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Unit information: Critical Issues in Contemporary Literature in 2021/22

Unit name Critical Issues in Contemporary Literature
Unit code ENGLM0071
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Mimi Thebo
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

In this unit, students will read, discuss and analyse key texts (both literary and critical) related to major issues in contemporary letters in two week ‘topics’. This unit will help students contextualise their own writing in the wider world of contemporary literature, understand the critical and theoretical concepts on which those concerns and issues are based and be able to articulate their own responses to those issues and concerns.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Examine how reading influences creative practice.
  2. Analyse the relationship between writing and its commercial and aesthetic contexts, articulating an understanding of the relationship between writing and genre, literary convention, publishing, performance, and different media.
  3. Evaluate the role of readers and audiences in realising texts and the ways that performance can impact an audience’s imaginative experience.
  4. Anticipate and accommodate requirements that may change when creating an original work. Be able to work productively and negotiate creative contexts that are ambiguous, uncertain and unfamiliar.
  5. Use and develop information retrieval and analytical skills, including the ability to interpret, evaluate, synthesise and organise material.
  6. Formulate independent and critical judgements of creative works, and be able to respond to the critical judgements of others with practical and creative solutions and reasoned arguments.
  7. Recognise and articulate their aesthetic sensibility in relationship to appropriate models and develop an understanding of their own processes of intellectual inquiry.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be in large 2 hour seminar/workshop style, with the tutor providing an introduction to the various topics in the first week of the topic and going on to lead discussion, which may include students reading their own creative or critical reactions to the material.

Assessment Information

A portfolio of writing to include:

1 x 2500 words summative original creative writing assessment (or equivalent, in the case of poetry/script) [ILOs 1, 2, 3 and 5] (50%)

1 x 2500 word summative essay, relating a key critical issue to the student’s own writing and/or similar texts. [ILOs 4, 5, 6] (50%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGLM0071).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.