Student spotlight details
Samir was attracted to the MSt in Creative Writing as he wanted to pursue his writing in a peer group environment.
'Before enrolling on the MSt I was a doctor, a consultant oncologist, living and working in Cheltenham, and I still am. I’m also Director of Medicine Unboxed, a project that works to illuminate some of the central challenges of medicine through the arts. I’d always written scraps and pieces, mainly poems, but I’d never really never allowed myself the time, structure, permission (or affront) to do much more than that.
'I was attracted to the course in order to pursue some proper commitment to writing, and the hope of an environment, peer group and formal teaching within which my writing might ignite and hold a bit. Yep — writing as a flame, needing the mechanics of ignition, but also knowing that it’s too easily extinguished by pedestrian breezes. So: the pursuit of a sheltered space, rich in oxygen.
'It was difficult being surrounded by such talented people, to be honest, almost overwhelming to begin with; that and terror of showing your work whilst being crippled by the the usual levels of impostor syndrome. But you quickly realise that everyone feels the same, and everyone is just hoping to express something whilst being terribly doubtful at the same time; and you realise that this is just fine. The deadlines were difficult, of course, but utterly necessary to ever producing anything at all.
'The most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of the programme... Stories and poems appearing, the particular elation of this and how it is almost self-catalysing. The recognition that the magic, such as it is, actually does rely on sitting down and just doing it, actually just writing. Hearing others’ voices and words, and recognising echoes and shared traces across your own; the kinship of that. Long evenings spent drinking and talking about literature and writing and pretty much everything , way into the very early hours, the privilege and gift of this.
'Now I have finished the MSt I am going to carry on being a doctor, and a person, and a writer; will that do?
'To anyone considering undertaking a course - do it. But see it more as route, rather than destination, and be open to what and who you encounter, including yourself.'