At Kent we are committed to high quality literary fiction, and the most exciting and experimental contemporary poetry. We love great literature and don’t see any reason why our students should not aspire to produce it. We are excited by writing that changes the reader and, ultimately – even if it is a very small way – the world. We love writing that is full of ideas, but that is also playful, funny and affecting. You will find at Kent a place where – with a focus on leading contemporary authors and poets – you will immerse yourself in literature that challenges and inspires. From your very first session with our world-leading tutors, you’ll be encouraged to look deep inside yourself for your own truth and your own experiences, and also outside yourself at the contemporary world around you. Then you’ll work out how to turn what you find into writing that has depth, risk and originality but is always compelling and readable.
We want our students to write important, dazzling work that is not just published but also highly acclaimed. We don’t want our students to write inside genre and formula but outside, where real art is found. At Kent we realise that the most ambitious work is often produced by the most modest people, and that sometimes it is produced slowly Indeed, it might take years for the lessons you learn at Kent to sink in and for your first major work to be completed. So we won’t hurry you to get something finished immediately. We will encourage you to make a good start on something. We will teach you everything we know about writing and give you the chance to practise, through writing exercises, workshops and assignments, your own writing, and give you the time to develop your own style.
Our favourite contemporary writers include Anne Boyer, Anne Carson, Alan Hollinghurst, Ali Smith, Carmen Maria Machado, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Danez Smith, Deborah Levy, Denise Riley, George Saunders, Han Kang, Kaveh Akbar, Lydia Davis, Matt Bell, Magnus Mills, Mary Gaitskill, Ocean Vuong, Patrizia Cavalli, Peter Gizzi, and Yoko Tawada.
We love the Black Mountain poets, and the New York School; we love Frank O’Hara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jack Spicer, Tim Dlugos, Iliassa Sequin, Bernadette Mayer. We are still reading and remain inspired by Sappho and Du Fu; by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov and Nabokov; by misfits and iconoclasts like Carson McCullers, Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson and Kathy Acker; by Modernist innovators like Jean Rhys, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, and Daniil Kharms. Our extensive reading lists and well-stocked library will get you started on what should become a lifelong commitment to discovering exciting new contemporary work as well as great classics. You will be encouraged to discover and explore your own literary influences and consider what makes the great writers great.