BA English Literature with Creative Writing / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction

Course unit fact file
Unit code ENGL34051
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will teach you the arts of nonfiction: we study and practice a great variety of forms, from personal essays to travel writing and memoir. Aiming to produce writing of professional (i.e. marketable) standard, we look at the conception, construction and editing of profiles, interviews, features, reviews, opinion pieces, polemic, diaries and journals. Studying the crafts of journalism and reportage, we work on ideas, structure and style to produce pieces which will give readers pleasure and insight. We read a great variety of work by some of the outstanding reporters, stylists, polemicists, diarists, essayists and novelists (writing factually) of the past and present.



The aims of this course are:

1. To understand the conventions, disciplines, demands and possibilities of a variety of nonfiction forms.

2. To develop advanced skills in research, observation, close reading and effective writing.

3. To practise the analysis and criticism of different genres of nonfiction, and to hone reflection and development through peer appraisal.

Knowledge and understanding

1. Demonstrate a wide range of independent reading in non-fiction.

2. Write originally and effectively in a variety of the forms taught on the course.

3. Apply an enhanced critical facility to writing in general, and non-fiction in particular.

4. Redraft work effectively in the light of peer appraisal.

5. Speak confidently about research process, findings and finished work.

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

- think critically and make critical judgments about nonfiction

- analyse course texts in a critical manner;

- identify and outline key issues in the writing of nonfiction;

- write effective pieces of nonfiction.

Practical skills

- plan and execute independent research on nonfiction;

- make good use of library, electronic, and online resources pertaining to the course;

- speak and write clearly about nonfiction;

- comment on the performance of a peer, identifying strengths and making constructive suggestions for improvement where appropriate.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

- retrieve, sift, organise, synthesise and critically evaluate material from a range of different sources, including library, electronic, and online resources;

- deliver oral presentations in front of tutor and group;

- produce written work using appropriate language for an academic audience;

- produce written work for a general reader of nonfiction

- demonstrate good teamwork skills by acknowledging the views of others and working constructively with others;

- manage time effectively by scheduling tasks in order of importance;

- demonstrate the ability to improve one’s own learning through critical reflection, evaluation, good time management.

Assessment methods

Creative assessment  20%
Portfolio (including reflective essay and creative piece) 80%


Feedback methods

Feedback method –

Formative or Summative

Numerical grade and written comments on essay within 15 working days.


Oral feedback to group,



 Written comments  and numerical grade



Recommended reading

AA Gill, Welcome to Death Island

Joan Didion, Marrying Absurd

George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant

Zadie Smith, Dead Man Laughing

Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things To Me

Julia Bell, Really Techno (in The White Review)

Jan Morris, Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere

Jeff Young, Ghost Town

Hisham Matar, The Return


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Horatio Clare Unit coordinator

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