Writers of the Clay

Ref: C3527563

Enjoy a feast of Cornish literature from the centre of Cornwall. We will discuss how this clay mining area has inspired writers from the 19th century to the present day. We will focus on the work of the three Hocking siblings, Jack Clemo, AL Rowse and Alan M Kent and consider the influence on these writers, the evolution of literature from Cornwall, and the special energy associated with Clay country.

Additional information about this course

No session 2nd June. 12.30pm finish on first and last sessions.

Course aim

• To focus on the literature of the central Cornwall china clay area • To discover and share distinctive voices relating to this mining/quarrying region • To consider the relationship between this landscape and its writers and literature • To discuss new, challenging and different voices, as well as established literary figures • To explore themes relating to this area, including a spirituality of place

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

A survey of literature from the Clay country with a particular focus on the work of the Hockings, Jack Clemo, AL Rowse and Alan M Kent. We will explore specific concerns and themes of these writers and consider how they may fit into the continuum of literature on Cornwall. We will also explore any Arthurian links with the area from a literary perspective. The course will therefore include poetry and drama as well as novels and short stories.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Identify a range of writers associated with the Clay country. 2. Identify themes within the work of writers from the Clay country. 3. Analyse how issues of Cornish identity are presented in the work of writers from the Clay country. 4. Describe the work of three poets whose poetry is strongly identified with this place. 5. Comment on spirituality within the work of writers from this mining area.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Through discussion with the tutor as required/requested and through group discussion and feedback.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?


Reading and information sources

There is no prior reading required for this course, but the following books could provide useful background information: ‘The Literature of Cornwall: Continuity, Identity and Difference 1000 – 2000’ (ISBN 1-900178-28-1) and ‘The Theatre of Cornwall’ (ISBN 978-1-904537-99-1) both by Alan M Kent provide key background information for the course, supported by ‘Cornwall: The Cultural Construction of Place’ by Ella Westland (ISBN 978 – 187 2229270).

What could the course lead to?

Other WEA courses on Cornish literature, or further study of literature.

Download full course outline

Writers of the Clay Course Outline

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has been cancelled.


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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