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Offer Holder Open Days


Wednesday 5th February 2020

Wednesday 19th February 2020

Saturday 7th March 2020


Offer Holder Open Days

Our three Offer Holder Open Days are specially designed to introduce you to the department, the course to which you've applied to study, and what it's like to be an English student at Warwick. Come along and meet our current students and experience one of our seminars taught by our academic staff.


After having a look around campus, you're invited to a Welcome Talk (13.00-14.00) with the Head of Department, Professor Emma Mason, which comprises a sample lecture from one of our world-renowned academics. You will also hear from an alumni and have a chance to ask any questions about our degree. Following the talk, you can proceed to our Drop-in session (14.00-17.00), where you’ll have the chance for informal chats with our staff and students over some tea and cake. There's also a Parents' Talk session for your guardians (14.00-15.00); and three sample seminars to choose from (between 14.30 and 16.30).

Sample seminars

Each day features three sample seminars led by members of staff who will teach you on your degree here. You can sign up for these in advance through your invitation form, or on the day following the Welcome Talk.

5 February sample seminars

Dr Liz Barry, ‘Samuel Beckett’s Godot: Performance, Play, Politics’

When the prisoners serving life sentences in San Quentin jail, California in the 1950s put on a play to capture their experience, this was the play they chose. When Prague was freed from Communist occupation in 1989, crowds were shouting 'Godot has come!'. Landmark productions were mounted in war-torn Sarajevo in 1993 and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2007. This session will explore the reasons why Beckett's ground-breaking play has been the expression of political, social and personal despair -- and also hope -- for the last seventy years, and how it changed the form of European theatre forever.

Dr Mark Storey, ‘Trump Lit’

How did we get here? Since the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency in 2016, many perennial themes of American literature and culture have come into sharp focus: the long history of immigration, racial tension, and forms of white supremacy; nationalism, imperialism, and the rhetoric of 'America First'; and the codes of gender and patriarchy stretching back to the Puritan origins of US society. In this seminar we'll create a literary history of Trump's tweets -- from the Mexican wall, through witch hunts, to fascists, we'll unearth the cultural sources of our present 'Trumpian' moment.

Dr Paul Botley, ‘Understanding Old Books and Manuscripts: A Hands-on Guide

This session will look at early books as physical objects, and show how their characteristics shaped the experience of reading. We’ll look at how early books were made: the manufacture of parchment and paper, printing with metal type, illustrating the text (woodcuts and engravings), binding the pages, and selling the finished product. You’ll have a chance to study and handle the original materials used in this session: books and manuscripts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

19 February sample seminars

Dr Paul Prescott, ‘Shakespeare in Performance’

Shakespeare's plays were written for live performance, his words designed to be spoken and his characters to be made flesh by actors in the theatre. How might this knowledge change the way we read Shakespeare's plays? Looking at a short passage of text, the session will explore what it means to read Shakespeare with a theatrical awareness. The session will also outline Warwick's unique approach to teaching Shakespeare and the exciting range of Shakespeare-related activities that will be available to you as a Warwick student.

Dr Natalya Din-Kariuki, ‘From Home to the World: Travel and Travel Writing in Early Modern England’

In this seminar, we will explore the flourishing of travel, and of travel writing, in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Ranging across diaries, journals, letters, and reports, we will consider the eclectic, creative, and often playful ways in which English travellers described their experiences, and ask how they responded to the cultural, racial, religious, and linguistic diversity they encountered. Finally, we will look at the ways in which the travel writing of this period influenced more canonical works of fiction, including the plays of William Shakespeare.

Professor Graeme Macdonald, ‘Running on Empty: Literature and Climate Change’

There's a climate emergency and you want to do a degree in Literature? How might that help? This seminar will take these questions seriously and introduce you to some of the many ways that literature and literary studies has registered the issue of global heating. We'll look at the emergent genre of climate fiction known as 'cli-fi', and consider a range of climate imaginaries, from post-apocalypse to 'climate realism' and fantasies of natural restoration. The greening of literary scholarship has also generated some new perspectives to understand climate change, from the Anthropocene to petroculture to animal studies. We'll view these in the larger firmament of the rise of the Environmental Humanities.

7 March sample seminars

Dr Matt Franks, ‘How to Build Character’

What strategies do playwrights use to create staggeringly vivid characters? Come rub elbows with vengeful gods, doddering kings, Southern belles, and a number of other dramatis personae from the Greeks to the present day.

Dr Stacey McDowell, ‘Lyric Poetry’

How does a poem work? Who speaks? How do we listen? During this seminar, we'll be reading a couple of poems and thinking more broadly about theories of lyric and the relationship between sound and sense. I'll offer a crash course in scanning a poem, as well as advice on how to talk about things like metre and rhyme. By the end, I hope you'll be able to feel a greater sense of confidence and critical self-awareness when it comes to reading any poem.

Dr Rochelle Sibley, ‘Sound, Landscape, and Experience: Discussing Literature in Translation’

Studying in an English and Comparative Literature department often means studying incredible literature from all around the world, often written in languages you won't already know, so this seminar gives you a taste of some of the strategies you can use when analysing literature that has been translated into English. We'll be looking at some poetry and prose extracts from Yiddish literature to see how their translations into English try (and sometimes fail) to capture the sound, imagery and context of the original texts.