A black and white photo of Shreya


Shreya is an Indian postgraduate student studying MA in Creative Writing and Critical Life at The University of Leeds. She is a proud writer and haijin. She has got many haiku and free verse poetry published in various national and international journals. Currently she is onto writing her first novel. Writing about "the things that are so common but rarely noticed", she is intrigued by the magic that the "words can spin". She aspires to be an ambassador of positive change in the ways of the world.

Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose to study this course because I wanted to widen my horizons in the field of Creative writing, which I did end up doing. I have written a long poem, a memoir, a short story, a script and a critical essay. I chose The University of Leeds because of the modules that the institute was offering. I wished to learn how to write longer creative pieces and that is exactly what I learnt.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

The play of words and the experimentation with them excites me the most. The way the words capture a moment of reality and the emotions related to them, and the journey of creating a fictional as well as poetic piece gives me a satisfaction that I cannot describe. To learn different genres and write my experiences and imaginations in the most creative of ways that I can. The feedback, the reviews, to know what others think about your work makes it all much more exciting. 

What aspects of the course do you enjoy the most?

The aspects that I loved the most were when we were all given some writing task and then we would share our work with our peers and professors, and the process of writing a response papers to discuss them in the seminar. I developed a certain kind of confidence in us and we became more open to sharing our creative pieces and opinions. 

Have you worked closely with a particular tutor or member of the University’s academic staff? Tell us about that experience.  

The two professors that I have worked really close with are my Long Poem tutor Prof. Kimberly Campanello and my Research Project Supervisor Prof. Ross Raisin. Prof. Campanello helped me a lot in my journey of writing a long poem. She shed light on my strengths and guided me to use them to write a poem that was grounded and held meaning. The drop-in sessions with her would make me realise that I was not alone on my road to learn. Prof. Raisin being the experienced writer that he is, taught me how to begin a project like the novel of mine. He taught me the process drafting and then eventually editing.

Another very important that I learnt from him is how to ask myself the right questions as a writer and how to view my work as a reader. Working with him made me realise that it is not always necessary that the most important message in a work is what the writer thinks it is, sometimes it is entirely different from a reader’s eye.

What activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

Other than my studies, I had joined a poetry group where students from PhD, Postgraduation as well as Undergraduation would come together to share their work and get feedback on it. We classmates from Postgrad also made our own writing group, where we would meet every Friday and talk about how we were doing in classes and share our most recent work to get feedback on. I attended various Poetry Sessions where an established writer would come and talk about their most recent publication and their journey to its completion. 

What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed so far at Leeds will help with these plans? 

The first and most important task on my hand after finishing my Master’s Degree is to finish my novel and script that I am working on. The knowledge that I gained at The University of Leeds became my stepping stone for beginning these projects. I now know how to critically analyze my own work and edit it. I am not afraid of getting feedback and learning what does sit right in my work. I have the courage to go out and share my work with the world but I also have the patience to complete it first.

What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?

One thing that I would like to say is that come with the attitude of learning. It is a study of skill. So polish yours as best as you can. Marks and grades are important but more important is what you excellence you gained in the process of obtaining those marks. Talk to your teachers, they can help you the best. Be in contact with your peers, they understand what you are going through. Go out and have experiences because those experiences are going to make your writing enriching.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

I feel Leeds as a city has a lot to offer to students. First there are many students so you do not feel lonely. As an Indian student I was able to find many Indian peers. The accomodations are all mostly close to the University, that is, at a walking distance. You can find many international supermarkets, where almost everything is available. The city centre is also at a waking distance. There are busses to almost anywhere.

What do you plan to do once you graduate? 

The first and foremost thing is to look for a job, which I still am and get myself moved and settled. Then I plan to work on my PhD proposal and my novel that I am currently writing.