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Master of Creative Writing

Key facts

  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Not available for international students

Ignite your imagination and intellect

Use your passion for writing to transform yourself and the world through an intense exploration of language.

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

Advance straight from your bachelor’s degree

The Master of Creative Writing (MCW) is a 180-credit programme that can follow on immediately from your bachelor’s degree in any subject.

Develop your creative process

Produce your own creative writing to challenge your innovative energies. Discover new ways to unlock ideas and connect with readers.

Gain writing experience

Work alongside award-winning authors to write your own novels, poems, short stories, plays, scripts, creative non-fiction and more.

Sue Wootton
New Zealand Author

“I finished the course with a feeling of real accomplishment…”

I enrolled in Massey’s MCW programme because I wanted to take my writing in a new creative direction, and I had a vague but hopeful idea that the formal structure of a MCW would help me achieve this. It most certainly did! First and foremost, I benefited so much from learning to articulate my ideas within a thesis framework. Then, the critical component challenged me to seriously research my topic, and a brilliant door-to-door library service allowed me to read extensively around the themes of my work.

The creative component was both challenging and exhilarating. For me it was an opportunity to test myself with long-form fiction, and I used it to write a substantial portion of a novel. The feedback from my supervisor was incredibly helpful in pinpointing my strengths and weaknesses and also in motivating me to keep going for the long haul. I finished the course with a feeling of real accomplishment, having extended myself into a whole new area of learning and a whole new writing discipline, and – icing on the cake – being close to finishing my novel. Strip was published by Makaro Press in 2016 and subsequently longlisted for the fiction prize in the 2017 Ockham NZ Book Awards.


A Master of Creative Writing is one of the most creative and enriching degrees you can do. Employers seek out arts students for their lateral and analytical thinking, communication skills and creative ability.

There are various possibilities for creative writing graduates, including:

  • Non-profit or corporate freelance writing
  • Creative arts project coordination
  • Writing for television, magazines, blogs or the book-publishing industry
  • Inter-arts collaboration for arts festivals
  • Writing for public relations
  • Creative writing in advertising
  • Teaching
  • Performance-related writing and production
  • Writing and advising on Government policy
  • Writing for social media

Creative writing staff profiles

Bryan Walpert - Auckland

Bryan is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Native Bird, a collection of short stories, Ephraim’s Eyes, and two a scholarly books, Resistance to Science in Contemporary American Poetry and Poetry and Mindfulness: Interruption to a Journey. He has received writing awards in New Zealand, Australia and the USA, a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and a national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award. He has also been a judge for several national literary contests, including the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards in poetry.

Ingrid Horrocks - Wellington

Ingrid is the author of two poetry collections and a genre-bending travel book, Travelling with Augusta, 1835 and 1999. In 2016 she was awarded Massey’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences Teaching Award for her innovative creative nonfiction courses. Ingrid is the co-editor of and a contributor to a forthcoming collection of essays, Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays on Place for Aotearoa New Zealand.

Jack Ross - Auckland and distance

Jack’s publications include five poetry books, three collections of short fiction, and four novels - most recently The Annotated Tree Worship (2017). He has edited numerous anthologies and literary magazines, and is the managing editor of Poetry NZ.

Thom Conroy - Manawatū and distance

Thom is the author of novels The Naturalist and The Salted Air. He is the editor of a collection of essays, Home. His short fiction has been recognised by Best American Short Stories 2012 and has won other awards. In 2013, he received a Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching.

Claire Henry – Wellington and distance

Claire teaches screenwriting and filmmaking in Massey’s digital media production courses. She has written and directed several short films screened in film festivals across Europe and Australia, and in New York. As a film theorist, she also has expertise in genre, national cinema, and the cultural politics and ethics of screen violence.

Stuart Hoar - Auckland and distance

Stuart has been Playwright in Residence at the Mercury Theatre; Literary Fellow at Auckland University; Burns Fellow at the University of Otago; Writer in Residence at Canterbury University; and Meridian Energy Katherine Mansfield Fellow. He has won the Bruce Mason Award for Playwrights. His screenplay for Lovelock won the New Zealand Writers’ Guild Best Screenplay Award, and his screenplay for I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry was selected for the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. His first novel was The Hard Light.

Laura McKay - Manawatū and distance

Laura Jean McKay writes about humans and other animals. Her new novel, The Animals in That Country, is out with Scribe in 2020. She is also the author of Holiday in Cambodia, shortlisted for three national book awards in Australia. Laura writes and teaches in the areas of fiction, poetry, literary animal studies, postcolonial and decolonising literatures and ecocriticism.

Elspeth Tilley – Wellington and distance

Elspeth predominately writes political theatre, especially short comedies that subvert the status quo. She is a two-time winner of the British Theatre Challenge international playwriting competition, a three-time invited playwright for Climate Change Theatre Action, and has won festival awards in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, including Best Play at Pint Sized Plays New Zealand and outstanding curated script at the Stage-It 3 Festival, Florida, USA, in 2019. Her short plays have been published in the USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand. Elspeth received the Playwrights’ Association of New Zealand Outstanding Achiever award in 2018.

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