Reading and Writing The Innovative Contemporary Novel - ENGL6320

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 6 30 (15) Amy Sackville checkmark-circle


This module will investigate the theory and practice of innovation in the contemporary novel. Students will be exposed to a variety of stimulating contemporary novels, encouraged to make connections between them and assess the ways in which they incorporate innovative devices, prompting students to think about the boundaries and limits of fiction and the novel.

Students will respond to the studied texts through their own writing, and, as the module progresses, will begin work on introductory chapters to their own novels. Writing workshops provide the opportunity for students to share ideas and works-in-progress; technical exercises will encourage experimentation and the development of the writers' unique voice.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 33
Private study hours: 267
Total study hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Seminar Participation (10%)
Creative Assignment (1,500 words) (25%)
Opening Chapters of Novel & Synopsis (4,500 words) (65%)

Reassessment methods:
Like for Like.

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Porter, M. (2015) Grief is the Thing With Feathers London: Faber
Offill, J. (2015) The Dept of Speculation: Granta
Lawlow, A. (2019) Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl: Picador
Ferris, J. (2008) Then We Came to the End: Penguin
Whitehead, C. (2016) The Underground Railroad: Fleet

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Read and respond to a range of innovative contemporary novels.
2 Develop their capacity for close reading and critical analysis and apply these skills to their reading of contemporary novels.
3 Make connections between contemporary critical analysis and creative writing practice.
4 Identify and critically evaluate particular innovative techniques found in contemporary novels.
5 Understand how innovative techniques can be applied in creative writing practice.
6 Develop an awareness of the structure of the novel from the point of view of the practising creative writer.
7 Reflect on the wide range of narrative and descriptive choices open to the contemporary writer.
8 Confidently apply advanced writing techniques within their work (e.g. creating extended metaphors, experimenting with non-linear narratives and sustaining themes)
9 Plan and execute the beginning of a sustained piece of creative writing.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Develop their capacity for close reading and critical analysis and make comparisons across a range of their reading.
2 Develop their creative writing skills to an advanced level.
3 Extend their range of critical and creative vocabulary and broaden their conceptual framework.
4 Develop their communication skills, particularly in responding to others' work in the context of the workshop.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.