Frequently Asked Questions


What does “innovative” mean?

innovative adj.  1. being or producing something like nothing done or experienced or created before. 2. ahead of the times. 3. (of ideas and methods) new and different; fresh, clever, having/using or showing new methods or ideas; original, modern, new, novel, innovational


 What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is the end of October of the year before the course starts.


Where can I find an application form?

At the end of this document.


When will I know whether or not my application was successful?

You will be informed by email or phone by mid?November.


Do you accept emailed applications?

Yes. These must be sent to before the end of October, together with your writing portfolio and scanned certified copies of your academic certificates (as well as a copy of your marriage certificate if your maiden name was different).


What must I pay?

You must pay a registration fee of R100 to Rhodes University; your course fees, also to Rhodes University; and a course materials fee of R300 directly to the MACW when you arrive in February.


Can my portfolio be a combination of different genres, say prose and poetry? Is there a minimum or maximum length?

Yes, it can be a combination, but you should weight it in favour of your preferred genre. Minimum length 20 pages and maximum 30 pages.


Is there a preferred style (font and spacing) for the portfolio?

For readability, we prefer a 12 point font and single spacing. Preferably start each piece of writing on a new page.


I have written a 25 page short story. Can I send this as my full portfolio?

Yes, but it would it improve your chances if you demonstrated some variety. Rather send an excerpt from your story together with other pieces of writing.


Is the course for writers in English only?

The 16 week coursework section is taught in English, and the assignments must be written in English. However the extended creative writing project can be written in either English, Afrikaans or isiXhosa and will be supervised in that language.


Can I send in writing in different languages in my portfolio?

Yes, English or isiXhosa or Afrikaans or a combination.


I have not done any “creative writing”, but would my journalistic writing be eligible for the portfolio?

Creative non?fiction or narrative journalism is considered creative, i.e. writing which incorporates the techniques of fiction such as character, dialogue, description, narrative. If you are going to include journalistic pieces, best to send those that demonstrate these features. Please note that we prefer not to focus on non-fiction unless it forms part of a hybrid approach to genre.



I have been working on a novel for the past two years. Would I be able to get guidance on it from my supervisors and finish it as my thesis project?

No. All writing submitted for the course must be written while on the course. We would expect you to write a new work as your thesis project. When the course is over, we would advise you to go back to your earlier manuscript and apply the new skills and insights you have learned on the course.


I have taken some creative writing courses in the past and I have written and published two books. Could these be considered as credits so that I do not have to do the coursework part of the MA?

No. We consider the coursework to be absolutely essential, even for experienced writers. Every teacher brings a different approach and at least some of these approaches will be new to you. The coursework assignments will bring you feedback from your teachers and fellow students which will give you fresh insights into your writing.


What does ‘full time’ actually mean? Would I be able to do the full time course if I lived in Pretoria?

No, full-time means studying full time and based in Grahamstown (February to November). You will have to attend seminars and feedback groups and meetings with teachers and supervisors every week.


What does ‘part time’ actually mean?

Part time students complete the programme over two years, working mainly from home. They attend two week?long contact sessions in Grahamstown in the first year (February and July), and one in the second year (April). Teaching is done through audio recordings, and course assignments are submitted electronically, followed by online comments and audio interaction in small groups.


Are there any conditions attached to part time study?

Yes. In addition to the above, if you are accepted onto the part-time course you agree to the following: that you will connect to the internet via an ADSL or better connection; that you will make use of a headset with microphone; and that you will participate in the online sessions from a quiet environment.



What bursaries or financial assistance is offered?

We have a limited number of full scholarships courtesy of the Mellon Foundation. Mellon MA in Creative Writing Scholarships are limited to full time study by South African applicants only. They are awarded on the basis of financial need, creative writing ability, and equity considerations. Contact the Rhodes office of Postgraduate Funding ( for an application form. Your writing ability will be assessed from the writing portfolio that you send with your application. The value of each scholarship is approx. R90,000. See info about loans and NAC bursaries on p1.


If I am a part time student, what happens if I cannot attend the intensive writing weeks in Grahamstown?

The contact weeks in Grahamstown are compulsory. Besides the teaching done in those weeks, they are essential for meeting and engaging with your teachers and fellow students, and potential supervisors. Students are required to attend from Monday 9am to Friday night, that is, to be in Grahamstown by Sunday and to leave on Saturday.


If I am a part time student, will the course pay for my accommodation and travel for the Grahamstown intensive weeks?

No. We will try to help you to find reasonably priced accommodation and transport, but you will have to organise and pay for accommodation and travel yourself.


Is there anywhere I can see the work produced by previous students?

Yes, you can buy past editions of our magazine Tyhini, which features work from all students taking the course in any particular year. Available from the course administrator ( for R200 (price may vary, and will include postage).

Last Modified: Mon, 26 Sep 2016 18:57:10 SAST