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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

ENGL5845M Writing Identities: Criticism, Creativity, Practice

30 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Jay Prosser

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

As for MA programme

This module is not approved as an Elective


Writing Identities: Criticism, Creativity, Practice aims to introduce students to historical and current debates around identity, a wide range of modes for writing identities, and some prize-winning recent writings in different genres. As the core module for the MA in Creative Writing and Critical Life, this module aims to build a bridge between the critical and creative practices. The module is taught by the course tutor with support from other writers in seminars and workshops. These will provide the opportunity to work closely with assigned texts and students’ own writing with a view to developing their critical and creative practices.

Learning outcomes
To study a general history and theory of identity in its shifting conceptualisation from the Romantic self to poststructuralist subjectivity;

To examine a variety of creative modes for writing identities;

To read and discuss recent prize-winning writings;

To develop students’ own critical and creative writing

Skills outcomes
Masters (Taught), Postgraduate Diploma & Postgraduate Certificate students will have had the opportunity to acquire the following abilities as defined in the modules specified for the programme:

- the skills necessary to undertake a higher research degree and/or for employment in a higher capacity;

- evaluating their own achievement and that of others;

- self direction and effective decision making;

- independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development;

- to engage critically in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms


Is there a subject more prominent, variegated, multivalent – and complicated – than identity? In a world in which borders are increasingly transgressed (between private and public, between human and digital, between genders and cultures, as well as between places), identities are ever more topical and ever more productive of new forms for representing them. This module, which serves as the core module for the MA programme in Creative Writing and Critical Life, examines some of these new, exciting, and often experimental, forms of writing, as well as providing students with a broad critical history of the subject of identity.

Conjoining the critical study of identity together with creative practices for writing identities and for disseminating new writing, the module is organised into three parts. Part 1 studies the critical history and theory of identity, indicated in the historical shifts in terms which form our subheadings: from self, to identity, to subjectivity. Students will read in this first part excerpts from an array of identity theories, including psychoanalysis, gender theory, postcolonialism and postructuralist theory. In part 2, students will study four critically-acclaimed, recent texts which deploy and develop different genres for capturing an increasingly complex sense of identity: essay; life writing; poetry; and fiction (although the texts’ shared concern with innovation results in transgeneric qualities, including faction, creative non-fiction, and auto/biography). Part 3 of the module focuses on matters relating to the dissemination and profession of writing on the subject of identity, including digital identities/online presentation and publicity, options for publication, and forming relations in the writing industry, for example with literary agents, editors, and writing and reading groups.

In accordance with the module which seeks to bring together registers typically kept apart, the assessment will require students to produce a critical essay alongside creative work (from an array of options) and in addition a short weekly blog.

Priority for places on this module will be given to students on the MA Creative Writing & Critical Life programme, for whom it is a core module.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours280.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

In common with other School of English MA modules, students enrolled on this module will spend the majority of their study time pursuing private study: reading set texts and secondary reading; pursuing additional library research; preparing presentations for seminars in response to texts and concepts; producing both creative writing and essay drafts and editing these before final submission; and reading other students’ drafts and preparing peer feedback.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

As well as summative assessment at the end of the module, there will also be formative assessment which will facilitate monitoring of students’ progress in the following formats. 1. Every week the tutor will respond to student presentations in seminars. 2. Drafts of student creative work will be read by the tutor and the workshops will provide formative feedback. 3. With regards to the critical essay, students will be asked to submit in advance to the tutor for approval and feedback their title/question and a bibliography and to meet with the tutor to agree final title.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2000 word critical essay50.00
Written Work1 x 2000 word piece of creative writing (or equivalent word count if, for example, format is poetry)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/08/2022 15:29:13


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