Elliot johnston coates ba

Elliot Johnston-Coates

Why did you choose to study your degree at the University of Leeds?

I have always loved the creative, vibrant atmosphere of Leeds. I decided to take a tour of the campus and fell in love with the beautiful architecture, especially the libraries.

The course content for my degree looked fascinating and every module appealed to me. Talking to staff on an open day confirmed my decision; everyone was so friendly and helpful.

What opportunities have you taken advantage of while studying here so far?

My prose has been published in Tenter Hook, an anthology of work produced by creative writing students.

I have also attended readings each semester by students on the course as well as events run by the University of Leeds Poetry Centre, such as the launch of Vahni Capildeo’s book Skin Can Hold.

How do you think your degree will help you in your career?

Receiving constructive feedback from my peers and tutors has really helped my confidence to grow and inspired me to pursue a career in the creative industry.

Delivering presentations and working both independently and as part of team has prepared me for being able to work in different environments.

What skills have you gained so far?

I have developed my communication skills, especially in terms of conveying an argument convincingly through the essay form.

I have also gained editorial skills that benefit both my academic and creative writing. Sharing and receiving feedback on creative pieces each week has allowed me to practice my teamwork and networking skills.

Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member of staff? 

I have enjoyed working closely with Dr. Kimberly Campanello. Each week, Kimberly has provided invaluable feedback that has enabled me to grow as a writer and a student. This semester, we worked together to create a personalised reading list that complimented my creative work.

What advice would you give to someone considering BA English Literature with Creative Writing?  

I would advise looking at the course content. I have found the balance between the creative and critical modules to be extremely rewarding but make sure you are happy to balance the two styles of writing.

Other than that, I would write as often as you can to get into the habit of producing creative work each week.

What do you think of the facilities?

The School of English is a brilliant department and the rooms provide a great space for learning. Also, the libraries are amazing and a really great place to go and work if you like to study quietly.

And what do you think of Leeds as a city?

Leeds is such a diverse, multicultural place to live. The people are really friendly and there is lots of culture to enjoy from the museums and galleries to the numerous shopping centres and busy nightlife.

I think it’s the best city in the UK; as exciting as London, but easier to travel around.

Tell us about your recent publishing success.

I have recently had two short stories accepted by Endless Ink Publishing House. The first story is called A Good Hunt and follows a predator in a dystopian society, tracking his human prey. The second story is called Show Time and details an assassination attempt on a powerful queen.

I was given a prompt for each story, based on a book previously published by the company, and asked to develop it into a short narrative.

Endless Ink were impressed by my work and have now asked me to pitch a novella for publication next year.