Abigail Cobley

Abigail has a passion for writing middle-grade fiction and an interest in history. She hopes to become a published author. After teaching in primary schools, she repaired books for the British Library and British Museum. Today she works for Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham, where she hunts dark secrets amongst the millions of manuscripts and parchments.

Why I chose to study for an MA in Creative Writing at NTU

An enthusiasm for writing middle-grade fiction led to me enrolling on the MA Creative Writing course at Nottingham Trent University. Knowing that the course was taught by accomplished staff and that teaching standards were high, I believed it would be a fantastic opportunity to build on my creative talents and extend my knowledge, particularly about children’s writing. With the addition of regular talks by literary speakers, publishers, and agents, I further regarded it as an excellent way of gaining an understanding of the editorial and publishing industry.

Having worked in primary schools, in book conservation, and in a University archive, I’d always been surrounded by the written word. I’d also worked as a proofreader (employed and self-employed) for several years after attaining a Certificate in Proofreading and Copy-editing from Chapterhouse in 2009. However, I wanted to be taught more about the craft of writing so that I could improve my own work. Moreover, I wished to pursue my ambition of becoming a published author and knew that by undertaking this MA I’d not only learn a great deal, but I would show I was serious about writing.

Before I commenced the course, I had had a number of articles published in Manuscripts and Special Collections’ newsletters at the University of Nottingham. I had also compiled a book with my mum about my grandfather and great uncle’s contrasting World War Two experiences, using their original material (letters, airgraphs, and photographs). As well as this, I had completed a middle-grade fantasy adventure book of 74,000 words, and had redrafted it a number of times. My goal for this latter project was to improve it still further and then seek representation by a literary agent.

The course ultimately appealed to me because it would allow me to work in different forms and genres to discover my tastes and talents, although I was pretty sure that children’s writing was the field I most wished to work in (which has in fact turned out to be the case). With emphasis being placed on small workshops, I was keen to join a group of writers to critique work, receive constructive criticism, and develop my technique. I hoped the course would prove (as it indeed has done) to be a rewarding and enriching experience. 

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