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The creators and graduates of a postgraduate creative writing course have celebrated their record of one published novelist a year with a special event for the Off the Shelf literary festival.

Academics and graduates of Sheffield Hallam University's Creative Writing MA held a free, public event at the University, as part of the Off the Shelf Festival of Words 2013, organised by Sheffield City Council.

The course, which started in 1995, has seen 18 of its graduates have novels published, and many more of its graduates have had short stories, poems and scripts published. Graduates of the course include Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, which sold more than a million copies. Marina was joined on stage by fellow graduates James Wheatley, Dr Rachel Genn and Susan Elliot-Wright, who recently signed a three book publishing deal, and novelist Professor Jane Rogers, who helped set up the course.

The authors spoke of their experiences of studying and teaching on the course, and answered questions from the audience on their techniques and inspiration. They also read excerpts from their novels and short story collections. 

Course leader Dr Harriet Tarlo said: "One of the key things that sets our creative writing masters apart is our approach to interaction between students, lecturers and alumni. It's very much a community - almost a family - of writers, and tonight's event was a celebration of that network of support.

Authors Jane Rogers, Marina Lewycka, Rachel Genn, James Wheatley and Susan Elliot-Wright
Authors Jane Rogers, Susan Elliot-Wright, Rachel Genn, James Wheatley and Marina Lewycka
Marina Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

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"All of the lecturers on the course are published writers, whether it's novels, short stories, film and television scripts or poems. And our track record of one published novelist a year - along with all the published short story writers, poets and scriptwriters - is proof that creative writing can be taught."

For press information: contact Joe Field in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2074 or email