Cardiff Met coaxed John from short stories to new novella
Completing his MA in English and Creative Writing at Cardiff School of Education gave John Davies the focus, confidence and drive to write his first book.
When John came to Cardiff Met in 2011, his flair for the written word was already so impressive that he was admitted based purely on a portfolio of his creative work.
John studied for his Masters part-time while working as a venue manager for the charitable organisation Valleys Kids in Rhondda Cynon Taf, organising and promoting events from live music performances to business conferences.
He said: "I initially decided to do a Masters because I needed a higher qualification to secure a permanent managerial role at work, but found myself enjoying the course so much that I'm hoping to continue to PhD level.
"I chose to study at Cardiff Met because of the creative focus and practical nature of the English and Creative Writing course - things like the novel writing module taught me how to submit work to publishing companies, which has directly benefited my efforts to forge a career as a writer."
The MA English and Creative Writing course at Cardiff Met also includes a module on the development of the short story through the 20th century, which helped John explore key approaches to writing and apply the techniques in his own work.
John said: "I've always loved writing and been interested in the English language. I wrote songs from a very early age, and that progressed to poetry and eventually short stories.
"I love music, both as a hobby and having worked in the industry, but I've always paid more attention to the lyrics than the tunes."
Since graduating from Cardiff Met, John has written a novella and is almost ready to send the manuscript out to publishers.
The narrative follows a healthcare assistant in a Cardiff hospital, with dark humour and heavy realism; John's work often focuses on the cogs of an industry and unsung heroes of mundane everyday life.
John said: "I wouldn't have finished writing the book if I hadn't done my Masters; it honed my natural skills and made me more conscious of the techniques I'm using, so my writing is much stronger.
"It's taken far longer than I expected - lots of tweaking and culling, but having the MA under my belt, I had a clearer picture of the goals of the writing process so I could be more focused at the editing stage."
John is now putting together a PhD proposal and hoping to return to Cardiff Met again next year, to undertake further creative writing study with a focus on the Welsh music industry.
Under the spotlight:
A Levels in English, History and Politics & Government
Higher National Diploma in Business & Finance
Started MA in English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Met
Completed MA and secured permanent contract with Valleys Kids
Expected to start PhD study at Cardiff Met
Find out more about MA English & Creative Writing at the Cardiff School of Education