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I have signed up for a four-week course with the University of Edinburgh on How to Read a Novel. As someone who loathed school and fled at the first opportunity without gaining a single qualification, this is a novel venture (pun intended), but one that I am looking forward to undertaking. Although I feel a little apprehensive, I intend to share my experience in the hope it may inspire others to continue learning regardless of age or academic background.
Please look out for updates outlining my progress at the end of each module.
Over the coming month I will be looking at the main building blocks of fiction: plot, characterisation, dialogue and setting. Examining how the various techniques relating to each of these components function in a range of different novels, and I will be drawing on four books selected for The James Tait Black Prizes 2016 fiction shortlist. This is Britain’s oldest literary award, based at Edinburgh University.
The four novels are:
I will be furnished with with plenty of excerpts from each of these novels in order to discuss them with others taking the course. Nevertheless, I intend to read all four books, although this isn’t mandatory.
The four modules:
The course is hosted by the FutureLearn platform and is the latest in a series of open online courses called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) from the University, which, to date, have been taken by over two million people.