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Environmental Writing

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Climate change, global warming, plastic pollution, sinking cities, drought.

The world around us is in crisis and we, implicated as we are in its destruction, can often feel helpless in the face of impending catastrophe.

But there is a growing body of literature that has both warned us of the dangers and urged action – from climate-fiction (cli-fi) to poetry and essays; from online memes to citizen journalism.

This creative writing course will enable you to understand the tools of persuasive and intelligent environmental writing that has the potential to change hearts and minds.

We will learn from extracts and examples, but also from each other, as each individual adds their voice to the call for change. It is, in essence, a course about hope.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered through 10 two-hour sessions, made up of lectures, class discussions, small group work and debates.

Class sessions will be supplemented by resources available to you via Learning Central.

Workshops are likely to include:

  • creative writing skills: fundamental terminology and concepts relevant to environmental writing
  • exploration of contemporary trends, styles and developments in environmental writing and ecocriticism
  • discussion of published examples of environmental literature and creative non-fiction
  • revision, feedback, and reflection
  • publishing environmental writing.

Coursework and assessment

To award credits, we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Students will develop a portfolio of writing encompassing different genres within environmental writing of around 1,500 words.

Reading suggestions

You will be provided with a range of extracts from environmental literary texts and creative non-fiction.

You may find the following texts useful as introductions, but you are not expected to have completed any reading before the course starts.

  • D’Avanzo, Charlene. "Climate Fiction as Environmental Education." Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 99.4 (2018): 1-3.
  • Garrard, Greg. Ecocriticism. Routledge, 2011.
  • Mies, Maria, and Vandana Shiva. Ecofeminism. Zed Books, 1993.
  • Morton, Timothy. Ecology without nature: Rethinking environmental aesthetics. Harvard University Press, 2007.

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.