Faculty of Arts


Writing Creative Prose


This is a Stage III art and craft class for students interested in refining skills in writing fiction and creative non-fiction. We study a range of local and international models, write and revise weekly exercises, workshop and revise longer pieces, and develop the close-reading ability as a writer rather than as a critic.

The class is held once a week as a three-hour combined seminar and workshop. It is informed by principles of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, sharing experiences and obligations, and attendance is mandatory at every class.

In the seminar we focus on key aspects of technique, including narrative structure, point of view, character, setting and use of dialogue. Each week we close-read work by a range of contemporary practitioners (available in set texts and a course reader) to explore the demands and possibilities of creative prose. In the workshops, students will workshop drafts of a 3000-word short story and a 2500-word piece of creative nonfiction. Students are expected to be active participants and committed readers, contributing in an active and informed way to discussions.

At the first meeting, you will commit to workshop dates for both pieces of creative work – these are hard deadlines, and cannot be missed or changed. You will be expected to workshop complete drafts of those pieces, and to write weekly responses to the workshop submissions of your peers.

Please note that there is a large amount of reading for this class of both published and peer work. You must be able to commit to the ten-hour-a-week average work load. Weekly quizzes assess your engagement with the published work, and these count towards your final grade.

The vast majority of students who take ENGLISH 344 have taken ENGLISH 252 ("Introduction to Creative Writing") first, and students are urged to take this class before applying for entry to ENGLISH 344. While exceptions can be made, remember that the fundamental aspects of technique for both fiction and creative nonfiction are covered in 252. It is not possible to take ENGLISH 252 and 344 simultaneously.

Class limits and selection for 2019

Enrolment for this class is highly competitive. The class is limited to 18 participants. Students will be selected on a qualitative assessment of their creative ability and accomplishment, based on either on an original short story or work of creative nonfiction of up to 3000 words. 

Applications are open between Wednesday 19 June and Wednesday 26 June only.

Please email p.morris@auckland.ac.nz with APPLICATION FOR ENGLISH 344 in the subject line. In the body of the email:

  • List your name, student number and the reason you wish to take this class. Please note the grade you received for ENGLISH 252.
  • Please confirm that you are committed to attending and completing ten hours of work every week, including all the required reading.
  • Please confirm that you understand your responsibility to the class: meeting your workshop deadlines, and giving informed feedback during other students’ workshops.
  • Attach a WORD document with a short story or work of creative nonfiction of 2000-3000 words as a sample of your work. Manuscripts should be double-spaced and in Times New Roman 12-point type. Poetry, drama or academic essays are not accepted as writing samples
  • Waitlist yourself for the course and wait to hear if you’ve been cleared for enrolment.

Availability 2019

Semester 2


Lecturer(s) Dr Paula Morris


Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer

Course Reader [Note: purchase from UBS and bring to first seminar]


Coursework only: Participation, reading quizzes and three portfolios (fiction; revised exercises; creative nonfiction)


ENGLISH 344: 15.0 points


60 points passed and approval by Programme Coordinator



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