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Young Adult Fiction

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Young Adult (YA) Fiction is one of the most popular and growing markets within the publishing industry. But what makes a good YA novel?

Is it the darkness of the dystopian Hunger Games or the endless possibilities of the magical Harry Potter novels? Who writes YA fiction and is it just younger readers who buy these books?

This course looks at a selection of genres that make up successful YA Fiction as well as providing practical workshops in writing for YA audiences.

Learning and teaching

There will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include discussions, exercises, craft lectures and workshops. Learners will be encouraged to read texts introduced and obtain feedback from the tutor and other members of the group.

Online provision will be made available through Learning Central with relevant links to resources and class handouts and PowerPoint presentations.

Indicative topics include:

  • Creative writing skills: fundamental terminology and concepts relevant to YA Fiction.
  • Exploration of contemporary trends, styles and developments in YA Fiction.
  • Discussion of published examples of YA Fiction.
  • Revision, feedback, and reflection.
  • Publishing YA Fiction.

Coursework and assessment

Students will be assessed via a portfolio of young adult fictions (80%) and a critical commentary (20%). The commentary, in the form of a reflective journal, will enable students to explore their own creative practice and to engage with wider reading in the discipline.

Reading suggestions

Essential reading

Students will be provided with a range of extracts from YA primary texts.

Recommended reading

  • Aitchison, David. "The Hunger Games, Spartacus, and other family stories: Sentimental revolution in contemporary young-adult fiction." The Lion and the Unicorn 39.3 (2015): 254-274.
  • Belbin, David. "What is Young Adult Fiction?." English in Education 45.2 (2011): 132-145.Yasunari Kawabata, Palm-Of-The-Hand Stories (Macmillan, 2006)
  • Hateley, Erica. "Sink or Swim?: Revising Ophelia in contemporary young adult fiction." Children's Literature Association Quarterly 38.4 (2013): 435-448.
  • Hintz, Carrie, Balaka Basu, and Katherine R. Broad, eds. Contemporary dystopian fiction for young adults: Brave new teenagers. Routledge, 2013.
  • Wilson, Nicole L. "The world will be watching: The panoptic nature of reality television in young adult fiction." The Journal of Popular Culture 49.4 (2016): 917-933.

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.