Professional Writing

  • Each week you will explore a different mode of journalism and feature writing, led by Kathryn Aalto, New York Times best selling author, historian, and international speaker.
  • You will develop a varied portfolio of work and a firm grasp of what comprises a successful and sellable feature, building skills that can be taken into the professional world.
  • You will learn how to analyse feature writing attributes, interview subjects, and master the ‘elevator pitch’ to interest editors to take your work.
  • Be inspired by a best-selling and award-winning authors and journalists visiting the class to share their stories and tips in craft. In 2018, this includes James Rebanks, author of #1 Sunday Times Best Seller and Memoir of the Year, The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District. He has also contributed to The New York Times and The Atlantic Monthly. Our other visiting guest includes, provisionally, author and feature writer Ed Caesar, winner of 2007 Young Journalist of the Year (British Press Awards) and 2014 Journalist of the Year (Foreign Press Association), who has written long stories about secretive Russian oligarchs, African civil wars, marathon tennis matches, British murder trials, and wingsuit flying. Other conversations with journalists from The Washington Post and The New York Times will be via Skype.

Professional writing covers such forms as:

  • travel and tourism features
  • interviews and profiles
  • reviews of literature, theatre, film
  • nature writing for newspapers
  • music journalism
  • cookery and gardening features
  • restaurant reviews
  • satire and humour.

This specialist module builds on English and Creative Writing at Plymouth’s existing strengths in equipping students for successful and rewarding careers.

Alex interviewing the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Dr John Mahony, along with other team members, behind the Palace Theatre restoration.

"The skills I gained from studying English at Plymouth University helped me land my dream job in journalism. Over the three years of the degree I developed research and writing skills which have become an important part of my daily working life; while the encouragement and guidance I received from tutors helped me to flourish inside and outside of seminars." 

Alex Shipman, BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing, 2012-15; now a reporter with the Plymouth Herald.