Writing the Environment module (EN42030)

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What does it mean to ‘write’ the ‘natural world’? What is this thing called Nature Writing? And how does modern and contemporary fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction write the environment? Is there a right way to do so?

This module is a creative writing module which helps guide you and your writing practice toward answering these questions.

Teaching on the module is ordered by (in the first half of the module) discussion seminars based on course reading, which also contain creative writing prompts to get your thinking and writing kick-started, and (in the second half of the module) intensive writing workshops.

There is an evening option on this module. We will focus on the discussion seminars on Flora, Fauna, Ecosystem, and Archive. Here, you will begin to learn how to balance the application of scientific and/or ecological knowledge with a consciousness of historical and contemporary debates around the question of ‘nature’, as well as with sensitive writing of personal observation, engaging with both fictional and non-fictional writing practices.

You will gain an understanding of the practical, moral, and ethical issues affecting the reading and practice of ‘nature writing’, and begin to build up a portfolio of practice. We will visit and engage with living and archived university collections, and the writings of key thinkers in the field. In the workshop series, we will concentrate on your own practice.


Assessment is 100% coursework, and consists of: 10% workshop participation, 10% workshop critique and 10% workshop submission, and then 70% portfolio submission. The portfolio submission comprises of 4000 words (for prose) OR 16 pages (for poetry/hybrid works) + an 800-word writer's statement.


This module is available on following courses: