module specification

IF3068 - Writing London: A World City (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Writing London: A World City
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 150
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
36 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
78 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Short poetry collection or prose fiction piece about historical or contemporary London life
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Friday Morning

Module summary

In this module you will learn about some works of historical and contemporary London literature with the aim of understanding how writers convey their experiences, beliefs and values. You will consider what we as readers need to know to better understand a writer’s work and begin to explore the avenues of historical and contemporary research into London life that help give context to the literature we read. You will look at works of poetry and prose (short stories and a novel) and place your study of literature in its cultural and social contexts. You will learn subject-specific skills like close reading, seminar discussion of set literary and critical texts and explore the range of digital research tools available to you via the library collections. You will also develop your critical and creative skills. By the end of the module, you have will read some well-known poets and authors and thought about the place of London literature in our time. 

In addition, by reflecting on the ways historical and contemporary London writers have placed the city and its cultures into their works, you will begin to develop your own practice as a writer in London. You will develop your own reflection- and observation-based writing about London and develop it into a short poetry collection or short piece of prose. In this way, you will explore how our experiences of the city can be transformed and shaped when we express them in literary and poetic form.


Starting with a discussion of London in the eighteenth century and the strange, visionary poetry of William Blake (LO1, LO3), we will explore how a writer might develop a particular and idiosyncratic response to London life. London in William Blake’s time was a city in turmoil, and we will use the city’s history and Blake’s work to reflect on how the complexity of a culture can be expressed in literary form (LO1). We then move into the contemporary period (LO1) and look at the short story form (LO3) and consider how brief literary fragments of lives and experience can be used to reflect on, satirise and criticise aspects of the city we know (LO2). From here, we spend an extended time reading a contemporary novel set in London (LO2) to discuss how a larger, more complex picture of city lives and communities can be presented in book-length form (LO1). Through our study of poetry, short story and the novel we will explore the expressive powers of different literary forms (LO3). 

Over the course of the semester, you will produce your own writing about London life (LO2) and bring it to workshop to discuss and share with fellow students (LO5). In this way, you will learn about two essential aspects of studying literature: the creative writing workshop (LO2, LO5) and the literary critical seminar (LO2). The module introduces and develops undergraduate study skills for lectures and seminars, develops digital literacy by focussing on student-centred learning (LO4), and readiness for study through extensive discussion, reading and reflection (LO2). Students are encouraged to develop and expand their own ideas through active participation and engagement with the seminars and workshops (LO2), through their reading outside of class and through the reflective writing activities in their journal and note-book work (LO5). 

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered through tutor-led workshops (36 hours) with students contributing to discussion, group work and tutorials. Students will also engage in guided and self- and online study to enable them to improve their reading and writing skills and complete required assessment components (114 hrs). Module information including module booklet and assessment details is available on WebLearn. Assignment and workshop tasks, reading resources, study support resources and weekly material are also on WebLearn.  Students will be encouraged to explore digital resources on Talis, develop initial research strategies using databases, develop robust strategies for online research including reliability testing, explore the physical research resources in the ILRC. Students will also be encouraged to explore the vast array of London-related cultural resources online. 

Learning outcomes

LO1 Understand aspects of London and its literary history 
LO2 Develop skills in reading, creative writing and critical discussion 
LO3 Develop response to poetry and prose in terms of theme, voice and form 
LO4 Explore a range of literary and digital research material 
LO5 Develop and reflect on a journal of creative work