English Literature and Creative Writing first year modules

Compulsory modules 

Contemporary Creative Writing

This module will give students a thorough introduction to current trends in creative writing in three principal areas: publishing (traditional, independent and self-publishing); prizes and awards; literary markets and presentation. Students will examine a number of case-studies including traditional vs. self-publishing; mainstream vs avant-garde; prize shortlists and book reviews. Students will create original creative works in response to these case studies.

Creative Writing Foundation

This module will give students the opportunity to develop a basic understanding of key issues and methodologies related to the study of creative writing as an academic discipline; to explore purpose and method in writing, both individually and collaboratively; to develop competence in basic creative writing skills in the traditional genres of prose and poetry, as related to each stage of the writing process; and to develop appropriate vocabulary and formats to reflect on their own writing as process and product. Generic themes and issues will be covered in lecture-demonstrations; while generic-specific skills and processes will be introduced in tutor-led seminars, and reinforced student-led groups.

English in the World 

This module encourages students to understand the role of English Literatureas it might be applied in the world. You will be encouraged to explore the ways in which literature teaches us to understand ourselves and others, and our past, present and future, and to recognise how telling stories makes meaning in the world. You will learn the importance of being able to evaluate and rethink these stories, and how reading and rereading literature is important for understanding and making a difference in the world. Lectures and seminars will focus on topics such as ‘Literature and Human Rights’, ‘Literature, Science & the Environment’, ‘Stories of Nations and the World’, ‘Literature, Medicine & Health’, and ‘Literature and an Inclusive Heritage’.


The key aim of the module will be to develop skills in close reading, informed by a sampled knowledge of the historical and geographical varieties of verse written in English. Each week’s work will be structured around a key text, or group of texts, which will form the basis of that week’s lectures; in seminars, these key texts will be related to, or contrasted with, a variety of extension texts, some suggested by the module convenor in the form of ‘flat pack’ teaching plans, and others by the seminar leaders’ own interests and enthusiasms. The key texts will be grouped by three themes, each of which will form the basis of three weeks’ work: Love, Loss and Location, allowing the students to shape arguments about change and variety in English verse around an idea of shared attention to related topics. Detailed attention to and development of the skills in close reading, and the conversations between poems that these enable, will be the chief outcome (and pleasure) of the module; its key technical and historical vocabulary will provided by a critical course book such as John Lennard, The Poetry Handbook, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2005), and its primary texts will be drawn from a commercial anthology.


This module introduces students to a range of styles and stylistic devices that constitute writing in prose. They will explore how a variety of authors across a wide historical and geographical spectrum think about prose as a literary medium distinct from, but interacting with, other forms of writing, such as poetry. Time will be spent analysing how prose works and the different grammatical and rhetorical devices it employs as well as thinking about the modes of writing with which it has become associated (e.g. the novel and short story, essay writing, confessional memoir and prose-poem). Students will be introduced to a diverse field of critical approaches and will practice writing clear and thoughtful sentences and paragraphs of their own in order to develop their academic prose style.

Reading English 

This module supports students’ transition to university, and aims to help you develop basic skills in ways of reading and approaching literature, using the library, research, working with criticism, planning and writing assessments of different kinds (including close reading, essays, posters, presentations), and making the most of lectures and seminars. You will be encouraged to understand the practices and principles of studying English Literature, key disciplinary debates, and the purposes and pleasures of reading. You will also be introduced to the diverse range of literature study at university, and guided in how to approach and work with areas of study that might be new to you, including transnational literature, digital texts and popular fiction.