Seminars 2017-18: Thursday 3-5pm, G.03 (term 2)
This module builds on what we learnt from the older texts in Inventing Selves 1, moving into the present day and concentrating more on students’ creative writing. The study of contemporary life writing will be balanced by writing workshops in which students experiment with a range of techniques in prose non-fiction, including memoir, reportage, travel and nature writing. The longer set texts offer examples and challenges as you develop your own voices and ideas, and we will also read some shorter articles and essays from literary journals and magazines of the moment. You will be encouraged to develop your own writing practice from the beginning, in preparation for an assessment which invites you to move between creative and critical modes of writing. I will offer informal feedback on formative writing during term to help you work towards a portfolio of 5,000 words for submission at the beginning of the summer term.
We will be reflecting on questions such as:
How far is it possible (or desirable) to write a ‘true story’? Who owns a ‘true story’? Is memoir shaped by story or does story shape memoir? (Can you imagine a form of life writing that doesn’t have a story? Can you imagine memory without story?) Does it matter that stories can be a form of currency? (For travellers of one kind and another, for publishers, for fraudsters and impersonators.)
You need to buy copies of the set texts, most of which are readily and cheaply available second-hand. The Alys Fowler will be published in paperback in February, so you might prefer to wait for cheaper copies. Here is the 2017-18 reading list.