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FutureLearn How to Read a Novel

University of Edinburgh via FutureLearn

  • Overview
  1. FutureLearn
    University of Edinburgh
    2 hours/week
    4 weeks
    Paid Certificate Available
    Get more from your reading

    What makes a great novel? How is a novel woven together? How can we best appreciate works of fiction?

    Answer these questions and more with this course from The University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

    On the course you’ll discover four of the main building blocks of modern fiction: plot, characterisation, dialogue, and setting using examples from a range of texts including the four novels shortlisted for the 2018 James Tait Black fiction prize. You’ll also explore the formal strategies authors use, how they came to be, and how they affect us as readers.

    This course is for anyone who enjoys reading. You don’t need any past experience.

    What topics will you cover?
    • The course examines specific techniques relating to plotting and temporality including flashbacks, unreliable narration and framed narratives.
    • The course considers ways of understanding character, such as behaviour and motives.
    • It explores issues relating to the presentation of dialogue, including conversational mood and dialect voices.
    • The course examines the impact of various different settings on the development of plot and character.
    • It invites learners to test their understanding through weekly quizzes and a final peer assessment task.
    • The four novels explored for this course are:
      • White Tears by Hari Kunzru
      • Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams
      • First Love by Gwendoline Riley
      • American War by Omar El Akkad

    Taught by
    Alex Lawrie

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