English Literature, English Language and Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham

Uploaded by unibirmingham on 11.12.2012

I chose the University of Birmingham because I knew that I would be taught by the experts
in the field. It's quite encouraging when you read a book and your tutor's name is on
there, so you know you're being taught by the best.
The fact that it's a red brick university, a Russell Group university.
I really liked the facilities that they had at the University.
When I first came I was just like 'Wow!' because I thought that the University was so pretty.
I got on well with the tutors as well which is something that I was really looking for.
It was so green and that really appealed to me.
I've enjoyed the freedom that I've had to just be me, there's no particular type of
student that they expect.
One of the fabulous things about this department is just how big it is and how diverse. We
have about 1000 undergraduates and over 50 specialist staff teaching all aspects of English
Literature and English Language and Creative Writing.
Studying English Literature at Birmingham takes you all the way from being a talented
A Level student making that crucial transition into university study to becoming a fully-trained
literary critic yourself.
One of the things that we pride ourselves here at Birmingham is offering a very wide
range of expertise on the full chronological range of English Literature.
We offer BA programmes in English Language at joint honours and single honours and we
look at how language works, why people use language the way they do and how to use language
We look at language as something that's not an abstract thing but something that's related
to everyday life.
It's good to study English Language alongside English Literature because the stuff that
I learn in language really helps me analyse texts in literature.
What's special about creative writing in Birmingham is that you can study across disciplines.
We teach long-form fiction, which is novel-writing, we teach short-form fiction, short stories,
you can study playwriting, screenwriting and poetry.
There's definitely a jump between school and university but there's a good support system
in place to help you make that jump. The tutors get back to you really quickly so you get
a lot of response and feedback.
All the lecturers have made it really clear that their door is always open.
There are several teaching methods at Birmingham. So, there's the lecture where you get the
main body of information. Then there's seminars where you are able to discuss what you learn
in lectures and that sort of thing. And then there are workshops where you get into groups
and you discuss with pupils rather than it being led by a tutor.
What you try to do in a lecture is you're trying to give a clear overview of the particular
text, it's giving the overview and trying to show how it works within the framework
of the course itself.
All our students do an independent piece of research in their final year and this can
be on a topic of their choice.
One of my specialist options which I'm really enjoying is Shakespeare's Afterlives...
... which basically looks at how Shakespeare has been interpreted over the past few centuries
since his death. It's really interesting, we're getting to look at different adaptations,
in film and books, in popular culture. I think it's brilliant.
At the moment I'm doing advanced language work which is essentially just really intense
grammar and actually that's probably my favourite module.
There's a lot
of societies going on. I was in the debate society and that was fantastic. I'm writing
for the University newspaper and I had my first article published last week.
Writer's Block is the society we have at the University of Birmingham as an extra-curricular
way of getting creative writers and anyone who's interested involved in writing as often
as possible.
The main attraction for me was the library. The amount of books in there is just slightly
baffling in first year but after that it just becomes such a great store of knowledge that
it's really useful to have.
We use the Cadbury Research Library to bring students into an encounter with rare books,
one on one as it were.
The literature students get to work with our very specialist colleagues from the Shakespeare
Institute which is the world-famous Shakespeare Studies centre.
When you're being lectured by the experts from the Shakespeare Institute you get a really
good insight into the play.
The day at the Institute was amazing. We got a tour of the Institute and we had talks from
lecturers there.
In the evening as well, there's an opportunity to go to a production of a Shakespeare play
done by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is really exciting.
I'm hoping to work in media production.
I'm hoping to eventually become a journalist, this is why I chose to study English Literature.
There's a lot of specific career advice which is even targeted to specific audiences. I
know there was a specific lecture for marketing and one for media.
That's why I chose doing this in the first place, it's given me a lot of key skills that
I'll need to progress in my career.
Coming here to Birmingham to study English was the greatest decision I've ever made.