Advanced Critical Reading Module Guide

MFA Critical Reading


Scott Bradfield:   Module Leader


All reading is to be completed by the beginning of the class assigned.  In some cases, the assigned work will be handed out – and read – in class.

Students are required to arrive for classes on time and prepared for the week’s discussion.  Students will not be admitted five minutes after class begins unless prior arrangement has been made with the instructor.

Students may be expected to make brief opening presentations on the week’s reading as assigned by the instructor.

Each class will consist of:  opening remarks by instructor and/or student assigned to give a presentation, followed by discussion.  In the second half of the class, students will be encouraged to write passages analyzing techniques/issues/writerly concerns under discussion, in preparation for the Critical Reading Log of their MFA dissertations.  Classes vary with individual instructors.

Week 1:  Tuesday 25 September:  Scott Bradfield

Techniques of short story writing

Required reading:  handout in class

Week 2:  Tuesday 2 October:  Scott Bradfield

How to start a novel

Required reading: Graham Greene’s A Gun for Sale (or This Gun for Hire US        version) any edition

Week 3:  Tuesday 9 October:  Lee Rourke

How should novels be

            Required readingEverything Passes, by Gabriel Josipovici, any edition


Week 4:  Tuesday 16 October:  Lee Rourke

How do novels work/not work

Required readingJealousy, by Alain Robbe-Grillet, any edition

Week 5:  Tuesday 23 October:  Rachel Cusk

Memoir and reality

Required readingA Death in the Family, by Karl Ove Knausgaard, any edition

READING WEEK:  29 October –

Week 7:  Tuesday 6 November:  Jane Yeh

Structure & the sentence in free-verse poetry

Required reading:  Handouts of poems

Week 8:  Tuesday 13 November:  Jonathan Barnes

Narrative voice in Martin Amis’ ‘Night Train’

Required readingsNight Train, by Martin Amis

Week 9:  Tuesday 20 November:  Fiona Curran

Art, the echo and the word on the page

Required reading:  poem handouts

Week 10:  Tuesday 27 November:  Barrie Keeffe

When story and subject dictate style

Required reading:  Screenplay of ‘The Long Good Friday,’ by Barrie Keeffe

Week 11:  Tuesday 4 December:  Scott Bradfield

Why we read what we don’t want to write

Required readingThe Shining, Stephen King


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