LJMU Writers' Workshop

Learn more about the LJMU Writers' Workshop

LJMU Writers' Workshop is a community of writers, researchers, visiting writers and postgraduate students. 

By blending rigorous research, theory and creative practice, the Group’s members explore the possibilities of creative and reflective writing. Researchers from the LJMU Writers’ Workshop are not limited by genre and produce work within the following areas:

  • Research-informed novels
  • Creative non-fiction
  • Poetry
  • Plays and screenplays
  • Creative writing pedagogy
  • The applications of technology in extending access to writing
  • Practice-as-research
  • The impact of writing on wellbeing

One of LJMU Writers’ Workshop’s key research projects is Free to Write – a project that tested how writing could be used to help prison inmates and ex-offenders rehabilitate.

The project was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and was run in conjunction with various organisations, including: Merseyside Probation Services, bail hostels, English PEN, Koestler Trust, Prisoners Education Trust, Writers in Education Trust and Liverpool City Libraries.

Free to Write found that reflective and creative writing has a positive impact on offenders and ex-offenders. In addition to this significant finding, the project resulted in the publication of an anthology of prisoners’ writing and academic research on the impact of creative writing on prisoners’ lives. This work is in use in prisons and therapeutic contexts nationally.

Free to Write was part of the English impact submission to the most recent research assessment (Research Excellence Framework 2014). The submission was rated as world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour (4*).

Currently, the LJMU Writers’ Workshop has extended Free To Write’s focus and researchers are working in partnership with organisations to test the impact of creative practice on the lives of socially disadvantaged or culturally marginalised groups.

Other representative research projects include Andrew McMillan’s work into the legacy of past events in Rochdale and the South Yorkshire coalfields; Jeff Young’s radio essay, ‘Transformer’ on Franz Kafka, and drama documentary When the Beatles Met Elvis, which were both commissioned by the BBC.

Collaborative projects are central to LJMU Writers’ Workshop. Consequently, the Group has built numerous partnerships with leading organisations and institutions, including: the Bluecoat Centre, the Everyman and Playhouse Theatre, Tate Liverpool, Writing on the Wall and PARTIA. LJMU Writers’ Workshop also partner with MMU’s Cheshire faculty, NAWE, Time To Read and Sandstone Press in The Novella Award, an annual writing competition that celebrates new fiction in the novella form. Sandstone Press publishes the winning novella.

Similarly, the Group has established many key partnerships overseas. For example, Tamsin Spargo was appointed visiting Professor in English at the University of Malaya in 2012. Currently, members from LJMU Writers’ Workshop are also discussing the formation of a creative partnership with a prestigious US institution.

LJMU Writers’ Workshop hosts Writing 101 – a free seminar series which is open to the public and features readings by prominent creative writers, such as Alison Moore, David Gaffney and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Postgraduate study and PhD opportunities

Postgraduate students are central to LJMU Writers’ Workshop community.

The MPhil and PhD provision offered by LJMU Writers’ Workshop provides graduates of MA programmes with a structured environment in which to produce their theses. Theses consist of creative work accompanied by relevant research and/or complementary writing, which may take many forms. All of the Group’s postgraduate work has a practice-as-research ethos.

LJMU Writer’s Workshop particularly welcomes students interested in producing novels and short story collections, literary non-fiction and poetry.

If you are interested in studying for a Creative Writing MPhil / PhD, please contact our admissions team.

Telephone: 0151 231 5175
Email: apsadmissions@ljmu.ac.uk

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Contact details

Contact the LJMU Writers' Workshop

If you’d like to ask a question or find out more about information about this Group, please contact the team using the details below.

Contact: Dr Robert Graham
Email: r.s.graham@ljmu.ac.uk
Call: +44(0)151 2314844


Redmonds Building
Brownlow Hill
L3 5UG