Olivia Hodgson

Creative Writing MA

BCU wasn’t always on the cards for Olivia, who joined us through clearing. But after graduating in English and Creative Writing in 2016, Olivia returned to complete a Master’s in Creative Writing. Since then, Olivia has been shortlisted at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival and will have her debut poetry book published in 2022.

“I faced some challenges before coming to BCU, like money issues, and I was the first one in my family to do a degree. If other family members have been, they can tell you how to write a personal statement and this is how day-to-day stuff works, but I knew none of that so I had to go in blind.

I paid for my Master’s myself whilst working and that was a challenge at times. Juggling the two was difficult and sometimes hard to balance. But even when it felt tough, I always felt capable of completing it. I never felt beaten. I felt like ‘I can do it’ and I think that was largely down to the environment of the School of English. It is a very encouraging and supportive space.

There was a difference with going from undergrad to post grad, with a massive jump up on essay word counts and the amount of reading to do too, but I felt that I was well prepared coming back to BCU to do it.

Thankfully, I read a lot in advance and I think that’s key to an English degree. I know that sounds obvious, but you’ve got to read widely and not just literature. Read about history, philosophy, religion and politics. It is such a broad and all-encompassing subject that I feel like reading broadly prepares you for it.

The variety of what you study is helpful and the tutors are also very aware that people learn in different ways and they are conscious of that and they also love what they’re teaching. It’s not a burden for them, they are excited to share their knowledge and if you put in a bit of effort, you got 100% effort back from them. If you’re interested, they’re interested.

Since BCU, I feel a lot more confident in myself, it’s like my potential that has been tapped into. I’m a better person. The transferable skills from an English degree, like being able to analyse and read thoroughly. The written word is everywhere and the degree is adaptable.

Putting my work out there has made me realise that I am good enough and I can do this.

My debut poetry book ‘The Calls’ is being published by Blue Diode Publishing in May 2022 and will include over 20 poems that I wrote during my Master’s degree.

I am blessed to have come here through clearing. BCU provided me with opportunities and the start of lifelong learning.”