Ten 20th Century Short Story Writers

Ref: C3744245

The power of the short story as a literary form has been recognised in modern society for hundreds of years. Ernest Hemingway referred to the 'iceberg theory' of writing, believing that the deeper meaning of a story should not be evident on the surface but should shine through implicitly and this condensed form has often been used by authors to hone their literary skills, calling as it does for precision of language and a sophisticated use of imagery and symbolism. This course looks at a selection of short stories by ten key literary figures of the 20th century, many of whom are better known for their longer fiction and several of whom have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Authors studied will be: James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Ernest Hemingway, D H Lawrence, Colette, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. A full reading list is available on request.

Course aim

This course looks at short stories by ten important writers of the 20th century, many of whom have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Identify the key technical elements specific to the short story form.
  • Respond to literary texts in a critical way and share my findings with my fellow students.
  • Trace the development of literary ideas and themes through the 20th century.
  • Explore the ways in which factors such as gender, sexuality and national identity can affect a writing styles and thematic interests.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Please bring the selected texts to each class.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • A full reading list can be obtained by emailing southernbranches@wea.org

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
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here http://www.wea.org.uk/learn-wea/what-can-i-do-next

Download full course information sheet

Ten 20th Century Short Story Writers

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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