DLMA Summer School 2013

The Distance Learning MA Summer School 2013

Students came from all over the UK, Ireland, Greece, Vietnam, South Africa and the United States to attend the Distance Learning MA Summer School, 28th July – 3rd August 2013.

See below for a selection of responses drawn from anonymous evaluation forms completed by our Distance Learning MA Summer School.  There are photographs of the Summer School on the Flickr page of Transcultural Writing at Lancaster.


DLMA workshopHard to pick out one or two sessions as they were all astoundingly valuable and liberating… Conversations, discussions, analysis with such a diverse and knowledgeable, insightful group has been invaluable. Well led by every staff member or visitor.

The workshops I attended were fantastic…In all of the above workshops I have managed to produce some writing which can be used for my current project/portfolio. All workshops have useful exercises to help us practice on certain skills. It was good to listen to the writing of other fellow students and learn from them.

Brian’s session on setting and character was so enlightening, the exercise on describing setting will change the way I write/place my characters in their setting or use setting to show character – great stuff!

Graham’s session on critical/writerly reading was, for me, the best session of the week. The opportunity to have our work critiqued and to participate in the critiquing of others, face to face was an invaluable experience for us distance learners and the only regret I have is that we did not have even more of it. I learnt so much at that session, listening to Graham critique work word by word, line by line was nothing short of incredible.

I found everything useful to me, besides the publisher interactions, which were just fun. I found that Brian’s workshop on place, setting and character made the writing process much more considered, more a process of composition than my usual impulsive outpouring. The synopsis workshop was particularly helpful because it helped me to order the short fiction I’ve been working on and start thinking about grouping the stories. I didn’t know Graham at all until coming to this school, but his sense of humour makes it easy to get used to him very quickly. His generosity of spirit and enthusiasm goes a long way to encourage a writer mired in doubt.

DLMA workshopThe workshops were excellent, the real highlight of the week.  I particularly enjoyed Jane’s workshop which was a complete surprise as I hadn’t read all that much poetry.  Graham’s critical reading workshop was excellent, a really enjoyable discussion on how to read, interpret and enjoy prose and poetry.

Brian really blew me away, even though he’s my tutor and I’m already a little bit used to him. His reading will stay with me as one of the absolute highlights of my listening life.

Readings brilliant, along with discussion and informality. I have been amazed at what I found possible when prompted by any given framework or structure.

Visiting agents and editors

I thought they were so informative and gave the group a real inside look at the process involved with taking our creative outputs and looking at them in the light of being a business decision. This is information that you really can’t get anywhere else and to also be given the freedom to ask questions of them was so much more than I could have hoped for or expected.

These were fantastic. A whole two hours of getting to bombard them with questions – learning the truth about all the myths – an invaluable experience.

The workshops with Sam Copeland and Vanessa Gebbie were very illuminating and gave me some excellent pointers and guidance on publishing.

Personal tutorial

My visit with my tutor was great!

I have clarified my direction, consolidated my sense of what is required, and received feedback that leads me to believe my aims are not delusional.

The personal tutorial I had with Sara confirmed that I am very lucky to have her as my tutor and mentor. Sara had taken time to read my self-reflection form carefully and gave very detailed and structured feedback. We discussed about the progress of my novel, ways to overcome some of the writing issues I was having, and the next step. We planned for the next tutorials to make sure that I will be ready for my portfolio by the end of the second year. Sara is very passionate about the novel I am writing so I feel very very much encouraged. I am very grateful for Sara’s honesty, her techniques as a writer, and her kindness as a human being.

dinnerOther comments?

I really appreciated the positive energy. The tutors and students are passionate about creative writing, and I had a great time.

The readings from fellow students are also great and high quality. I have had so much fun and learnt a great deal during this programme. Thank you so much for having me.

Lancaster’s MA in Creative Writing is mentoring me to become the best writer that I can be. The two-year-program is helping me to root my writing projects with sound techniques, grow them with fresh ideas and expand their potential with new connections to writers, agents and publishers. I am encouraged to be different and unique, so that what I write is authentic to Vietnam and my culture.

I am very much enjoying the programme to date and it has been a great opportunity for experimentation in my writing. I could not have considered a full time campus MA and this programme has allowed me to continue to develop my writing. I also like that the focus is  on the individual’s writing project.

It was great to meet all the tutors, to hear their readings – even to have breakfast with them! It was also lovely to meet all the other students on the course, when up until now we only really knew those people in our own groups. It was a fantastic opportunity to put all our previous online contact into context and I think distant learning students at other universities are really missing out.

This whole program, though especially the experience of this Summer Session, has been wonderful. I have learned an incredible amount from all members of the program team and could not ask for a more talented or educating group that I am honored to say I’m learning from.

I was looking forward to the Summer School but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the week.  The dynamic amongst the group was excellent and the quality of the workshops and tutors were incredibly high.  It was challenging and enjoyable in equal measure.  I loved it.

The combination of reading and writing really worked for me. To hear the work ventilated brought it to life. Since our work includes discernment and criticism, it gave us a wide range of expression to practice these skills…It was wonderful to come together as a cohort and to experience the solidarity of a class.




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