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Getting creative
Wong Yat-hei
update on Saturday, May 1, 2010
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The City University brings the first master's degree in fine arts in creative writing to town.

"Asia, especially the mainland and India, have drawn a lot of attention from around the world," says Xu Xi, writer-in-residence of the course. "There are more and more writings about Asia and the interest in the region's culture has never been higher."

Students are taught by established authors who have both Asian and international backgrounds. Other teachers are poets, novelist and non-fictional writers from Hong Kong, India, Southeast Asia and North America.

Xu has published seven books of fiction and essays and won awards including the prestigious O. Henry Prize.  The programme prepares graduates to work in a range of fields where good writing is required, including cultural and arts administration, creative industries, editing, and publishing. It is also suitable for those who wish to teach creative writing at high schools and universities.

The programme is designed for people who are not able to participate in full-time study. It is mostly delivered through one-on-one distance mentoring, supplemented by short and intensive writing workshop residencies.

However, Xu reminds students that the workload can be demanding. "Students are constantly writing throughout the course. They have to produce poems, manuscripts and send them to their mentors. About 300 to 400 pages of work are needed to be submitted in every semester," she says.

In order to ensure quality, only a limited number of students will be accepted each year. Applicants should have a bachelor's degree or equivalent from an accredited university and be able to submit writing samples to demonstrate their ability. The course takes two years to complete and students are required to finish within four years.

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