 2002) and Wits and Wives: Dr Johnson in the company of women (Chatto & Windus, 2011). She has also written essays for The Cambridge Companion to Frances Burney and The Last Bungalow: writings on Allahabad (edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra). ‘Best Bakery in Town’ tells the story of her family’s connection with India across several generations.

nullIan Cobain has been a journalist since the early 1980s and is currently an investigative reporter with the Guardian. His inquiries into the UK's involvement in torture since 9/11 have won a number of major awards, including the Martha Gellhorn Prize and the Paul Foot Award for investigative journalism. He has also won several Amnesty International media awards. His most recent book is The History Thieves: Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation (Portobello Books).

nullLauren Elkin is the author of Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London, (2016). A cultural history of women writers and artists who have found personal freedom as well as inspiration by engaging with cities on foot and on their own terms, Flâneuse combines biography, cultural history, literary criticism, memoir, and polemic, and brings together a diverse group of women, focusing on George Sand, Jean Rhys, Agnès Varda, Virginia Woolf, Martha Gellhorn, and Sophie Calle. The narrative arc charts Elkin’s own progress from Long Island, where she was born, to Paris via Venice, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and London.

nullColin Grant is the author of the memoir, Bageye at the Wheel and more recently, A Smell of Burning: The Story of Epilepsy. He is an Associate Fellow in the Centre for Caribbean Studies and producer for BBC Radio.  He joined the BBC in 1991, and has worked as a TV script editor and radio producer of arts and science programmes on radio 4 and the World Service. He has written and directed plays including The Clinic, based on the lives of the photojournalists, Tim Page and Don McCullin.

nullAmy Liptrot received the Wainwright Prize for The Outrun, which was also shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize. As well as writing for local newspaper, Orkney Today, and editing the Edinburgh Student newspaper, she has worked as an artist's model, a trampolinist, and in a shellfish factory.

nullAlexander Masters won an Arts Council Writers' Award for Stuart and went on to win the Guardian First Book Award and the Hawthornden Prize. The book was also shortlisted for the Whitbread Book-of-the-Year Award, the Samuel Johnson Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US. He also wrote a screenplay adaptation for the BBC, broadcast in September 2007. It won the Royal Television Society Award in the Single Drama category and the Reims International Television award for the Best TV Screenplay. His most recent book is The Genius in My Basement: A Biography of a Happy Man.

nullPeter Moore has been a lecturer at City since 2010 and is a graduate of the MA in narrative non-fiction at City where he wrote his first book, Damn His Blood (2012), a reconstruction of a double murder in rural Worcestershire at the height of the Napoleonic Wars was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week . His second book, The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers who Sought to See the Future (2015), was a New York Times notable book of the year and listed among the ‘Best Books of the Summer’ by The Times. His third book will be published in 2018.

nullKate Summerscale is the author of the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham Award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography Award. She has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House, published by Bloomsbury in April 2008, has been awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction 2008 and was made into a major ITV drama in 2011.

MA Creative Writing and Publishing

Principal Lecturers

Lisa O’Donnell has been teaching on the programme since 2016. She won The Orange Prize for New Screenwriters with her screenplay The Wedding Gift in 2000. She was also nominated for the Dennis Potter New Writers Award in the same year. She worked in television for several years and was a writer on teen soap Hollyoaks. In 2013 she won The Commonwealth Book Award for her best-selling novel The Death of Bees, and an ALEX Award in 2014 presented by the American Library Association for Best YA Fiction. Her second novel Closed Doors was published in the US, Germany and the UK in 2014, which she has also adapted for the screen. Lisa is working on her third novel funded by Creative Scotland and is currently writing up her PhD with a focus on truth in fiction and identity of the author.

Tutors and Guest Mentors

nullKeren David is a journalist and YA star who has been shortlisted for The Bookseller's YA Book Prize, the UKLA award and the Branford Boase Award, and nominated four times for the Carnegie Prize. Keren started out in journalism as a teenage messenger, she trained as a reporter, and then later worked for many national papers before moving to Amsterdam with her family where she studied art history, learned to cycle and failed to learn Dutch. In 2007 she returned to London, and took a creative writing evening class at City University. Her first book, the award-winning When I Was Joe started out as a plot-planning exercise on the course. Her most recent YA novel, The Liar’s Handbook, inspired by recent real-life cases of women deceived into relationships with undercover policemen was published in 2016.

nullJeremy Page’s first novel, Salt (Penguin, 2007), was set among the saltmarshes of North Norfolk, where I grew up, and the fens near the Wash. His second, The Wake (Penguin, 2009), is set in the estuaries of East Anglia and the North Sea itself, where its protagonist, Guy, takes his barge out to sea in an attempt to reinvent his life.  Salt was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Jelf Award and The Wake won the prize for fiction at the East Anglian book awards and was shortlisted for the New Angle Prize. His third novel, The Collector of Lost Things, was published by Little, Brown in 2013.  It’s the story of a collector travelling to the Arctic in 1845, trying to find evidence of a bird that became extinct a year before. Jeremy has also worked in the UK film and TV industry for nearly twenty years, as a script editor for the BBC, Channel 4 and Film Four.

nullNatasha Pulley studied English Literature at Oxford University. After working as a bookseller, then at Cambridge University Press as a publishing assistant in the astronomy and maths departments, she did the Creative Writing MA at UEA. She has recently returned from Tokyo, where she lived for nineteen months on a scholarship from the Daiwa Anglo–Japanese Foundation. Her debut, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, is a historical fantasy thriller set in atmospheric, smoggy Victorian London and Japan. Her forthcoming novel, The Bedlam Stacks is published by Bloomsbury in 2017.

MA Publishing and International Publishing


Laura di Giuseppe

Mary Ann Kernan

Visiting Lecturers

Taught modules on the MA in Publishing and the MA in International Publishing are supported each year by a range of exciting and experienced visiting speakers and guest lecturers from across the publishing industry. In 2016 and 2017 these have included:

Nicola Barr, Literary agent at Greene & Heaton

Sarah Bell, Operations Director, The Economist

Jason Bartholomew, Rights Director, Hodder & Stoughton

Richard Charkin, President of the International Publishers Association and Executive Director of Bloomsbury Publishing

Jonathan Crowe, Editor in Chief for Natural and Social Sciences, Oxford University Press

Anna Faherty, Curator, The Reading Room

Andrew Franklin, Founder and Managing Director of Profile Books

Eric Huang, Development Director, Made in Me

Azar Hussain, Head of Data, Faber & Faber

Caroline Kimbell, Associate Director of Licensing and Digitisation, Senate House

Stephanie Milner, Commissioning Editor, Pavilion Books

Sibeal Pounder, author of The Witch Wars children’s book series

Emma Smith, Commissioning Editor at Orion

Martin Sugden, Head of Open Access Marketing at Taylor & Francis

Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740–1832 and Tides of War. A novel of the Peninsula War

Andrew Welham, CEO, Octopus Publishing Group, Hachette

Grace Whooley, Senior Marketing Manager at Bloomsbury Children's Books

Student success

Find below some of our more recent student successes

Literary Novels: students now published

1 in 6 of our students becomes a published novelist. Here are some of out most recent...

Eli Goldstone graduated in 2015. She is the current Prose Editor at Cadaverine Magazine. Her debut novel, Strange Heart Beating, is published by Granta in 2017. A darkly funny and seductive novel that confronts the black undercurrent of possession inherent in love, and the impossibility of ever truly knowing even those dearest to us, Strange Heart Beating is a breath-taking debut from an author whose vision is both acerbic and tender.

Helen Donohoe graduated in 2014. She studied politics and government at Manchester University and the LSE. She has twenty years’ experience as a campaigner, lobbyist, volunteer and writer. Her written work has ranged from peer-reviewed papers through to blogs for The Huffington Post and New Statesman. Birdy Flynn is published by OneWorld in 2017.

Hannah Kohler graduated in 2012. The Outside Lands was published by Picador in the UK and St. Martin’s in the US in February 2016. Joshua Ferris said: "Kohler is particularly good on the ethical ambiguities among men during wartime, puncturing some of our most sacred bromides regarding virtue, brotherhood, and mission. She reimagines the Vietnam War and its misbegotten aims as a travesty of the family, beautifully articulating the wider sacrifices too often ignored."

Jem Lester graduated in 2011 and won the PFD Prize. Shtum was published by Orion in Spring 2016. Shtum is a tragi-comic story about a father struggling to cope with his severely autistic 10-year-old son while he and his wife are separating. His editor says: "When I finished reading Shtum for the first time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s illuminating about the joys, frustrations and day-to-day slog of having an autistic child. It’s heart-breaking in places, but tempered with real lightness and laugh-out-loud humour."

Hannah Michell graduated in 2010. The Defections was published by Quercus in 2014. David Peace said: “A book of betrayals and borders, real and imagined, and of deceptions and desires, which beautifully and dramatically evokes the spectres of Korea’s past and the divisions of its present in ways reminiscent of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American or Ian McEwan’s The Innocent.” She now teaches at Berkeley.

Iman Verjee graduated in 2012 and won the PFD Prize. Her first novel, In Between Dreams, was published in 2014 by OneWorld. Margaux Fragoso, author of Tiger, Tiger said "Lyrically written, emotionally explosive, the story of Frances is one that will continue to haunt the reader’s thoughts long after the last page is finished... an astonishing and artful debut by an unusually gifted young writer." Her second novel, Who Will Catch Us As We Fall was published in 2016.

Crime Novels: students now published

We are delighted to already have several published students on the crime writing MA, despite only having three lots of graduates to date! These include:

Rod Reynolds graduated in 2014. He was born in London and, after a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, he decided to get serious about writing. His first novel, The Dark Inside, was published by Faber in 2015. The sequel, Black Night Falling, followed in August 2016. Contact him on Twitter: @Rod_WR

David Young (winner of the CWA Historical Dagger) graduated in 2014. Temporary jobs cleaning ferry toilets and driving a butcher's van were followed by a career in journalism, finally leading teams for the World Service radio and World TV. Stasi Child is the first of three books in the Oberleutnant Karin Müller series – set in 1970s communist East Germany – bought by the UK arm of Swedish publisher Bonnier by former Quercus CEO Mark Smith. It reached the top 5 bestsellers on Amazon Kindle, was number one bestseller in Amazon’s Historical Fiction chart, and has been optioned for TV by Euston Films.

Steph Broadribb/ Stephanie Marland graduated in 2014. She was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego - Crime Thriller Girl - she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at www.crimethrillergirl.com. She trained as a bounty hunter in California.

Fran Dorricott - coming soon

Laura Shepherd-Robinson - coming soon

Chris McGeorge - coming soon

Other students are working with agents and we look forward to seeing their work in print soon.

Narrative non-fiction: students now published

nullClifford Thompson is a journalist and writer.  He has worked in television news for more than twenty years and will see his first book published in September 2017.  He’s a staff journalist with BBC News covering national and international stories.  He’s worked for Newsnight on BBC Two, BBC News 24, and BBC One’s Breakfast programme.
Falling Through Fire is a memoir published by Mirror Books about his time, first as a firefighter, then as a journalist working on major disasters including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the Paddington train crash.

Aaron Eske works for a US communications firm that specializes in non-profits. He was Communications Director for Angelina Jolie's orphan advocacy organization, Global Action for Children. His book, My Family, A Symphony, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011 and has been translated into seven different languages.

Peter Moore has been a lecturer at City since 2010 and is a graduate of the MA in narrative non-fiction at City where he wrote his first book, Damn His Blood (2012), a reconstruction of a double murder in rural Worcestershire at the height of the Napoleonic Wars was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week . His second book, The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers who Sought to See the Future (2015), was a New York Times notable book of the year and listed among the ‘Best Books of the Summer’ by The Times. His third book will be published in 2018.

Bridget O'Donnell worked at the BBC for ten years before studying at City University London on the second year of the Masters in Non-Fiction. Her book, Inspector Minahan Makes a Stand, is a historical true-crime story set in the 1880s about the extraordinary events leading up to the raising of the age of consent. It was published by Picador in 2012.

Find out what Peter Moore and Bridget O'Donnell advise

Anne H. Putnam is a freelance writer and editor based in the US whose wry and poignant memoir about body image and gastric bypass surgery, Navel Gazing, was published by Faber and Faber in 2013.

N.A. Pickford’s true crime book, Lady Bette and the Murder of Mr Thynn is the true story of Lady Bette, fourteen years old and immensely wealthy, who is tricked by her unscrupulous grand-mother into marrying Thomas Thynn, a man three times her age and notoriously debauched. A professional maritime historian, N. A. Pickford has also made documentaries for Channel 4 and published books with Dorling Kindersley and National Geographic.

Kusumanjali Ravindranath's book Good Night & Good Luck was published by Harper Collins India. This memoir traces the journey to peaceful slumber, for a new mother and her baby. It’s an obstacle course strewn with ‘booby’ traps, warring baby gurus, indulgent and obsessive grandmothers, jet lag and colliding cultures – all part of the new mother’s vertiginous learning curve. A witty, heartwarming book about a baby’s first year, and about navigating the myths and truths of modern parenting between two continents, Anju’s experience could be your guide to (dare we say it?) a good night’s sleep.


H M Aziz won a commendation for The Cheekovit (Fiction) in the Wasafiri Magazine’s new writing prize 2015.

Creative Writing and Publishing: students now published

Sonya Lalli graduated in 2015. Her debut novel The Arrangement is published by Orion Fiction in 2017. Sonya is a Canadian writer of Indian heritage who she studied law in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and at Columbia University in New York City before coming to City for the MA in creative writing and publishing. She currently works as a journalist at a legal magazine in London, has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and loves travel, yoga, piano, reading and cocktail bartending.

Carlie Sorosiak graduated in 2015. Her debut YA novel If Birds Fly Back, published by HarperTeen US/Macmillan UK in 2017 and is a story, she says, about missing people and astrophysics and kissing and one completely transformative summer.

Advance praise has included quotes from:

“It’s the rarest author who can pull off laugh-out-loud hilarious, profound, and breathlessly romantic, all in the most sparkling prose. That shortlist includes Rainbow Rowell, Nicola Yoon, and now, Carlie Sorosiak.”—Jeff Zentner, Morris Award-winning author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days

If Birds Fly Back “should resonate with fans of Morgan Matson, John Green, and Rainbow Rowell.” —Kirkus


Holly Domney graduated in 2017. She won the Dystopian Fiction Prize sponsored by the George Orwell Society and is currently working in the publishing industry.

Maja Olsen, a current student, won the Dystopian Fiction Prize this year with another CWP student Nick Owen winning a commendation.

Research and Events

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in conversation

Friday 20th April

The Department of English are delighted to welcome Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for an interview style event, chaired by Louisa Egbunike, Lecturer in English. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an internationally acclaimed Nigerian writer and leading African writer of her generation. Adichie’s work is read around the world and has been translated into over thirty languages.

The event is free to attend but please book a place.

  • Undergraduate enquiries t: +44 (0)20 7040 8521
    Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB
  • Postgraduate and Research enquiries t: +44 (0)20 7040 0249; +44 (0)20 7040 3721
    Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB