Exit Menu

Creative Writing

Congratulations on securing your place at Brunel

We’re looking forward to meeting you - either in person or online - and introducing you to life at Brunel. To help us get started, we’ve put together a short activity and some further information to help you prepare for your course - including a snapshot of the topics you’ll cover and useful resources. If you have any questions please email Gavin.Thatcher@brunel.ac.uk.

Your pre-arrival activity

The following are a list of ideas and activities that might be useful in preparing for a degree in Creative Writing at Brunel. 

 All writers are readers too. Our students are encouraged to keep a Writer’s Journal throughout their studies. Use a notebook of any kind to jot down any ideas about what you’d like to write, and your responses to what you are reading.

We’d like you to complete a short activity before you join us. We can discuss your answers in one of your first personal tutor sessions. Your work will not be officially assessed however it will allow your tutor to get to know you better.

Tell us about your favourite book and what it means to you.

 Tell us about your favourite book and what it means to you. Any author, any period, any genre!

Write a short (up to 500 words) review to tell us a bit more about the book and why it’s important to you. We’ll be discussing some of the selections with you when you arrive, and compiling a list of all the chosen books to circulate to other students - hopefully you can introduce each other to some new great reads

The best piece of writing, according to our panel of judges, will be published on the Brunel Writer blog and the author will be awarded a £25 Amazon voucher. Please submit your work as Microsoft Word documents (or equivalent), clearly stating your full names, with the subject ‘Brunel Writer Flash Fiction’ and email to brunelwriter@gmail.com by Friday 24 September.

We also advise you to take a look at the information below. Completing wider reading and getting familiar with what you'll be learning, will help prepare you for academic life at Brunel.

Task 1: A Reading List

To introduce Creative Writing at Brunel, we want to start by offering you a Reading List.  What follows are some of our own favourite novels, from a variety of genres, which we would encourage you to pick up and read:

 Normal People (2018), by Sally Rooney

 Kindred (1979), by Octavia Butler

 Ring (1991), Koji Suzuki

 Exit West (2017), Mohsin Hamid

 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), Mark Haddon

Some Questions (to get you thinking about what you’ve read)

As you read, consider both what you like and dislike about these novels. Make notes in your Writer’s Journal:

  • Which characters in the novel can you identify with? Or are there any characters who you like to read about, even while you don’t identify with them?
  • What is the setting of the novel? Is it familiar or strange? What makes it intriguing or disturbing?
  • Who is the narrator(s)?  Are they reliable or unreliable?  Can you identify any signature aspects of their style or diction?
  •  What is the genre(s) of the novel? How do you know? Have you read any other works of this genre previously?  How does this compare?

 Lastly, given that you are reading these texts during a global pandemic: are there any aspects of these fictions which speak to our current situation? 

Task 2: Your own Reading List

We would also like your input! 

 Above, we have offered you some of our own preferred reads, but we would also love hear what you have been reading.  With this in mind, we’d like to set you the following task:

 We look forward to seeing your recommendations!

Task 3: "Books that made me"

Another key aspect of a Creative Writing degree at Brunel involves an engagement with prominent cultural media.  In particular, one popular section of The Guardian website that we often encourage students to read is entitled The Books that Made Me. On this page, authors are interviewed to compile ideas about the books they are reading, the books they wish they’d read, the books they’ve given as gifts, and more. Indeed, many authors use the interview to confess how difficult they find reading certain books, a confession which can be shocking or relieving, depending on what you yourself made of the book. 

For this task, we’d like to ask you to fashion your own ‘The Books that Made Me’ page.  For inspiration, take a look at some examples of these interviews on The Guardian website.  Think carefully about the books the authors cite as inspirational or even life changing, and then consider how your own reading experiences compare or contrast:

  • The book I am currently reading
  • The book that changed my life
  • The book I wish I’d written
  • The book that had the greatest influence on my writing
  • The book I think is most overrated
  • The last book that made me cry
  • The book I couldn’t finish
  • The book I’m most ashamed not to have read
  • The book I most often give as a gift

Task 4: Writing your story 

For this task, it is time to get creative and imagine your first day as a Creative Writing student at Brunel University London. Imagine how it will feel to begin your studies, and to meet your fellow students and tutors.

  •  Use sensory language to explore the different aspects of your expectations, hopes, dreams, and perhaps even your fears.
  •  Write 500 words in your Writer’s Journal. Don’t overthink it – you can always edit it later!
  •  Now, imagine revisiting this piece of writing at the end of your Degree. Your future self may be surprised by how much you have grown as a writer.

Final note 

We hope that these tasks will provide you with some helpful ideas on how to expand your reading and to practice your writing in preparation for university. 

  • Do feel free to pick and choose as best suits you and fit these tasks to your particular schedule. Remember that the idea is to be inspired and engaged, not stressed or overburdened! 
  • Please do get in touch via social media with any questions, concerns, or suggestions about studying Creative Writing.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Kind regards,
The Creative Writing team.