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Module QXP-2019:
Modern & Contemporary Writing

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr James Wilkes

Overall aims and purpose

  • Study a broad range of literature published from the 1920s to the present
  • Situate this literature within broader historical, social, cultural and political contexts
  • Establish and explore areas of contrast and continuity between the texts on the module
  • Develop creative responses to the texts presented on the module.

Course content

Modern & Contemporary Writing introduces students to a range of British and Irish texts from the modern and contemporary period. It begins with modernist texts from the 1920s, before considering politically-engaged writing from the 1930s, and the emergence of postmodern literature in the years after the Second World War. The final part of the course considers more contemporary literature, including writing from a postcolonial perspective. The course asks students to investigate how literature across a range of genres responds to the broad historical trends and specific events of the age. These might include modernism, the political situation in the 1930s, post-War postmodernity, and postcolonialism. New and contemporary movements and traditions in British/Irish literature will be explored in the final part of the course. The module will also include visits from contemporary writers. These contemporary works will be used as springboards and inspiration for the students own creative work, and students will be encouraged to develop a critical sense of their creative work in its contemporary context.

Assessment Criteria


A 3rd class candidate’s work will show many of the following features:

Limited engagement with ideas.

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.


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 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.

Learning outcomes

    • Critically appreciate, analyse and interpret a range of literary texts in relation to postmodernity, contemporary and emerging movements and traditions • Examine patterns and variations in the literary response to the historical trends and events of the period
  1. • Reflect critically on the contemporary context of their creative work.

  2. • Select, digest and organise material and produce a consistent and coherent argument, presented in essay form, to a deadline.

  3. • Examine contemporary texts from the perspective of a particular critical concern or emerging trend

  4. • Construct a meaningful cultural and historical understanding of the period

  5. • Develop creative work that is aware of its contemporary context

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Critical Essay 50
Creative Portfolio and Commentary 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Private study

Personal research


Two weekly lectures to be shared with QXE2019 Contemporary Writing (LIT)


Weekly Creative Writing Workshop


Transferable skills

  • 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
  • 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


Reading list

See reading list for Contemporary Writing (LIT) QXE2019

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: