**Available to English Literature & Creative Writing Finalists only**
Convenor: Will Eaves
Tutor: Will Eaves (T1), Tim Leach (T2)
Seminars: Tuesday 2:30 - 4:00, Tuesday 4:00 - 5:30
This module will introduce students to a range of traditional and contemporary approaches to writing fiction.
The module will develop skills in reading contemporary fiction, both in English and in translation. Students will become familiar with a range of writers and will learn to make connections between writers, trends and styles, across generations and boundaries of nationality, gender, and politics. They will be expected to develop their own reading lists from the primary texts, using recommendations in Further Reading, and their own research.
Students will also develop a variety of techniques for writing fiction, practising the craft of writing through workshops and assignments.
The module offers a mixture of writing workshops, critical discussions of primary texts and peer reviewing.
There will be writing assignments for each unit alongside the class reading. At the end of week 6 all students will submit a redrafted exercise from earlier in the term, to be peer reviewed in later sessions.
Students taking this module are also expected to attend related not-for-credit courses, workshops and events, such as Warwick Thursday talks and readings in the Writers' Room, or events at the Arts Centre. Attendance is not compulsory for paid events, but is recommended.
100% Assessed : Your final portfolio will consist of a portfolio of 5000 words of fiction and a personal essay (5000 words) about themes in contemporary fiction. The fiction portfolio may consist of a single story, several short stories, or an extract from a longer piece of work.
Some basic reference works:
The two-volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is a good investment.
A good book on usage: H.W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2nd rev. ed. By Sir Ernest Gowers, 1965); R.W. Burchfield, ed., The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (3rd edn., 1996); Eric Partridge, Usage & Abusage (1973).
A good book on grammar: Sidney Greenbaum, The Oxford English Grammar (1996).
William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style (4th ed., 2000); Thomas S. Kane, The New Oxford Guide to Writing (1994).
A book on editing: Mary Norris, Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (2015) – see also MN’s website; Claire Kehrwald Cook, Line by Line (1985).
The following books address creative practice / criticism in general:
Auerbach, Erich, Mimesis (1953)
Forster, E. M., Aspects of the Novel (1927)
King, Stephen, On Writing (2000)
Lodge, David, The Art of Fiction (1994)
Flannery O’Connor, Mystery & Manners (1961, 1972)
Sennett, Richard, The Craftsman (2008)
Shields, David, How Literature Saved My Life (2013)
Wood, James, How Fiction Works (2008)
Woolf, Virgina, The Common Reader (1925, 1932); A Room of One’s Own (1928)
“There are only two types of plot. Either the heroine leaves home or a stranger comes to town” – attrib. “A friend”, to the writer Patricia Duncker
Tutor: Will Eaves
Week 1 – The Place We’re In
Richard Ford, Wildlife. Penelope Fitzgerald, The Bookshop (Secondary Reading: John Williams, Stoner. Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary. Helen Simpson, Hey Yeah Right Get A Life, Constitutional, Cockfosters.)
Week 2 – Other Minds and Other People
“Which Is More Than I Can Say About Some People”, Lorrie Moore, Birds of America. “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage”, Alice Munro, from the book of the same title. (Secondary Reading: William Trevor, Mrs Eckdorf in O’Neill’s Hotel. Agota Kristof, The Notebook.)
Week 3 – Times, Echoes, Foreshadowings
William Golding, The Inheritors. (Secondary Reading: David Malouf, An Imaginary Life. Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian.)
Week 4 – Beyond Genre
Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle. (Secondary Reading: Philip K. Dick The Man In The High Castle. Brigid Brophy, The Finishing Touch.)
Week 5 – The Idea: Concepts, Paradox, Satire
Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths. (Secondary Reading: Danilo Kis, The Encyclopaedia of the Dead. Nikolai Gogol, “The Nose” in Diary of a Madman and Other Stories. Paulette Jonguitud, Mildew.)
Weeks 7–10 – Fiction Workshops and Readings
Please Note: it is essential that students read the primary named texts for each weekly section throughout the year. Familiarity with the books on the secondary and suggested reading lists is also highly desirable.
Week 1 – Beyond the Short Story
The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh
Week 2 – Journeys, Shapes, Maps
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Week 3 – Keeping Time
On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan
Week 4 – Voices
Battleborn, Claire Vaye Watkins
Week 5 - Endings, Finales and Conclusions
My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
Week 6 – Reading Week
Weeks 7-10 – Writing Workshops
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Beryl Bainbridge, Every Man For Himself, The Birthday Boys, Injury Time
Kevin Barry, Dark Lies the Island
Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
Anton Chekhov, Short Stories (especially: Ward No 6 and Other Stories)
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Maureen Duffy, That’s The Way It Was
Félix Fénéon, Novels in Three Lines
Penelope Fitzgerald, The Beginning of Spring, Human Voices, The Blue Flower
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (translated by Lydia Davis), Three Tales
E. M. Forster, Howard’s End
Graham Greene, The Quiet American
M. John Harrison, Light and Climbers (one sci-fi, one not)
Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr Ripley, Ripley Under Ground, Strangers on a Train
James Hilton, Lost Horizon
Alan Hollinghurst, The Spell, The Line of Beauty
Homer, The Odyssey (translated Robert Fagles, Penguin, 1996.)
Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris (translated by John Sturrock)
Hilary Mantel, Every Day is Mother’s Day, Beyond Black, Wolf Hall
W. Somerset Maugham, The Magician
Max Porter, Grief is the Thing With Feathers
Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (Vol 1 of In Search of Lost Time, translated by C. K. Scott-Moncrief and Terence Kilmartin, with revisions by D. J. Enright)
Zadie Smith, On Beauty
Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Jeannette Winterson, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Sexing the Cherry