EL7012 - Experiments in Writing

What will I learn on this module?

This module will concentrate on the ways in which writers have challenged, extended, and adopted for different purposes many of the more standard literary conventions. You will consider a range of texts in which authors have self-consciously experimented with, parodied, or departed from traditional narrative techniques in overtly ‘metafictional’ works. You will also engage with work that uses features of various literary genres in other modes, such as creative non-fiction, ‘new’ journalism, historiographical novels, the lyrical essay, and fictocriticism. Experimental poetry and script may also be included as you bring these experiments in form to bear on your own work with a view to opening it up to new possibilities. Exploring your writing through such radical play may not result in a commitment to an entirely experimental approach, but it will encourage an increased alertness to the significance of the creative forms in which you work.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be taught through seminars and two individual tutorials. Seminars will introduce you to key concepts and practices of experimental writing, with particular focus on form and genre. You will study examples of experimental writing and seek to develop your own practice of creative experimentation. Workshop sessions will provide opportunities to gain peer and tutor feedback on proposals and creative work. Individual tutorials and advice on independent learning will support the development of experimental practices and creative projects.

The module will also make appropriate use of the Virtual Learning Environment to provide you with module material.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will receive support from the module tutor, and can also seek support from the programme director and your guidance tutor.
Advice and support will be provided in lectures, seminars and individual tutorials and through tutor and peer feedback in groups on the development of creative and critical projects. You also have access to specialised services provided by central university departments and close and effective links have been developed with student’s services, the career service, the library and information services and the students union. You are encouraged to meet and discuss their work outside the programme.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

Barnes, Julian, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. London: Jonathan Cape, 1989
Carey, Peter, True History of the Kelly Gang. London: Faber, 2002.
Carson, Anne, ‘The Glass Essay’. The Poetry Foundation (available online at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178364)
Codrescu, Andrei, The Poetry Lesson. Princeton University Press, 2010.
Coetzee, J.M, Elizabeth Costello. London: Secker & Warburg, 2003.
Davies, Dan, In Plain Sight: The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile. London: Quercus, 2014
Delillo, Don, White Noise. New York, Viking, 1985
Doctorow, E.L, The Book of Daniel. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2006; first published 1971
Faulkner, William, Go Down, Moses. London: Vintage, 199o; first published, 1930
Fowles, John, The French Lieutenant's Woman. Vintage Classics, 2004 (1969) and The French Lieutenant's Woman [DVD] (writer Harold Pinter and director Karel Reisz), 1981.
Michaels, Anne, Fugitive Pieces. London: Bloomsbury, 1997.
O’Brien, Tim, The Things They Carried. Broadway Books, 1999.
Sebald, W.G. The Rings of Saturn. London: Vintage, 2003
Taussig, Michael, Walter Benjamin’s Grave. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2006
Shields, David, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. London: Penguin, 2010.
Valdislavic, Ivan, The Loss Library and Other Unfinished Stories, Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2012.

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Show an advanced understanding of experimental practice-based approaches to creative practice and be able to engage with them in original creative work
2. Be able to demonstrate reflexively the significance of the ways in which their writing has departed from traditional creative techniques

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Show the ability to deploy revision techniques to produce a sophisticated, coherent and sustained piece of experimental creative writing
4. Demonstrate an increased alertness to the significance of the creative forms in which they work.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

5. Show an ethical awareness of and responsibility for what is at stake in the challenges their work presents to more conventional literary modes.

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback is offered in two individual half hour tutorials as well as through seminar and written feedback on draft materials. MLO 3

Summative will be through submission of a portfolio of creative work, made up of either one or two ‘experimental’ creative forms (‘metafictional’ writing, creative non-fiction, ‘new’ journalism, historiographical prose, lyrical essay, fictocriticism, experimental poetry, technically innovative script).

In total, the portfolio should consist of 5000 words of creative prose or equivalent plus a commentary of 1000 words.

1,000 words of prose will be treated as equivalent to 5 pages of script or 40 lines of poetry.

The creative works should be a piece of non-traditional writing, consciously experimenting with more standard literary conventions. MLO 1, 4
The critical-reflective elements should analyse at least one text by another author, and relate this analysis to the student’s own creative work. MLO 2, 5

Feedback on summative work will be delivered according to the existing protocols of the Department of Humanities: all assessments are anonymized and moderated with feedback (with comments on feedback sheets) returned to the student with the final moderated grade. Feedback will encourage and facilitate reflective learning through the feedback sheet grid which pinpoints particular areas of strengths/weakness and the narrative comments which encourage students to consider how they have succeeded and how they can improve.





Module abstract

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years part-time
1 other options available

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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