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Profile picture of Caitlin McKenna.

Affiliate Writer and Performer

Creative writing is such an important skill that’s valued in so many jobs and has definitely helped me become employed in different industries.

Why I chose Leeds Trinity and my best memories

I’d completed my undergraduate degree in English Literature and History at the University of Leeds in 2020 and in my final year when deciding where to go for my MA I knew I wanted to go somewhere with a little more of a personal and more intimate feel. Leeds Trinity offered this, allowed me to stay in Leeds, and when I started researching the course I knew it perfectly met all my requirements.

Caitlin McKenna reading at event.

A lot of my course was restricted to distance learning but the few times we managed to get onto campus everything felt really engaging. I felt so close to my classmates after reading their work, and it was amazing to feel the energy of everyone who had gathered together, eager to learn and make connections. These few days were really the best of my entire time.

What I enjoyed most about the course

The Professor and other lecturers who led my course were incredible. They were the most inspiring people I’ve ever met as you could really feel the passion they had for the course and the art of writing itself. Any question I had was answered promptly, my tutors, especially Paul Hardwick, understood (as well as respected) my disability requirements, and I knew that they were experts in their field.

Leaving with new skills

More than just the actual skill of writing proficient and successful poetry, and how to tackle the difficult industry of writing and publishing, I learned how to manage my time effectively, working with my tutors to balance a full-time job and my full-time course. I learned how to work personally with deep criticism and be really constructive and accepting of it as part of a journey to improve my work.

Caitlin McKenna performing.

My career after graduating

I’m both working as an affiliate writer for a media and advertising company, as well as working and performing across the North as a published poet and a spoken word artist. I was well prepared from my Creative Writing MA that it would be a struggle to work full-time as a writer, especially when beginning your career, but I was also so inspired and encouraged by this course that I really wanted to begin devoting time to it and trying to prioritise it instead of viewing it as a hobby. So while affiliate writing helps me gain experience as a writer - harnessing my skills at copywriting, editing, and researching - poetry helps to nurture my personal creativity and artistic side.

My advice to prospective students thinking about doing a similar course

Don’t worry about the employability or niche nature of the course. Creative writing is such an important skill that’s valued in so many jobs and has definitely helped me become employed in different industries. Embrace every opportunity and know that if you’re writing - you’re a writer. Never allow yourself to become intimidated. I’m a disabled, working class, queer writer and I’m now published in journals and anthologies internationally, with my own book, and invited to perform at some of the best events around. You can do it.