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Study creative writing in New Zealand’s UNESCO City of Literature

The Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies offers postgraduate supervision in creative writing at both master's and PhD level.

Our preference is for writers of fiction. We offer particular expertise in the field of crime writing.

Supervision and mentoring by prize-winning authors

Creative writing students will be supervised by Professor Liam McIlvanney (winner of the Saltire First Book Award, the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best NZ Crime Novel and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Book of the Year), and mentored by Visiting Professor Val McDermid (winner of the LA Times Book Prize, two Anthony Awards and the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for Outstanding Achievement).
Visit Professor Liam McIlvanney's profile page.
Visit Professor Val McDermid's profile page.

Students will work with holders of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies Writers Fellowship

Students will also work with holders of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies Writers Fellowship, previously held by Janice Galloway, Louise Welsh, Zoe Strachan, Damian Barr, Andrew Greig and Lesley Glaister. The 2019 Fellows are Craig Robertson (Sunday Times bestselling author of The Photographer and Murderabilia) and Alexandra Sokoloff (screenwriter and bestselling author of the Huntress series). The Centre hosts regular literary events, such as the Celtic Noir Crime Writing Festival in 2019, while recent visitors include Ian Rankin, Peter May and Adrian McKinty.
See details for the Celtic Noir Crime Festival 2019.

The programme is housed in the handsome redbrick premises of the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at the heart of the Dunedin campus. The University of Otago also hosts the Robert Burns Fellowship (NZ’s premier literary residency), Otago University Press and Landfall, NZ’s foremost literary journal. The city of Dunedin (a UNESCO City of Literature) is home to the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, the Dunedin Burns Club, the Dunedin Detection Club and a lively local literary scene.

Creative writing at master's and PhD level

Masters students will be expected to write a thesis of about 40,000 words that will comprise a creative and a critical component.

For PhD students, the thesis can be up to 100,000 words, again with a creative and critical component.

Read the University’s 'Guidelines for a PhD with a Nominated Creative Component'.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Liam McIlvanney
Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies
Tel +64 3 479 4936
Email liam.mcilvanney@otago.ac.nz