Creative Writing


The Master of Creative Writing is for writers working on a large-scale creative writing project – a novel, short story collection, full-length work of creative nonfiction, or poetry collection.

The best portfolio each year wins the Sir James Wallace Master of Creative Writing Prize of $5000, New Zealand’s richest prize for a creative writing student.

Areas of study

The MCW is designed to support, inform, and develop your creative practice within a lively, committed and diverse community of other writers. The course is convened by the award-winning novelist and short story writer, Paula Morris.


The programme begins in March each year, and classes end in late October. In early November you submit a manuscript for assessment: a novel, short story collection, full-length work of creative non-fiction, or poetry collection.

You can study Creative Writing in the following programmes:

What you will learn

There are two weekly classes during semester: the workshop and the seminar.

In the weekly workshop you will submit drafts of stories, poems and novel sections for discussion and feedback, and take part in weekly writing exercises.

The weekly seminar is a forum for thinking and talking about writing. In these classes we discuss published work and explore the key issues of technique you need to consider in your work – including point of view, form, narrative structure, characterisation, setting, use of language, dialogue, and detail – in focused craft discussions. The seminar class will also include discussions of editing, publishing, international submissions and adaptation.

The seminar class hosts a range of visitors, including local and international writers; practitioners from the world of film, radio and theatre; and speakers from the publishing and literary arts world. Recent visiting writers have included Ben Okri, Eleanor Catton, Owen Scott, David Mitchell, Colm Toibin, Sebastian Barry and Anita Desai.

MCW students serve as volunteers and MCs at the Auckland Writers Festival, and engage in project work for the New Zealand Book Council, the New Zealand Society of Authors, and other literature-related organisations. They also present their work-in-progress at LOUNGE, a series of public readings presented in Old Government House and open to the public.

More information

Find out more about studying Creative Writing.