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Taster Day in English Literature and Creative Writing

Wednesday 19 February 2014, 10.00-3.00

  • What can you expect if you study English Literature at university?
  • What is it like to study Creative Writing, rather than to write on your own?
  • How do you know if studying English or Creative Writing is for you?

Your A level syllabus will probably already have introduced you to novels, poems and plays as literary artefacts, and to some new ways of thinking about how texts are produced in particular historical and cultural contexts.  So what else might you encounter at degree level?  If you’re a Creative Writer, you may wonder what to expect from working on your writing in a group, rather than on your own – how would it feel to write in such a different context?

If you’d like to experience a university-style lecture and a tutor-led seminar discussion, or try out  a writers’ workshop, this event offers you that chance, before you make your  decision about what, and where, to study.

What will happen on the Taster Day?

In the course of the day, you will go to two sessions, in English and/or Creative Writing. You will also have a tour of the campus with some of our current students, and have the chance to talk to them about what it is like to study English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster.  Lunch will be provided.

What sessions will be on offer?  

When you register, you will choose to go to two of the following three taster sessions:

English Literature 1: William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794)

Led by Professor Sharon Ruston

In this session, we will explore the ideas behind William Blake’s revolutionary poems, his Songs of Innocence and of Experience. We will ask: what does innocence mean? Does it simply indicate a lack of experience? How is innocence different from ignorance? And if they are related, is ignorance a state of which we should be envious? In the workshop, we will look at two poems in detail, and relate them to the ideas set out in the lecture.  We will also consider the engravings that accompany these poems. 

English Literature 2: The Trouble With Sparkly Vampires: Reading Contemporary Gothic

Led by Dr Catherine Spooner

The chances are that you will either love or hate Twilight. Few readers seem to feel neutral about it. Central to the Twilight saga’s ability to irritate or enthral is Stephenie Meyer’s invention of what has come to be called the ‘sparkly vampire’. But why are these figures so controversial? This session will ask what exactly the trouble is with sparkly vampires, by placing them in the Gothic tradition and exploring what is at stake when we make critical judgments about what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ literature.

Creative Writing Workshop: How to Write a Bestseller

Led by Dr George Green

No-one can guarantee that your book will sell millions, but there are steps you can take to make it more likely.  This session will tell you where to start. Working in a group with other students, you will get a taste of what a university Creative Writing workshop is really like by doing a creative writing exercise, sharing your work with others, and receiving (gentle) feedback from a published author.


Please register online at

There is no charge for the day, but booking is essential.


Student Journals


The Flash Journal is an undergraduate run termly journal which publishes fiction, poetry, critical and hybrid work by current Lancaster undergrads. Go to Flash»


Cake publishes poetry, flash fiction and reviews with work from established poets and newcomers alike. Go to Cake»


Royal Literary Fund Fellow

Philip Caveney

Need help with your academic writing? Get in touch with Philip Caveney, our Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

Current students

For information including:

  • Handbooks
  • Library resources
  • University links etc

go to resources for current students.

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