This course, the first Masters course in creative writing at an Irish university, was offered by the School of English for the first time in 1997–98. It is based in the Trinity Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, 21 Westland Row: the birthplace of Oscar Wilde. Its faculty includes some of Ireland’s leading contemporary writers, including Eoin McNamee, Deirdre Madden and Kevin Power, Harry Clifton and Carlo Gébler. Each year the Centre also hosts visiting Writer Fellows, who in recent years have included Claire Keegan and Colette Bryce. Distinguished alumni include Chris Binchy and Sean O’Reilly. Nicole Flattery and Lisa Harding have emerged as exciting new talents in the past few years.
The M.Phil. in Creative Writing programme is designed for students who are seriously committed to writing, are practising, or are prospective authors, and who wish to develop their writing within the framework of a university course and in the context of an Irish literary milieu. It involves the close and critical examination of the student’s work in group workshops and under guided personal tuition. At Trinity you will also join a diverse, supportive and dynamic community of students, scholars, and writers in a world-leading English department right at the heart of one of the world’s great literary cities.
Is This Course For Me?
This course is intended for students who are seriously committed to writing, are practising, or are prospective authors, and who wish to develop their writing within the framework of a university course and in the context of an Irish literary milieu.
Graduates have pursued careers in a range of areas including journalism, scriptwriting, copywriting, advertising, publishing, editing, the arts and culture sector, broadcasting, librarianship, education and research. Many alumni have also gone on to become successful writers.
The M.Phil. in Creative Writing is designed as a one-year, full-time course. Teaching is delivered through lectures, group workshops and personal tuition. Much of this takes place in the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, which offers a supportive and sociable working environment for the School of English’s creative writers. Students are expected to continue developing their own individual work throughout the year. The course is assessed by means of various essays and portfolios, culminating in working towards a final dissertation portfolio of 15-16,000 words
The centrepiece of the Creative Writing M.Phil. is the three-hour weekly workshop. This is where you bring work and get to listen to others. The idea of it is daunting, but reality is hardworking, inclusive and dynamic. For the first term, students are encouraged to range across form and genre, to break habits and open new vistas. This is where students start to see the core of their portfolio emerge, although most don't see the portfolio taking shape until the following Spring. The Structure in Fiction and Poetry module works through the shapes and uses, the interior dynamics of writing. Writing for a Living addresses the demands of reviewing and essay writing. Both modules are structured and intellectually rigorous but at heart involve writers talking about writing and bringing the class into the orbit of their own experience.
In the second semester, the weekly Briena Staunton lectures brings a series of established writers in to talk about the practice of writing. A visiting Writer Fellow also leads a workshop, offering students a further chance to engage with a working writer in close-up.
The creation of a final portfolio is the formal endpoint of the M.Phil., but it is equally important for us to see writers emerge in rich, artistically textured, and diverse surroundings. That is the enduring satisfaction
Click here for further information on modules/subjects.
Study Creative Writing (M.Phil.) at Trinity
Eoin McNamee of the School of English at Trinity College Dublin gives an overview of the Creative Writing (M.Phil.) programme.
AwardsNFQ Level 9
Number of Places16 Places
Professor Eoin McNamee
28th March 2024
Applicants are expected to hold a university degree or equivalent qualification (at least an upper second, or equivalent, GPA of at least 3.3). In addition, applicants must submit a portfolio of recent creative work. The portfolio of sample work should include no more than 3,000 words of prose (short stories, excerpt/s from a novel or drama) or six to eight poems.
Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees.
Get in Touch
+353 (0)1 896 2885
Eoin McNamee (course director): firstname.lastname@example.org
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Though I had published short stories before my year in The Oscar Wilde Centre, I lacked confidence in my work. After completing the M. Phil., I found that I wrote with far more authority and consistency – in the past three years I have had three plays produced, one optioned for a film, and another translated for performance in Italy. Through its expert and friendly guidance, and its stimulating blend of emerging talents, the Centre enabled me to refine my vision. I highly recommend it.
The year I spent at the Oscar Wilde Centre gave me the time, the focus and, crucially, the support to complete my first novel. The collegiate atmosphere, the sharing of ideas, the opportunity to experiment with new forms, all underpinned by a sense that the work really mattered, were of immeasurable benefit to me. I honestly can’t envisage having brought the novel to completion without my Wilde time.
My year in the Oscar Wilde Centre represented a certain freedom while also providing a certain structure. I had some wonderful tutors and fascinating classmates. I didn't have had a manuscript by the time I graduated, but instead I had the requisite tool box to pursue a writing career.