Reading for my MA in Creative Writing

This page is dedicated to sharing my Creative Writing MA reading list. 

I will update it as I go along.

  • Inside Creative Writing: Interviews with Contemporary Writers - Graeme Harper (Ed). I find this book fascinating and have read and reread various chapters. Basically each chapter is based on a question the editor has put to a number of writers about their writing. Most of each chapter is made up of the answers given by the writers with some additional exploration about the aspect of writing being addressed from Harper. 
  • The Ern Malley Affair - Michael Heyward. Engaging account of how in October 1943, the young and successful Australian literary editor, Max Harris, received a package of poems by a recently deceased poet, Ern Malley, forwarded to him by his sister Ethel. Harris was convinced he had hit upon the work of a Modernist genius, a poet of whom Australia could be proud, Harris published Malley's poems in his magazine, Angry Penguins. The poems and the Poet turned out to be a fake and we are drawn into considering what counts as Art. 
  • My Life as a Fake - Peter Carey. A fictional reworking of the Ern Malley case. This is clever and funny too. Interesting to look at how a 'real' story can be a springboard for a piece of fiction; exemplification, perhaps, of that writing exercise where we take something from our local news and work it up. 
These three texts are all on my reading list for the first semester, in addition I have read Writing Short Stories by Ailsa Cox. Cox is one of the tutors at Edge Hill where I am studying and based on this, I can't wait to meet her! It offers a thorough exploration of the elements of fiction, across a range of genre, with LOTS of examples to explore. 


  • Beginning Post-modernism - Tim Woods. This is an excellent introduction (and beyond) to post-modernism and, critically it explores what post-modernism/post-modernist means across different disciplines and across different times. 
  • Lullaby - Chuck Palanuick. A novel, a crazy novel. We're studying it as part of our exploration of post-modernism. I really didn't know what to expect, I would never have picked it up without it being required reading, I have been completely blown away by it!
  • White Noise - Don DeLillo. *whispers* I still haven't read this. I should have but I messed up with my reading schedule and I managed to overlook this one - despite having bought myself a (second hand) copy. I'm looking forward to reading it though, and I have it on good authority that it's a good read. 
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan. This is what I was reading when I should have been reading DeLillo. The reason I read this one first was, I think, because it's one of the few on our list written by a woman. I wasn't sure what to expect, it's not something I'd have picked up without the direction of the course but it is ABSOLUTELY brilliantly done. Be patient and be prepared to *go with the flow* - it's well worth the effort. 
  • Uncreative Writing - Managing Writing in the Digital Age - Kenneth Goldsmith. Goldsmith has some radical ideas about how we should go about creative literary production in the modern world. A very interesting, if challenging, text. 
  • Reality Hunger: A Manifesto - David Shields. Essentially a book of quotations for the post-modern sensibility. Crazy and gripping in equal measure. 
  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage - Alice Munro. Great collection of (long) short stories, all the more interesting when accompanied by lecture from Ailsa Cox who is an expert on Munro, and has great insight to short story reading and writing. 
  • Diary of an Ordinary Woman - Margaret Forster. I first read this about ten years ago, not long after it was published, and reread it recently to present to my MA class and write a paper on it. It is MAGNIFICENT. Fictional diary spanning most of the 1900s. Millicent is a beautiful character to get to know. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Forster is MASTER of understatement.
  • Margaret Forster: A Life In Books - Kathleen Jones. An insightful biography. Forster positively does not engage with the literary world and finding information about her is difficult. I read one interview which was, I felt, just plain rude in that the male writer seemed to miss the whole point of her approach to writing. Jones' text is clear and sympathetic.