EN3WF-Writing Fiction: Ethics and Representation

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof Peter Robinson

Email: P.Robinson@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module builds on Creative Writing modules in Parts 1 and 2 by engaging in an advanced exploration and consideration of the elements of prose fiction, including narrative perspective, voice, characterization, temporality, dialogue, setting, and realism. It will also introduce students to a diverse range of contemporary writers who are united by their sustained engagement with the ethics and aesthetic ramifications of any act of representation in literary fiction.

This module develops student writers’ knowledge of contemporary literary fiction originating from a number of different national Anglophone traditions, encouraging them to think about literary value, the ethical problems of writing about others, and the aesthetic and philosophical possibilities of literature. It will ask students to consider strategies that enable writers to embrace the positive energies of creative expression and experiment while remaining alert to the risks of representing experiences and identities different from their own.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be expected to:
•Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of contemporary literary output from a range of national Anglophone traditions
•Prepare typescripts of prose fiction and critical essay to a proficient level, with proper formatting and style, and, where appropriate, referencing of sources
•Exhibit a clear understanding of the importance of ethical concerns in their own writing
•Engage constructively and critically with the work of their peers, and the issues raised by each week’s assigned reading
•Construct and express coherent arguments, both orally and in writing, and participate in rigorous class discussion
•Respond to feedback in workshops through processes of revision in their creative work
•Demonstrate considered attention to the following formal elements in their creative work: narrative perspective, voice, characterization, temporality, dialogue, setting, and realism

Additional outcomes:
Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner.

Outline content:
Primary texts may include work by Sherman Alexie, Lydia Davis, Junot Díaz, Jeffrey Eugenides, Percival Everett, Mavis Gallant, Nadine Gordimer, Jhumpa Lahiri, Lorrie Moore, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, S.J. Naudé, Helen Oyeyemi, George Saunders, Ali Smith, Justin Torres, Ivan Vladislavic, and Zoë Wicomb amongst others.

Recommended secondary reading may include work by James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jacques Derrida, Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Kwame Anthony Appiah, bell hooks, Dominick LaCapra, Ruth Leys, Connie Snyder Mick, Rosland Morris, Ato Quayson, Susan Sontag, and Alan Williamson amongst others.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Three seminar hours weekly, which may take the form of a single 3-hour block or two blocks of 1 and 2 hours respectively, for which students are required to do preparatory reading. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work. With the consent of the module convenor, students may also undertake a placement, through which they will learn how to apply the knowledge and skills gained in studying for this module in a professional context outside the University.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 30
Tutorials 0.5
Guided independent study 129.5 40
Total hours by term 160.00 40.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 10
Portfolio 60

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will produce a portfolio of at least two short stories totaling between 3,000-3,500 words (60% of mark), and one essay (30% of mark), which may be either a critical essay on an issue explored in the course, or a reflective essay on their portfolio, totaling between 1,500 and 2,000 words (for a total of 5,000 words for the combined portfolio and essay). Students will also submit a report journal (10% of mark) compiling their responses to peers’ work. Students will receive formative feedback on their portfolio work during the course of the term. All work will be due for final submission on the first day of Summer Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:
    A mark of at least 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 25 August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


    Things to do now