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Introduction to Writing Traditional and Modern-day Fairy Tales

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The course sets out to inspire both new and experienced writers in the creation of their own original fairy tales.

Over the 10 weeks, students will explore what makes the fairy tale a uniquely seductive form of storytelling, looking at origins, language, themes, characters, setting, motifs and narrative device.

Students will accumulate a portfolio of fairy tale-inspired writing, full of magic, marvel and metamorphosis.

Week by week, students will develop insight into the origins, language, themes, characters, setting, motifs and narrative devices of the fairy tale, which will in turn inspire the creation of their own original fairy tale writing.

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work.

This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include discussions, exercises (optional), craft lectures and workshops.

The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. You will be expected to write in your own private time, with the guidance of your tutor, and to learn about revision, while at the same time becoming familiar with the fundamental concepts of creative 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.

There will be no formal examinations. You will be encouraged to write and read examples of your own work to your fellow class members and to comment on their work in turn, in the process sharpening your critical skills.

The basis of assessment will be a portfolio (c. 1500 words) that comprises of either a whole original fairy tale or a series of original fairy tale scenes, borne out of and inspired by your understanding of origins, language, themes, characters, setting and narrative device found in the traditional fairy tale.

These original creative works will be accompanied by a personal reflection on the process and practice of producing your own fairy tale writing. Your work will be assessed by your tutor, who will offer you written reports which we hope you will find constructive.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are flexible and 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.

Reading suggestions

The course tutor will suggest appropriate titles.

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.