module specification

SJ4005 - Writer's World (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Writer's World
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
192 hours Guided independent study
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seminar 20%   Seminar performance (attendance, punctuality, preparation and contribution)
Coursework 30%   2500 word portfolio of work
Coursework 50%   2000 word piece of creative writing, accompanied by a short reflective commentary (1000 words maximum)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

Writer’s World will introduce students to the major forms of literary prose including fiction, memoir, and essay. Students will research and discuss the historical development of these forms as well as familiarising themselves with their contemporary forms. Students will analyse individual texts in context of literary history, critical theory and contemporary production as well as learn to situate their own creative practice in both historical and contemporary literary and critical contexts. The module is taught in weekly sessions over a period of 30 weeks and will be assessed via students’ contribution to seminars, a portfolio of creative work on which students will work throughout the year, and a final work of prose fiction or creative non-fiction.


Module aims

Writer’s World aims to:
● introduce students to some of the key forms of prose literature including the novel, memoir, essay, travel and nature writing.
● familiarise students with the historical evolution of literary fiction
● develop students’ ability to critically discuss and analyse the effects and techniques of literary prose, especially in context of their own creative practice
● develop students’ understanding of the relationship between literature and the cultural context in which that literature is produced and consumed, and how this impacts their creative output
● develop students’ ability to write in a range of prose forms and, through this writing to increase students’ understanding of these forms
● teach students how to use secondary, critical material effectively in their analysis of literary texts and incorporate the knowledge into their creative practice



Writer’s World will introduce students to the development of prose in English from the early modern period to the present day. The module will explore both the emergence and development of the most popular forms of prose fiction and the ways in which these have developed over time, space and cultural contexts.  Students will also be introduced to other important prose forms such as the memoir, biography, the essay, nature and travel writing, developing their familiarity with creative non-fiction as a crucial component of their creative practice. As well as exploring the ways in which forms and texts are shaped by changing circumstances and cultural values, and engaging with critical theories, students will also develop close reading skills that will help them to understand the ways in which texts produce meaning and create particular effects. Students’ appreciation and understanding of the structure, style and impact of literary prose will be developed through ongoing creative practice. They will learn to analyse, critique as well as produce texts in some of the prose forms explored on the module.

Learning and teaching

The module is taught in weekly sessions over a period of 30 weeks in total. The sessions will combine lectures, writing practice, seminar discussion, research tasks, small group activities and some film viewing, and will be supported by weekly tutorial time. Lectures will be used to introduce students to key themes, ideas, contextual information and useful methodologies, and will be supported by notes and other resources available through weblearn. Workshops will small group discussions and/or short written exercises. Students may be asked to undertake exercises prior to the class and to report back on students’ findings or be required to bring in writing students have developed over the week to share in the workshop. The module will incorporate guest speakers when appropriate and may include guided visits to theatre, galleries and/or specific libraries. Independent learning will include guided reading, weekly research and writing tasks, set texts and preparation for seminars. Students will be encouraged to carry out independent research and incorporate it critically into their writings. Employability skills are embedded into the module as part of visits to galleries and libraries, discussions with guest speakers and writing practitioners, and in the development of seminar contribution and presentation skills, as well as disciplined research and publishing concerns.



Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

● identify the key forms of literature in prose
● critically analyse and discuss rhetorical effects and prose techniques
● incorporate key literary techniques in their own creative practice
● identify the relationship between literary prose and cultural context
● locate their creative output in appropriate critical and cultural contexts
● express themselves within a range of prose forms
● use and refer to secondary material effectively and correctly in their creative writing 

Assessment strategy

Formative and diagnostic assessment take place in the form of
● in-class work-shopping of students’ work with peer and tutor feedback
● on going discussion of creative work during tutorials

Summative assessment will take the form of
● oral contribution to seminar discussion
● a portfolio of work
● final piece of creative writing


Indicative Bibliography:

Barghouti, Mourid, I saw Ramallah (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2005)
Guevara, Ernesto ‘Che’, The Motorcycle Diaries (Harper Perennial, 2004)
Hemingway, Ernst, The Old Man and the Sea (Arrow, 1994)
Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird (Arrow, 2010)
Morrison, Toni, The Bluest Eye (Vintage, 1999)
Oates, Joyce Carol (editor), The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (Oxford 2004)
Orwell, George, 1984 (Penguin Classics, 2013)
Rhys, Jean, Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin, 2011)
Rushdie, Salman, Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Penguin, 1991)

Writers on Writing:
Atwood, Margaret, Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (Virago, 2003)
King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Hodder, 2001)
Orwell, George, Why I Write (Penguin, 2004)

Secondary Texts:
Booker, Christopher The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories (Continuum 2005)
Campbell, Joseph, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (New World Library, 2012)
Howe, Elisabeth, Close Reading: An Introduction to Literature (Longman 2010)
Hunter, Adrian, The Cambridge Introduction to the Short Story in English
Larsen, Thomas The Memoir and the Memoirist: Reading and Writing Personal Narrative (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007)
Lodge, David, The Art of Fiction (Vintage, 2011)
Seely, John  Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation (Oxford University Press, 2009)
Strunk, William Jr, The Elements of Style (Longman, 1999)
Truss, Lynn, Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Fourth Estate, 2009)

Literature Online  
Project Gutenberg