Student profile
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Natalie Cawthorne

"I’m glad I’ve been able to study for my PhD at Surrey - I feel very suited to the programme and I’ve certainly learned a lot."

"I’ve always known that I want to be a writer, and so I’ve always tried to organise my life in a way that allows me to do just that. I wanted to do a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature because it would be an opportunity for me to spend three to four years learning from world-class creative writers and academics, in a situation where my job would be to write. In addition to that, I wanted the chance to contribute my ideas and research to the field of literature, and the PhD was a necessary step toward a career in academia. 

I chose Surrey because I really liked the way the PhD in Creative Writing was organised, as cross-discipline and practice-led. The Faculty was also extremely communicative and helpful when I first got in touch to express my interest in the programme, which indicated to me that it was a place I would be happy spending the next four years.

I’m glad I’ve been able to study for my PhD at Surrey - I feel very suited to the programme and I’ve certainly learned a lot. My supervisors have been incredibly accessible and helpful throughout my time here, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the other faculty members and PhD students in my Department. 

During my studies I’m most proud of having two of my fiction pieces published and on becoming an HEA Associate Fellow.

My supervisor has made himself available to me whenever I need to get in touch. He reads through all of my work carefully and provides useful, effective feedback that demonstrates he is taking my project seriously. Furthermore, he has never been overbearing. He’s managed to strike a balance between supervising me and allowing me certain freedoms and flexibility to go about my work in my own way, which has enabled me to enjoy the process without feeling micromanaged.

I’ve taken workshops with the Researcher Development Programme, for things that were new to me, such as poster presentations or writing a conference abstract. I also took part in the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching programme to attain Associate Fellow status with the Higher Education Academy.

As someone coming from Houston, I’ve enjoyed being able to live in London for four years. In the UK, I’ve visited, York, Canterbury, Cambridge, Oxford, Southampton, and Bristol. Outside of the UK, I’ve visited cities in Ireland, Morocco, Spain, France, Latvia, Poland, and Italy. Following completion of my PhD I plan to move back to Houston, work my way to an academic career in creative writing, and continue writing fiction."


Discover our programmes in English literature and creative writing.