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MAWild Writing: Literature, Landscape and the Environment

University of Essex
United Kingdom, Colchester
Tuition fee To be confirmed
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Essex is one of the oldest inhabited areas of the British Isles, a landscape shaped by human history. Our MA Wild Writing allows you to explore this landscape and the wilder landscapes of Britain, as well as those across the world, through a combination of science and literature modules. Our field trips take you outside the classroom, often in sun, sometimes in snow or rain. You gain an understanding of key environmental challenges while building your own ways of approaching writing about the wild: creative, critical, and scientific.

One of only five universities in the UK to offer a taught postgraduate course on literature and the environment, we are unique in our combination of modules on contemporary nature writing, ecocriticism, and psychogeographic literature.

Our full-year focus on writing about landscape, place, and the environment allows you the choice of focusing on developing your scholarly abilities through exploring ecocriticism, or on developing your creative writing practice about the natural world – or you can aim to advance both.

Your core modules cover topics including:

- the emergent creative non-fiction genre exemplified by figures such as Robert Macfarlane, Kathleen Jamie, and Helen Macdonald
- 19th – 21st century environmental poetry and prose
- contemporary ecocriticism and environmental literature
- psychogeography

An unusual collaboration between the departments of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and Biological Sciences, we also offer you the opportunity to gain a greater scientific depth of knowledge about the natural world as you develop as a writer. You might want to explore the impacts and management of pollution or the ecology of fisheries.

You will explore the literature of landscape and the environment both within the seminar room and beyond, exploring the wild spaces of Essex and East Anglia through field trips that take you to wonderfully wild worlds in the company of leading experts. We visit inspiring areas including Mersea Island, Orford Ness, Tilbury, and the Norfolk Fens.

Programme structure

Year 1

The New Nature Writing
Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography
Literature and the Environmental Imagination: 19th to 21st Century Poetry and Prose
Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis (optional)
US Nationalism and Regionalism (optional)
Managing for Ethics and Sustainability (optional)
Pollution: Impacts and Management (optional)
Conservation Management and Practice (optional)
Environmental Economics (optional)
Fisheries Ecology (optional)
Environmental Politics (optional)
Colonialism, Culture and Human Rights (optional)

Career opportunities

A number of our graduates from the MA Wild Writing have gone on to undertake successful careers as writers; others are practicing artists, scholars or environmentalists. One now works on climate change in Washington, another is a “wild practitioner” who work on the relation between nature and mental health and another now works for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police around Chesapeake Bay!

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended
Suspended for the 2020 entry
Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
Application period has ended
Suspended for the 2020 entry