Course syllabus




SEMESTER 1, 2019: 15 points

(Some element of Syllabus may be subject to change before the beginning of semester)



Associate Professor Selina Tusitala Marsh
Professor Lisa Samuels

Course delivery format

Our two-hour weekly classes are complemented by smaller group one-hour weekly workshops (10 in total from Weeks 2-10) in which exercises are distributed, worked on and discussed. Set exercises for each genre are handed out and handed back at workshops so attendance is mandatory.

Lectures: HSB2, 201, Tuesdays 1-3 PM

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

Course Description

This is an introductory level class for those interested in Creative Writing. The lecturers are published authors and the course offers a taster of four writing genres: Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry, Multimedia and Short Fiction. The four genres have areas of overlap in terms of craft and content.

Lectures are two hours long, interactive and practice-based. You will engage with your lecturers and peer students while learning about form, content, technique, voice and style. Come prepared: do the allocated reading and exercises BEFORE class. Maximise your own participation and fully engage with the course materials and with your fellow writers in class. Supplemental material may be given out in class and/or posted on Canvas.

We will discuss and learn from examples provided and produced in class. Writing exercises in addition to those set in workshops will often be given in class and used to illustrate ideas and techniques being studied for that genre. We will also watch, listen to and discuss writing examples from other writers.

As this course practices process-oriented formative feedback, you will be given written feedback on each of your 10 draft exercises throughout the semester and awarded one final grade (sans comments) for each portfolio. Workshops will encourage peer review and supportive group dynamics.

You will be asked to keep a Writer’s Workbook which ideally contains all your creative writing material (drafts, exercises, ideas, inspirational media). While the Workbook is not formally assessed, it is viewed as part of your creative practice and students find it gratifying to keep one in an accountable environment over 12 weeks. It may also be considered for eligibility in competitive entry Stage 3 writing courses.

Each class begins with several students sharing parts of their Writer’s Workbook with the class on the Document Camera. Sharing your process provides a fun, interesting moment of collaborative learning and inspiration.   

Course outcomes

On completion of this course you will:

  • Be familiar with the general terrain of four genres (Poetry, Multimedia, Creative Non-Fiction, Short Fiction)
  • Be able to apply and experiment with techniques specific to each genre
  • Gain an appreciation of how each genre might inform the other
  • Keep a high-level Writer’s Workbook as part of your creative practice (not assessed but called upon in class)
  • Give and receive constructive criticism

Assessment Summary

Coursework only.

Weekly Topics

(readings and assignment details will be posted when Semester 1 begins)



Assessment Overview

This is a 100% internally assessed course – there is NO EXAM.

There are TWO portfolios

Portfolio A (including exercises and drafts, worth 40%)
Portfolio B (including exercises and drafts, worth 40%)

The remaining 20% is made up of your workshop and peer review participation and contribution.




Due: Portfolio A: 3pm, Monday 15th April
Portfolio B: 3pm, Tuesday 10th June

Each portfolio must include TWO works, one from each genre. Portfolio 1 will include Poetry and Multimedia. Portfolio 2 will include Creative Non-fiction and Short Fiction.

Each work MUST be based on a piece of work you started in workshops. You must include the draft work AND the peer review you received from your group mates alongside the finished piece.

Word count: 2500 words per portfolio.


Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.


Course summary:

Date Details