Category: Creative Writing

Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–1979


Join OCA tutor Robert Enoch on the 20 August at Tate Britain. In the 1960s artists began to abandon traditional approaches and made ideas the essence of their work. This fascinating exhibition explores this pivotal period in British history.

On taking advice

Art History 3_crop

‘Bad writers often believe they have very little left to learn’. And this, for me, sums it up. As soon as we start to dig in our heels and claim that no one can tell us anything useful, or that everyone else just doesn’t get what we’re trying to say (yet somehow, one day, a publisher will) then we’re in dangerous territory.

Show your workings


I was delighted to hear, on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, that the British Library is to make available online its archive of contemporary writers. It means any one of us, regardless of geography, has the privilege of peering into the workings of a writer’s mind.

What kind of writer are you?

Visual Studies

Some writers are planners and know how each story, poem, script will start and end before they begin writing. Other writers are explorers and have an idea, a situation, a character, a place they want to write about but have little inkling of where the writing is going until they are in the middle of it when they might find they are actually still at the beginning or just as likely at the end.

A day at the Hay


A day in the sun at Hay…it’s one of the selling points of the Hay Festival – photos on the website are focused on people under sun umbrellas reading their latest purchase and drinking cool lager. This is a risky ploy for a Welsh summer event, but it paid off for the OCA posse that arrived at the festival grounds on bank holiday Saturday. We’d come for the culture, of course we had. We’d come for the literature, naturally, for the heightened conversation we’d enjoy with each other after sharing events. But the fact the sun was out certainly helped.

Making the most of the OCA community


At the OCA, our main way of connecting with each other is online which can feel more distant to meeting up face-to-face. But, if you’re a modern-day-human embracing social media, then how much of your social life is conducted and organised online now anyway? Whilst there’s plenty of debate to be had about whether this way of communicating is more beneficial, there’s no denying its popularity.

Edinburgh Festival 2016


Edinburgh Festival is actually a suite of festivals. I think probably what most people think of now as the Edinburgh Festival is actually a fringe festival, developed as an adjunct to the Edinburgh International Festival. We now have 12 festivals running in Edinburgh, with 6 of those running concurrently during August.

To cite, or not to cite…


That is the question…. of plagiarism!
One of the issues that crops up repeatedly around assessment time is referencing academic writing. What do I reference? How do I reference? How do I know if it needs referencing? – all these are perfectly valid questions and frequent concerns.

Does your novel need to have a message?

I got into a debate recently with a writer who is far more seasoned than me. Internationally published, widely translated and published over two decades, he pondered out loud why he still wrote. ‘I’m always trying to put across a message,’ I said.

He shook his head. ‘I’m not,’ he said. ‘There’s a question I want to answer, and the novel is my way of addressing it.’

Keeping things simple

Keep it simple

Ironically, as a writing student (or as a student of creative arts who needs to write), you may not find simplicity easy to attain. First drafts often result in spontaneous explosions of writing which feel very good to get down on paper, but perhaps disappoint when you read them through.