Commonwealth Writing

Ref: C2224477

We will explore writing, in prose and poetry, from British Commonwealth countries, concerning the complex and ambiguous nature of their relationship with the former 'mother country', as well as issues indigenous to their own countries. Consideration will be given to literary merit of the works studied as well as the themes which they explore. Novels to be studied will be: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Miguel Street V.S. Naipaul The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood There will be a selection of prose and poetry by Clive James and short stories by R.K. Narayan

Course aim

The course will look at writers from British Commonwealth countries, to consider how writers have approached various themes concerning their own countries and, in many cases, their relationship to Britain.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • 1 approach texts with an enhanced critical eye
  • 2 express opinions and responses to specific texts with increased confidence
  • 3 have an awareness of the different kinds of writing produced by Commonwealth writers
  • 4 have an understanding of the relationship between Commonwealth writers and Britain

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • You will need to obtain copies of novels under discussion. Handouts will be provided of poems and short stories.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Commonwealth Writing


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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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