Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Contemporary Queer Fiction
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 20hrs (10 x 2hrs seminars/workshops)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 4 Hours   30 minute group oral presentation  Half day for rehearsal and half day for actual exam at least 1 week apart. Room with DP and blackout ability required. Small seminar room.  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2500 word essay  60%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a range of queer novels from 1980's-present day;

2. articulate this knowledge in the form of reasoned critical analysis of particular texts;

3. locate the texts studied in appropriate literary, historical, and theoretical contexts;

4. explain, and engage with, relevant aspects of recent scholarly and/or critical debates about the texts studied;

5. articulate some of their findings in the form of an oral presentation.

Brief description

This module focuses on the field of contemporary queer fiction, examining queer sexuality and gender issues and placing them in their historical and cultural contexts. In particular, it asks how the authors studied have experimented with both content and form in their exploration of the changing issues faced by queer writers over the last twenty-five years. We will use both queer fiction and queer theory to analyse how sexuality and gender are understood in society and how tensions around issues of assimilation and radical otherness have evolved since the 1980s. The module asks students to look at how these factors shape the novels under discussion and how, in turn, the novels respond to the particular challenges the debates present.


_1. Inscription: Narrating lives (coming out stories)
  • Introductory: ways of reading: gay and lelsbian fiction post Stonewall. Texts: 'Coming Out Story' (Alison Bechedel, 1993) [very short, provided as handout];
  • Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit (Jeanette Winterson, 1985);
  • A Boy's Own Story (Edmund White, 1986);
  • Fun Home (Alison Bechdel, 2006)
  • The Blackwater Lightship (Colm Toibin, 1999)
_2.Reinscription, reclamation: historical lives
  • The Swimming Pool Library (Alan Hollinghurst, 1988)
  • Tipping the Velvet.The Night Watch (Sarah Waters, 1998/2006)
_3.Reinscription, rewriting: gender, queerness, language
  • Written on the Body (Jeanette Winterson, 1992)
  • Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides, 2002)
  • Girl Meets Boy (Ali Smith, 2007) plus one short story from Dahlia SEasons (Myriam Gurba, 2007) [provided as handout]


This is a new option developed to fill a gap in the portfolio of modules currently available. It will focus on novels dealing with sexuality and gender issues written between 1980 and the present day, and will explore litrary and cultural issues relevant to the topic.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Through group discussions and presentations
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent reading and research.
Information Technology Through powerpoint presentations.
Personal Development and Career planning By critical self reflection and through the development of transferrable communication and research skills.
Problem solving By developing evaluative analysis and critical skills and by formulating and conducting a detailed arguement.
Research skills By relating literary texts to hstorical contexts and by synthesising information in an evaluative argument.
Subject Specific Skills Detailed critical/theoretical analysis of literary texts and evaluation of broad intellectual concepts.
Team work Through group presentations.

Reading List

General Text
(1993.) Outwrite :Lesbianism and popular culture /edited by Gabriele Griffin. Pluto Press Primo search Andermahr, Sonya (Nov. 2008) Jeanette Winterson Palgrave Macmillan Primo search Andermahr, Sonya (Oct. 2007) Jeanette Winterson:A Contemporary Critical Guide Continuum International Publishing Group, Limited Primo search Bechdel, Alison (March 1998) The Indelible Alison Bechdel:Confessions, Comix and Miscellaneous Dykes to Watch Out For Firebrand Books Primo search Clark, Alex Granta 104 Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated Primo search Cook, Matt (2007) A Gay History of Britain:Love and Sex Between Men since the Middle Ages Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated Primo search Delaney, Paul (2008) Reading Colm Toibin Liffey Press, The Primo search Doan, Laura L. Fashioning Sapphism:The Origins of a Modern English Lesbian Culture Columbia University Press Primo search Haggerty, George E. (April 2008) A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies Wiley-Blackwell [Imprint] Primo search Jennings, Rebecca (2007) A Lesbian History of Britain:Love and Sex Between Women Since 1500 Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated Primo search Jennings, Rebecca (July 2007) Tomboys and Bachelor Girls:A Lesbian History of Post-War Britain, 1945-71 Manchester University Press Primo search Jones, Sonya L. (Nov. 1998) Gay and Lesbian Literature since World War II:History and Memory Routledge Primo search Murphy, Timothy (June 2000) Reader's Guide to Lesbian and Gay Studies Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Incorporated Primo search Onega Jae n, Susana. (2006.) Jeanette Winterson /Susana Onega. Manchester University Press : Patai, Daphne (May 2005) Theory's Empire:An Anthology of Dissent Columbia University Press Primo search Piontek, Thomas (March 2006) Queering Gay and Lesbian Studies University of Illinois Press Primo search Reynolds, M. (Nov. 1998) Winterson, Jeanette Northcote House Publishers, Limited Primo search Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky (Dec. 1997) Novel Gazing:Queer Readings in Fiction Duke University Press Primo search Sinfield, Alan. (1998.) Gay and after /Alan Sinfield. Serpent's Tail Primo search Sullivan, Nikki (June 2003) A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory Edinburgh University Press Primo search
Should Be Purchased
Bechdel, Alison (Dec. 2006) Fun Home:A Family Tragicomic Jonathan Cape [Imprint] Primo search Eugenides, Jeffrey. (2003) Middlesex /Jeffrey Eugenides. Bloomsbury Primo search Hollinghurst, Alan (Sept. 2006) The Swimming-Pool Library Vintage [Imprint] Primo search Noreen Giffney and Michael O¿Rourke (eds.), (2009) The Ashgate Research Companion to Queer Theory Ashgate Primo search Smith, Ali (June 2008) Girl Meets Boy Canongate Books Primo search Toibin, Colm (Aug. 2000) The Blackwater Lightship 4th ed.,Revised Picador [Imprint] Primo search Waters, Sarah (June 2007) Tipping the Velvet Virago Press [Imprint] Primo search White, Edmund (May 2002) A Boy's Own Story Random House, Incorporated Primo search Winterson, Jeanette (1991.) Oranges are not the only fruit /Jeanette Winterson. Heinemann Primo search Winterson, Jeanette (1993.) Written on the body /Jeanette Winterton. Vintage Primo search
Supplementary Text
Gurba, Myriam (May 2007) Dahlia Season:Stories and a Novella I will be supplying photocopies from this; if you would like to buy it, you can get it via amazon. Manic D Press Primo search Lenkiewicz, Rebecca (July 2008) Her Naked Skin Faber & Faber, Limited Primo search Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. (1998 (2007 prir) Tendencies /Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Routledge Primo search
Recommended Consultation
Bravmann, Scott (1997) Queer Fictions of the Past Cambridge University Press Primo search
Recommended Background
(2000.) Territories of desire in queer culture :refiguring contemporary boundaries /edited by David Alderson and Linda Anderson. Manchester University Press : Primo search Bristow, Joseph. (1997.) Sexuality /Joseph Bristow. Routledge Primo search

Abraham, Nicolas (Jan. 1994) The Shell and the Kernel:Vol. 1: Renewals of Psychoanalysis University of Chicago Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6