Andrew Cowan
  • 1.18 Arts and Humanities Building

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Personal profile


Andrew Cowan is a graduate of UEA with a BA in English and American Studies and an MA in Creative Writing. Before joining the faculty in 2004 he was twice a Royal Literary Fund writing fellow at UEA, working with students on their expository and creative writing skills. He was a longstanding tutor in Creative Writing for the Arvon Foundation and is the author of six novels, which have been published in 12 languages, including PIG, which won a Betty Trask Award, the Authors' Club First Novel Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, a Scottish Arts Council Book Award, the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for five other awards. COMMON GROUND and CRUSTACEANS both received competitive Arts Council bursaries. WHAT I KNOW was the recipient of an Arts Council Writers' Award and was published in 2005. His Creative Writing guidebook, THE ART OF WRITING FICTION, was published by Pearson Longman in 2011 and his fifth novel WORTHLESS MEN in 2013. His most recent novel YOUR FAULT was published in 2019.  His monograph AGAINST CREATIVE WRITING was published by Routledge in 2022. His Instagram can be found at: His website can be found at:


Administrative Posts

  • 2022-2023: Course Director for MA in Creative Writing (prose)
  • 2016-2019: Course Director for MFA in Creative Writing
  • 2016-2018: School Promotions Committee
  • 2012-2013: School Research Committee
  • 2012-2013: School Enterprise Officer
  • 2011-2018: Director of Creative Writing
  • 2011-2012: Project Manager
  • 2009-2013: School Promotions Committee
  • 2009-2012: Deputy Head of School
  • 2007-present: Admissions Tutor, MA in Creative Writing (prose)
  • 2007-2011: Course Director for MA in Creative Writing (prose)
  • 2007-2012: Member of MA Exam Board
  • 2007-2009: School Teaching Committee
  • 2004-2007: Course Director for BA Hons in English Literature with Creative Writing
  • 2004-2007: Member of BA Exam Board


Andrew Cowan is a Professor of Creative Writing and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. For 10 years until 2018 he was the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA. He is a graduate of the UEA MA and was for some years UEA’s Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow. He is the author of six novels: PIG, which won several literary prizes including the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, COMMON GROUND, CRUSTACEANS, WHAT I KNOW, which received an Arts Council Writers' Award, WORTHLESS MEN, and YOUR FAULT, which will be published by Salt in 2019. His Creative Writing guidebook THE ART OF WRITING FICTION was published in 2011, and he is currently writing a monograph for Routledge, AGAINST CREATIVE WRITING.  He teaches on the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including the MA in Prose Fiction, the MFA in Creative Writing, and the PhD in Creative and Critical Writing. In 2010 he was a keynote speaker at the 'Writing Across Cultures' conference at City University of Hong Kong and the annual conference of the Australian Association of Writing Programs in Melbourne. In 2011 he wrote UEA’s successful bid for a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. He also wrote the bid for which the UEA Creative Writing website – - received AHRC funding. In 2012 he was an invited speaker at the AWP annual conference in Chicago, at the University of Fudan in Shanghai, China, and the Festival of International Literature in Bucharest, Romania. In 2013 he was the keynote speaker at the Storyville Festival at Kyoto University of Art and Design and the 1st International Conference, Creative Writing, University of Western Macedonia, Greece, and was a participant at the Sozopol Fiction Seminar in Bulgaria and the International Festival of Literature and Translation (FILIT) in Iasi, Romania. In 2015 he was a visiting professor at the University of Western Macedonia, Greece, and in 2016 he chaired the Creative Writing program review at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and was the external adviser to the BA English with Creative Writing course approval process at Queen Mary, University of London. In 2017 he was a keynote speaker at the 3rd International Conference, Creative Writing, Ionian University, Greece.

External Activities

2018:           Paula Cocozza, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Mitch Johnson, Sharelene Teo: Waterstones, Norwich, debut novelists event: interviewer.

2018:           Arundhati Roy: BCLT / Sebald Lecture on Literary Translation, British Library: interviewer

2017:           United Nations Association, Norwich: ‘Cities of Literature and the Art of Creative Writing’: public lecture.

2017:          Slovene Book Fair, Ljubljana, Slovenia: ‘The Rise of Creative Writing’: invited speaker.

2017:          IonianUniversity, Corfu, Greece: ‘3rd International Conference, Creative Writing’: workshop leader and keynote speaker.

2017:          Suffolk Book League, Ipswich: guest speaker

2017:           University Centre Peterborough Literary Festival: ‘An evening with novelist Andrew Cowan’: invited speaker.

2016:          The Open University, Milton Keynes, Futures for English Studies Seminar: ‘The Rise of Creative Writing’: invited speaker and panellist.

2016:           Joe Dunthorne, Emma Healey, Naomi Wood: UEA London Lecture Series: interviewer

2015:          Rachel Cusk: UEA Literary Festival: interviewer

2015:          Sunday Times / Peters Fraser Dunlop Young Writer of the Year event, Foyles, London: invited speaker

2015:          Giannitsa Philological Society, Greece: ‘Can writing be taught?  Teaching the unteachable’ public lecture

2014:          Reels of History: The Great War in East Anglia, Cinema City, Norwich: invited speaker

2014:          Festival of Literature for Young People (FLY), Inspiring Reading Conference, UEA: ‘Teaching Creative Writing the UEA way’: invited speaker

2014:           Margaret Atwood: UEA Literary Festival: interviewer

2014:           James Lasdun: UEA Literary Festival: interviewer

2013:          The Hostry Festival, Norwich Cathedral: Norfolk Authors in Profile: invited speaker

2013:          International Festival of Literature and Translation (FILIT), Iasi, Romania: invited participant

2013:          1st International Conference, Creative Writing, University of Western Macedonia, Greece: ‘Scientific Committee’ and keynote speaker

2013:          International Translation Autumn School, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India: writer-in-residence

2013:          Worlds Literature Festival, UEA / Writers’ Centre Norwich: invited participant

2013 - Sozopol Fiction Seminars, Bulgaria: invited participant

2013 - Kyoto University of Art and Design, Japan, ‘Storyville’ festival: keynote speaker

2013 - The Prince’s Teaching Institute, London: ‘Can Writing Be Taught?’: invited speaker

2012 - FILB: Bucharest International Literary Festival, Romania: invited speaker

2012 - CHASE Consortium Postgraduate Creative/Critical Writing Conference, UEA London, ‘Supervising a Creative & Critical Writing PhD’: invited speaker

2012 - National Academy of Writing Creative Writing Fair, Free Word Centre, London, ‘What is the best way to teach creative writing?’: invited speaker

2012 - Université Paris 8, France, ‘Creative Writing Programs and the Contemporary Literary Field’: invited speaker

2012 - Worlds Literature Festival, UEA / Writers’ Centre Norwich, ‘Fiction, Memory, Truth’: invited participant

2012 - University of Fudan, Shanghai, China, ‘A significant climate around writing: Creative Writing at UEA’: invited speaker

2011:           Alex Preston, Shyam Selvadurai, Luke Williams: Worlds Literary Festival, UEA: interviewer

2011:           Ali Smith: UEA Literary Festival: interviewer

2011:           Sadie Jones: UEA Literary Festival: interviewer

2010:           RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia: Australian Association of Writing Programs annual conference: ‘Strange Bedfellows or Perfect Partners: The role of literary studies in creative writing programs’: keynote speaker.

2010:           The Prince’s Teaching Institute / English Speaking Union, London: ‘The Relationship between Creative Writing and Literature’: invited speaker.

2010:           City University of Hong Kong / Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival / Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership: ‘Writing Across Cultures’: keynote speaker and panellist.

2010:          English Subject Centre / Napier University, Edinburgh: ‘Beyond the Workshop': keynote speaker and panellist.

2010:           Pen Arts Reading Series, University of Plymouth: invited speaker.

Key Research Interests

My sixth novel, YOUR FAULT, will be publishd by Salt in 2019 and I am currently writing a monograph for Routledge, AGAINST CREATIVE WRITING, for publication in 2020.  In 2011 I published a Creative Writing guidebook, THE ART OF WRITING FICTION, for which I've been commissioned by Routledge to write a revised edition for publication in 2021.

I am principally a novelist with an interest in issues in Creative Writing pedagogy.

I supervise Creative and Critical writing research students, principally though not exclusively the creative component of their PhDs.

Professional Activities

  • 2018: University College Dublin: Board of Assessors, professorial appointment: external assessor
  • 2017 - University of British Columbia: Appointments Committee: external assessor
  • 2017 - Manchester Metropolitan University: Promotions Committee: external assessor
  • 2017 - Queen Mary, University of London: professorial appointments panel.
  • 2016 - Queen Mary, University of London: BA English with Creative Writing course approval: external adviser
  • 2016 - British Library, London:AHRC Academic Book of the Future project: ‘Discoverability of Creative Writing PhDs’: invited participant
  • 2016 - University of Kent: Promotions Committee: external assessor
  • 2016 - Goldsmiths, University of London: Promotions Committee: external assessor
  • 2016 - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Australia: Creative Writing programme review: Chair of panel.
  • 2015 - Judge, Young Muslim Writers Awards (Muslim Hands in association with the Yusuf Islam Foundation)
  • 2014 - Judge, Words and Women (Arts Council-funded) ‘About’ commission
  • 2014-2015 -  Scientific Committee, 2nd International Conference, Creative Writing, University of Western Macedonia (hosted by Ionian University, Corfu)
  • 2013-date - Board member, UEA-Guardian Masterclasses
  • 2013-date - Advisory Board,Meniscus international literary journal:
  • 2013 - Judge, Essex Book Festival ‘Get It Writ’ short story competitio
  • 2012-2013 - Scientific Committee, 1st International Conference, Creative Writing, University of Western Macedonia (held in Athens).
  • 2011 - AQA (Assessment & Qualifications Alliance) focus group: Creative Writing at ‘A’ level.
  • 2011 - Steering committee, NonfictionNow conference, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • 2010 - Judge, Inspire, Science Discovery Centre short story competition
  • 2009-2012 - City University London, external examiner, MA in Creative Writing (Novels)
  • 2009-10 - Liverpool John Moores University, external examiner, MA in Creative Writing
  • 2009 - Judge, East Anglia Book Awards
  • 2009 - University Campus Suffolk, panel member, BA (Hons) English revalidation event
  • 2009 - University of Chichester, panel member, BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing reapproval event
  • 2008 - University of Chichester, external advisor, BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing course review
  • 2007, 2008, 2009 - Judge, The McKitterick First Novel Award (Society of Authors)
  • 2007 - Corby Borough Council, Culture and Regeneration Vision Team
  • 2006 - Judge, Glen Dimplex New Writers Award (Irish Writers' Centre)
  • 2006 - Judge, 'Every Object Tells a Story' (Channel 4/Victoria and Albert Museum
  • 2004 - Arvon/Jerwood Foundation Young Writers' Apprenticeship Scheme, Mentor

Areas of Expertise

Creative writing.