EN2CNF-Creative Non-fiction and Long-Form Journalism

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites: EN1CW Introduction to Creative Writing or EN1PW Persuasive Writing
Non-modular pre-requisites: Pre-requisite Successful completion of EN1CW, EN1PW or, in special cases (Includiving visiting students registered to creative writing programmes in their home universitiy), you may seek the consent of the convenor.
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Ms Katharine Clanchy

Email: k.s.clanchy@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Creative non-fiction is a wide, exciting, and ever-evolving contemporary genre. It includes memoirs, essays, blog posts, long-form journalism, biography and auto-fiction, and the increasing number of books and articles which fall between these genres. This module will explore this genre, and help you to write your own pieces or pieces of creative non-fiction. Learning takes place in seminar groups, where analytical reading and practical writing interconnect, and in smaller peer groups, where students support each other’s editing with constructive feedback.


The module has three aims:

  • To enable students to read and analyse a range of contemporary non-fiction, introducing them to literary considerations specific to the form.

  • to introduce students to some of the literary debates around contemporary non-fiction, and to help them engage with these debates.

  • to equip students to write and edit their own creative non-fiction.   

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of creative non-fiction in a range of forms including essay, memoir and long-form journalism.

  • identify and analyse distinctive literary features of creative non-fiction

  • engage critically with key debates about creative non-fiction.

  • write and edit their own creative non-fiction

  • Reflect critically on their own creative writing process.

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:

We will be reading contemporary creative non-fiction in a range of forms, including the modern essay by authors such as Rebecca Solnit and Reni Eddo-Lodge, unconventional memoir and biography by Dave Eggers, Alexander Masters and Claudia Rankine, and long form journalism from The New York Times and Guardian.  We will engage with debates about the form, asking ourselves how much of our own and other people’s lives we are entitled to write about, what auto-fiction is and when it turns into fiction, and when journalism becomes an essay.  Students will take this body of knowledge into their own writing, producing short stories both traditional and experimental in form. Assessment of the module reflects the balance between writing and reading, with 70% of the final mark given for students’ own creative writing (2300 words) and 30% for a critical essay (2300 words) in which students set their own writing in the wider context of their reading.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught in a weekly two-hour seminar for which students are required to do preparatory reading and writing. This seminar will be supplemented by a weekly one-hour autonomous peer group session in which students will consider issues of editing and redrafting set in advance by their seminar leader. Students are also entitled to a half-hour tutorial on their formative written work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 0.5
Guided independent study: 179.5
Total hours by term 201
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Portfolio 70

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

The portfolio (containing creative non-fiction 2300 words in length and the critical essay of 2300 words) must be submitted at the start of the Spring term. Written feedback will be given on that, with the creative work carrying 70% of the total mark, and the critical essay carrying the remaining 30%.

Formative assessment methods:

Oral feedback will be given in seminars. Students will also receive one piece of formative written feedback on their creative writing, as well as a half-hour tutorial.

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-assessment in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. 

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 22 May 2019


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