module specification

SJ4007 - Introduction to Creative Writing (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Introduction to Creative Writing
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
Coursework 0%   Individual participation in short written research, writing and workshop exercises.
Oral Examination 20%   Oral Presentation
Coursework 40%   A portfolio of creative writing in short narrative pieces of about 1500 words
Coursework 40%   A portfolio of extended creative writing in narrative
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

Introduction to Creative Writing is a 30-week module that will introduce students to literary texts in a variety of genres through reading, literary analysis, and the practice of writing. The module will enable students to understand and develop in practice the stylistic approaches used to create poetry and narrative forms such as fiction, memoir, and drama, as well as hybrid genres. Each student will give a short oral presentation on a topic of their choosing that arises out of the seminar readings and discussions. The oral presentation will be formally assessed along with two substantial portfolios of creative writing and two literary research papers, to be submitted at the mid-point in the term and at the end of the module. The module will also include discussion and reading about publishing and the industry throughout the year, in order that students begin to gain valuable employability skills and knowledge early in their course of study.

Module aims

This module aims to:

  • introduce the student to literary texts in a variety of genres including poetry, fiction, memoir, drama, and hybrid forms with an aim to analyze the literature from not only a literary perspective but also a creative writing perspective, by including analysis of stylistic techniques used in the texts
  • help students to understand and develop through both analysis and practice various approaches and techniques writers use to craft narrative forms and poetry, including development of voice, use of image, sound and rhythm of words, and metaphor; methods to develop character, plot, and setting; and stylistic techniques used to create texts in blended or hybrid genres
  • enable students to develop skills in critical analysis and the application of literary theory to creative writing, including the ability to comment on and critique writing in a workshop setting
  • enable students to develop research skills applicable to a literary research paper or creative work, and gain valuable transferable skills and knowledge necessary to enhance employability.


In this module students will read and discuss a variety of literary texts, with an aim to learn about and practice the stylistic approaches to crafting poetry, drama, and narrative. Seminar discussions will focus on weekly reading assignments and students will be expected to contribute to discussions, drawing on short written responses to the readings each week. These written responses will be used toward developing a critical essay that will be formally assessed, due week 16. Each student will give an oral presentation of about 15 minutes in the second half of the year, arranged during weeks 10-20, on a topic of their choosing that arises out of the readings and seminar discussions. This topic will then be developed from the presentation into a literary research paper that includes a bibliography for submission week 30. In addition to the literature component, much of the module will focus on the crafting of the student’s own writing in a variety of genres including poetry, short stories, memoir, script, and hybrid genres. Students will submit writing for tutor and peer critique in a workshop setting, and the drafts submitted for the workshops will be revised for the final two portfolios to be submitted and assessed at the mid-point and end of the module. The module will interweave discussion and reading about publishing and the industry throughout, and emphasise transferable employability skills.

Learning and teaching

The module will be taught in weekly sessions over 30 weeks. The sessions will generally be divided equally between seminar discussions and writing workshops. The first 3-4 weeks will focus largely on reading and discussion of literature, and these sessions will build the students’ skills toward the crafting of their own writing. Sessions as of weeks 4-5 of the year will be part seminar discussion and part workshop, with the expectation that each student will submit writing for tutor and peer critique in small and large groups. The discussions of the literature and also the oral presentations to be arranged and delivered from about weeks 10-20 will enable each student to develop a topic into a literary research paper with a bibliography, and students will work with the tutor and independently to gain research skills over the course of the module. Materials for reading and writing assignments will be made available by the tutor and on Web-learn, and the tutor will provide online discussion and feedback to written work. The writing that is submitted for tutor and peer feedback in workshop will be revised as an ongoing process throughout the year to enable the student to develop two substantial portfolios of creative writing in addition to the critical essay and literary research paper.

Learning outcomes

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

  1. identify stylistic techniques used in poetry and narrative forms
  2. apply in practice to creative writing the stylistic techniques analyzed in literary texts and discussed in class
  3. apply the skills of critical analysis and an understanding of theory to the practice of creating writing in poetry, memoir, fiction, drama, and hybrid forms
  4. apply research skills in the practice of creative writing as well as research papers in literature
  5. develop skills and knowledge through reading, discussions and the practice of writing to enhance employability.

Assessment strategy

  • Formative assessment: Contributions to seminar discussions and workshops including submissions of drafts to the workshop and critique of peer writing; informal weekly written responses to readings to be used toward developing a critical essay; ongoing revision of drafts of writing toward the final assessed portfolios
    A portfolio of creative writing in short narrative pieces  accompanied by a critical essay based on literature read for the module, of about 1500 words
  • Summative assessment: Participation in seminar discussions and workshops; oral presentation; and two substantial portfolios of writing. The first portfolio will be creative writing in a combination of genres and include a critical essay. The second portfolio will be specialized in a genre or genres of the student’s choosing, and will include a literary research paper with bibliography
    A portfolio of extended creative writing in narrative (fiction, memoir, script, or other prose), hybrid genres, or poetry, with about 5-10 poems, 1500 words (approximately) of prose, or a combination of poetry and prose, accompanied by a literary research essay arising out of the assessed oral presentation and including a bibliography, of about 1500 words.


Ashcroft, William et al. (2002). "The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Postcolonial Literatures." London; New York, Routledge.
Bambara, Toni Cade. (1981). "Gorilla, My Love." New York: Vintage Books.
Boland, Eavan, and Mark Strand, eds. (2000). “The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms.” New York: Norton.
Burroway, Janet. (2003). "Imaginative Writing: the Elements of Craft." New York: Longman.
Burroway, Janet. (1992). "Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft." New York: Harper Collins.
Cixous, Helene. (1991). "Coming to Writing and other Essays." Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP.
Cowan, Andrew. (2011). “The Art of Writing Fiction.” Harlow: Pearson Education.
Eliot, T.S. (1979). "Four Quartets." London, Faber and Faber.
Gass, William. (1968). "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and other Stories." New York, Harper and Row.
Kristeva, Julia. (1986). "The Kristeva Reader." New York: Columbia UP.
O'Connor, Flannery. (1965). "Everything that Rises Must Converge." New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Poets and Writers website: