MA Creative Writing

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Creative Non-Fiction Workshop

Course unit fact file
Unit code ENGL71742
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by English and American Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Taught by workshop, with each class looking at different aspects of the conception and writing of non-fiction that grips, informs, entertains and inspires readers, with the aim of producing publishable and marketable non-fiction in the fields of journalism, personal essays, reportage, autobiography and memoir, among others. 

Aims

  • To develop students critical reading skills, allowing participants to offer clear and constructive feedback on work-in-progress.
  • To explore at the practical level the particular demands and difficulties of writing creative non-fiction.
  • To develop students' ability to present their own work in a form which accords with generally recognised conventions within the publishing industry.
  • To encourage students to improve their own writing by responding intelligently and selectively to a variety of feedback.
  • To develop students’ non-academic writing for a mass audience.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
-Make clear and useful suggestions as to how to revise the early draft of a work-in-progress

Intellectual skills
-Recognise some of the particular challenges and requirements of writing creative non-fiction.

Practical skills
-Effectively revise and improve their own writing in response to feedback

Transferable skills and personal qualities
-Present their own work in a form which accords with generally accepted conventions.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Make clear and useful suggestions as to how to revise the early draft of a work-in-progress 
  • Understand how to plan and write effective non-fiction 
  • Understand the markets and readerships for non-fiction, including writing about place, nature, features, long reads politics, memoir and autobiography. 

Intellectual skills

  • Recognise some of the particular challenges and requirements of writing creative non-fiction. 
  • Understand effective non-fiction from the level of diction and the cadences of sentences up to the structure of longer pieces and books. 

Practical skills

  • Identify what makes a story fit for publication 
  • Practice the conception, planning and writing of marketable non-fiction 
  • Acquire the non-fiction skills based on the fundamental techniques of print journalism 
  • Effectively revise and improve their own writing in response to feedback 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Present their own work in a form which accords with generally accepted conventions. 
  • Understand the demands of a popular audience 
  • Understanding of the mechanisms of the non-fiction and wider book market, from idea to proposal to agent to publisher to audience. 

Assessment methods

Creative non-fiction piece 100%

 

Recommended reading

Course reading includes work by Zadie Smith, Rebecca Solnit, Tabitha Lasley, George Orwell, A A Gill, Anthony Bourdain, Helen Macdonald, Kathleen Jamie, Jeanette Winterson, Joan Didion and many others. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 267

Additional notes

Information

This course unit is designed to develop students' work in the area of non-fiction, a formidably powerful and influential genre with a huge and growing worldwide market. Looking at journalism, the essay, biography, reportage,  sports, art and food writing, reviews and memoir, the workshop aims to hone awareness of what good writing is and how it is done; what marketable stories are, and how they are best found and told; and  how different formal choices and approaches affect the treatment of content. The course unit will further sharpen students' understanding of craft, form and genre, and aims  to produce student writing of publishable standard, and to refine the practice of reading as a writer, and to introduce students to new ways of framing and developing their material. 

 

Return to course details