Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Telling True Stories: ways of Writing Creative Non-Fiction
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Creative Writing Portfolio 1  (2,500 words) A 1500 word creative piece and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%
Semester Assessment Creative Writing Portfolio 2  (2,500 words) A 1500 word creative piece and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed Creative Writing Portfolio 1  (2,500 words) A 1500 word creative piece and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed Creative Writing Portfolio 2  (2,500 words) A 1500 word creative piece and critical commentary of 1000 words.  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate knowledge of a range of literary texts from across the Nineteenth Century.

2. Locate texts in appropriate cultural and historical contexts.

3. Articulate a detailed critical analysis of individual texts from the period that shows an understanding of their distinctive qualities.

4. Relate texts from the period either to each other or to a common theme.


This module fills a gap in undergraduate creative-writing provision by addressing the core skills required to write creative non-fiction and introducing Part II students to key texts and approaches. It will enhance students' fiction and writing skills by expanding the range of material studied and exploring new techniques.

Brief description

Exploring real people, places and histories, this module looks at ways of telling real-life stories and asks how 'true' they really are. It looks at how the writer researches and presents his/her own experiences in memoir, autobiography or travelogue, before moving on to examine creative ways of writing history, nature, science or biography. The module examines the relationship between fiction and creative non-fiction, encouraging students to use their existing skills to explore new directions.


The module will be delivered through a series of workshops intended to introduce students to a particular theme from creative non-fiction practice and outline the approaches and ideas; students will also be required to study, and respond to, texts by influential writers in the field. Workshops will allow students to research, prepare and present their own work on the basis of material studied.

The module programme is divided into four key themes. Although these will be studied separately, an overarching rationale to the module will ask students to consider and scrutinize key questions about creative non-fiction over the 10-weeks of study: what is creative non-fiction and how does it differ from fiction? How does research underpin the genre? How does the writer get the most from real stories? How responsible is the writer for telling the truth?

Week 1: What is creative non-fiction? An introduction.

Weeks 2 & 3: The writing self: memoir and autobiography. Looking at works including Hilary Mantel's memoir Giving up the Ghost, students will explore how to write about the self and personal experiences. How do you express your inner life, your thoughts and feelings – and make them interesting? What is the relationship between the writer, and the 'I' in the writing?

Weeks 4 & 5: The writer in a strange land: travel writing. Is travel writing only about making journeys? What does a reader want from travel writing? Students will explore traditional travelogues, as well as contemporary 'hybrid' works including Edmund de Waal's book about travel, history and art, The Hare with Amber Eyes.

Weeks 6 & 7: The writer as researcher: history and science. Students will look at the ways in which factual research can be brought to the page in a creative way. Using works including Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, they will explore research techniques and sources, and experiment with methods for engaging the reader with their material.

Weeks 8 & 9: The green writer: nature and environment. Working from texts including Waterlog by Roger Deakin, students will examine the tradition of nature writing. Where does landscape description end and nature writing begin? What is there to be said about everyday experiences of being outdoors?

Week 10: Re-cap and overview. The key skills of creative non-fiction revisited.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Oral communication in seminar and workshop discussion; written communication in portfolio submission text.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent and directed research and reading. Exploring and refining new writing techniques.
Information Technology Word-processing skills required to prepare and submit portfolios; use of digital resources for research.
Personal Development and Career planning Through critical self-reflection; transferable communication and research skills.
Problem solving Analysing and employing creative non-fiction techniques; planning and developing research and written tasks.
Research skills Undertaking research into key themes and presenting this in a scholarly and coherent manner.
Subject Specific Skills Practical proficiency in creative writing; close reading; analysis of texts and research sources; revision and editing.
Team work Collaboration in seminars and workshops.


This module is at CQFW Level 5