SAM has a strong research culture in Creative Writing, with UNSW ranked as a national leader in this field in the recent Excellence in Research for Australia report. Our creative writing staff include award-winning writers of fiction and poetry and possess internationally recognized expertise in scholarship on the teaching and practice of Creative Writing. Our staff are also experienced and decorated supervisors who have received between them both the Vice-Chancellor's and the Dean's Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision.

Creative Writing at SAM is distinguished by: encouraging innovative and experimental writing in and across genres, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and ficto-criticism; and developing in students a strong awareness of the critical and social contexts in which their work circulates. We provide a vibrant and engaging environment in which students can develop as writers. UNSWriting runs a series of master classes with visiting local and international authors, and 'in conversation events' which enable students to network and connect with the wider literary community.

The undergraduate major includes core courses in Creative Writing, plus a range of prescribed electives in English Literary Studies, Media & Communications, Film Studies, and Theatre & Performance. Throughout the major, students produce their own body of creative work by developing practical skills in the craft of writing, and by learning how this craft relates to the history of literary forms and the contemporary political and aesthetics uses such forms are put to. Successful students can also continue on to undertake Creative Writing at the Honours level.

Our most significant offering is the PhD in Creative Writing, for which full scholarships are available for eligible candidates. For this degree, candidates produce a full-length creative work and an accompanying scholarly dissertation. Unlike many other writing programmes, we do not encourage an exegetical relationship between these two components, where the critical work makes manifest the aesthetic and theoretical rationale for producing the creative work or provides an interpretative template for assessing it. Instead, we encourage a far more flexible connection between the creative and the critical: a complementary and dialogic relationship, rather than a supplementary and explanatory one.

Recent Publications

Some recent publications by graduates of our PhD programme include:


Anna Westbrook - Dark Fires Shall Burn (Scribe, 2016)

Charlotte Wood - The Natural Way of Things (Allen & Unwin, 2015) *Winner of the Stella Prize and the Indie Book of the Year

Mette Jakobsen - The Vanishing Act (WW Norton, 2012) *Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize

Short fiction

Roanna Gonsalves - The Permanent Resident (UWA Publishing, 2016)

Sylvia Petter - Backburning (IP, 2007) *Winner of IP Picks Best Fiction


Tamryn Bennett - Phosphene (Rabbit Poets Series, 2016)


Jane Gleeson-White - Six Capitals, Or Can Accountants Save the Planet: Rethinking Capitalism for the Twenty-first Century (WW Norton, 2015)

Susan Steggal - A Most Generous Scholar: Joan Kerr, Art and Architectural Historian (LHR Press, 2012)


A group within SAM...

Cultivating flows of ideas and good writing
Connecting writers, publishers and students
Offering special events, workshops and public talks

UNSWriting hosts a series of talks throughout the year.

Visit the website for upcoming events or listen to recordings of previous events here.

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The Unsweetened Literary Journal is an annual publication run by students at Arc. It provides a voice for students, showcasing the university's creative writing talent since 1998. It features poetry and prose from both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The publication is also a serious literary competition that is judged by members of Sydney's writing scene.

The UNSWeetened Literary Journal is edited, designed and produced by a team of volunteers who gain experience in project and event management, editing, publishing, and promotions.

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