Run by School of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics
20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Prof Zoë Skoulding
Overall aims and purpose
Creative Nonfiction is an ever-evolving genre challenging traditional ideas of fact-based narratives. Writers are not only pushing boundaries with hybrid forms and genre fusions, but experimenting with online platforms and digital reception. Through selected reading of relevant texts to inform creative practice, this modules addresses the following questions: What is ‘faction’ and for what reason is it employed? What relationship does it share with historical fiction and ‘entertainment history’? Does it allow restoration of ‘facts’ by re-imagining the gaps or fictionalising facts for dramatic effect? How much has the ‘reality’ format influenced our memoir culture and appetite for celebrity gossip? How do actual events come to inspire and inform factional versions on television? What continues filmmakers to make biopics and how does text to screen translate? Is the creative essay a more informed approach to self-inquiry? What processes of transformation does the self experience when sharing itself online? All sessions will include creative writing practice.
Module topics will include understanding subjectivity and the subjective self as the centralised subject; the one-way dialogue - from me to you - and the techniques employed to oralise writing; the problems and privileges of the writing 'I'; memoir culture, 'gossip', and the confessional compulsion; the writer's identity in context of personal and gendered landscapes; exploring the self and experience through the creative essay; biographical approaches (e.g. the biopic, performance poetry and verse); and the online culture of 'faction' through autoblographical means. As well as examining these subjects from the practitioner's perspective, students will be encouraged to work and share on their own creative practice helped by writing exercises and workshops, whilst developing skills in reading and constructive criticism.
A 2(i) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities:
Demonstration of a degree of vitality and originality.
Very good understanding of generic conventions; sound use of structures and forms.
Resourceful use of language
Sound understanding of the creative process and thoughtful control of decisions made in writing.
Very good work, which at times comes close to publishable standard
C- to C+
A 2(ii) candidate’s work will show many of the following qualities:
Some attempt at serious exploration of ideas.
Some link between themes and form. Good attempt to engage with form, but this may not be entirely sustained.
Use of language technically proficient, but not always focused.
Some awareness of the creative process and of decisions made in writing.
Good work, but its strengths need to be more fully sustained to reach publishable standard.
Typically, the work of a first class candidate will show many of the following qualities:
Excellent levels of originality, vision and depth; striking and thorough engagement with ideas.
Excellent understanding and control of form.
Impressive linguistic control and/or innovation.
Sophisticated understanding of the creative process and assured control of decisions made in writing.
Dynamic work approaching publishable standard.
A 3rd class candidate’s work will show many of the following features:
Limited engagement with ideas and/or response to module texts.
Link between themes and form not always clear.
Limited sense of formal conventions. Inconsistent with regard to linguistic technicalities
Limited awareness of redrafting and editing process.
- Apply those histories, theories and creative nonfiction models to own creative practice through a work of creative nonfiction.
- A developed knowledge and understanding of the creative nonfiction genre, its models, histories, and theories.
- Knowledge and awareness of the creative processes and research techniques involved in a range of creative nonfiction forms
- Critically analyse their own creative objectives throughout writing practice and how this has impacted upon their wider practice.
- A broader understanding of the research process and how to turn research into written materials.
- A broader understanding of how to pitch the creative nonfiction concept to a near-publishable standard.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- Rhetorical skills of effective communication and argument, both oral and written (English Benchmark Statement 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.5; 3.3.1; 3.3.6).
- The capacity for independent thought and judgement; the ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories and to interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.1.10; 3.2.2; 3.3.1; 3.3.7; 3.3.11).
- Recognition of the multi-faceted nature of literature, and of its complex relationship to other media or disciplines and forms of knowledge (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.7; 2.1; 2.2; 2.4; 2.5; 3.1.8; 3.1.12).
- Critical Skills in the close reading, description, reasoning and analysis of texts (English Benchmark Statement 1.3.6; 1.3.9; 2.1; 2.3; 3.2.1; 3.3.1; 3.2.1; 3.3.8; 3.3.12).
- Competence in the planning and execution of essays, presentations and other writing and project work (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.6).
- Conceptual skills developed by demonstration and discussion. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.2; 3.3.14; 3.3.17; 3.3.18; 3.3.19).
- Study skills in researching concepts and contexts by directed reading. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3.22; 3.3.23).
- The ability to express ideas clearly in discussion and in organised written form. (English Benchmark Statement 3.2.5; 3.2.7; 3.3.11; 3.3.15; 3.3.16; 3.3.21; 3.3.24).
- An understanding of creative and critical processes, and of the wide range of skills inherent in creative writing. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
- Knowledge of a wide range of canonical English texts, providing a confident understanding of literary traditions as well as the confidence to experiment and challenge conventions when writing creatively. (English Benchmark Statement 3.1).
- An awareness of writing and publishing contexts, opportunities and audiences in the wider world (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.1).
- Artistic engagement and ability to articulate complex ideas in oral and written forms. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Ability to connect creative and critical ideas between and among forms, techniques and types of creative and critical praxis. (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Awareness of how different social and cultural contexts affect the nature of language and meaning (English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Reflective practitioner skills, including awareness of the practice of others in collaborative learning (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- The ability to synthesize information from various sources, choosing and applying appropriate concepts and methods (English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Ability to formulate and solve problems, anticipate and accommodate change, and work within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Ability to engage in processes of drafting and redrafting texts to achieve clarity of expression and an appropriate style. (English Benchmark Statement 3.3; NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2).
- Ability to gather information, analyse, interpret and discuss different viewpoints (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
- Information technology (IT) skills broadly understood and the ability to access, work with and evaluate electronic resources (NAWE Creative Writing Benchmark Statement 3.2; English Benchmark Statement 3.3).
Courses including this module
Compulsory in courses:
- 2P78: BA English Lit with Creative Writing with International Exp year 2 (BA/ECI)
- 2P17: BA English Literature and Creative Writing year 2 (BA/ENCW)
- 2D13: BA English Literature with Creative Writing year 2 (BA/ENGLC)
- Q2W9: MArts English Literature with Creative Writing year 2 (MARTS/ELCW)
Optional in courses:
- W890: BA Creative&Professional Writing year 2 (BA/CPW)
- 8G55: BA English Language with Creative Writing (with Int Exp) year 3 (BA/ELCIE)
- Q3WL: BA Eng Lang with Creat Writ year 2 (BA/ELCW)
- R1W8: BA French with Creative Writing year 2 (BA/FRCW)
- R2W8: BA German with Creative Writing year 2 (BA/GERCW)
- W6W8: BA Professional Writing & Film year 2 (BA/PWF)
- W839: BA Professional Writing with Game Design year 2 (BA/PWGD)
- P3W9: BA Professional Writing and Media year 2 (BA/PWM)
- R4W8: BA Spanish with Creative Writing year 2 (BA/SPCW)
- M1W1: LLB Law with Creative Media Writing year 2 (LLB/LCMW)
- M1W2: LLB Law with Creative Media Writing (International Exp) year 2 (LLB/LCMWI)