CRWT40250 Life Writing

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module explores the literature of nature and place, focussing on non-fiction prose. We cannot think about the natural world without thinking about the climate emergency, but this course seeks representations of landscapes and cityscapes that avoid the tradition of nostalgia and mourning. The Romantic tradition of nature writing teaches generations of travellers and readers to enjoy dramatic, wild landscapes while the pastoral celebrates an ideal of rural life broadly unchanged since Virgil; since few of us live in such environments, how can we make a poetics of our own places: suburbs and towns, highways and train tracks, the public and private spaces of daily experience? How can we write about the natural world and human traces with both hope and intelligence? The set texts offer examples of a range of responses to a range of environments, and you will take what you learn from them on local writerly adventures of your own.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Students will learn:
- To read, write and reflect on contemporary prose non-fiction
- To write intelligently about ambiguity and ambivalence
- To understand the construction of place through literary history
- To undertake site-specific research and to write about it in ways that engage the general reader
- To write about personal experience with sound literary judgement
- To offer and receive constructive feedback with kindness and courtesy

Indicative Module Content:

The reading list and set texts will change each year as we follow developments in creative non-fiction prose. Themes will include ownership of and belonging to nation and place; being outdoors; site-specific histories and archaeology; writing about the natural world in time of crisis. Some classes will be based on discussion of set texts and others will be writing workshops.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Small Group


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
There will be some seminars on the set texts and some writing workshops. Students will be asked to read the set texts as writers, paying particular attention to craft and to the literary challenges of each project, and then to experiment and play with what they learn from reading and discussing these texts in their own work. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Portfolio: We will discuss the composition of your portfolio individually. It should be composed of non-fiction prose relating to place, environment and/or material culture. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Portfolio: We will discuss the composition of your portfolio individually. It will be composed of non-fiction prose relating to place, environment, the natural world and/or material culture. Unspecified n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.