Creative Writing: Poetry and Fiction & Memoir

University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Creative Writing: Poetry and Fiction & Memoir

  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    Creative Writing

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    This course cannot be taken at the same time as SU402 The Archaeological Heritage of Ireland.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    This course, given by an established writer is a workshop in the writing of poetry, fiction, and memoir. Students choose the genre they wish to emphasise, engaging in experimentation, writing and rewriting under the supervision of the director. Students will be given writing prompts at every workshop. The workshops involve reviewing, analysing and editing of work in an atmosphere of constructive criticism and mutual support. Module participants will take part in a number of literary events around Galway City, under the supervision of the course director, poet and critic Kevin Higgins, who is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events.


    Through various reading and writing exercises, this course will explore several aspects of poetry, fiction, and memoir writing from first steps to final polish. The course Director will use tried and tested techniques to get participants writing. He will also work with them on polishing their writing and bringing poems and stories to completion. Students’ work will be read and discussed in class and the entire class will be expected to engage in constructive criticism of and mutual support for each other’s poems and stories.

    Participants will attend and participate in two events organised by Galway City’s literary events organisation Over The Edge, for which they will receive credit. Feedback will be given by the course Director on an ongoing basis and with the final grade. The final portfolio of each student’s writing will be graded on its imaginative skill, originality, and also on the progress s/he has made as a writer during this course.


    Week 1

    • How do we begin a work of fiction or a poem?
    • How do we use autobiography in our writing?
    • The course Director will provide participants with accessible prompts to get them writing.

    Week 2

    • How do we avoid cliché in our writing?
    • How do we ‘make it new’?
    • The course Director will provide participants with accessible writing exercises to help them make new metaphors and similes from the world around us.

    Week 3

    • How do we deal with controversial topics? Every writer has to deal with the issue of someone possibly being offended by something s/he/they has written, especially if autobiographical detail is used in the writing. The course director will give participants writing exercises which will aim to inoculate them against all such worries.

    Week 4

    • How do we know when a poem or story is finished? Editing is the making, or breaking, of every writer. The course Director will workshop participants' writing with them, and will work to give them their own editing methods which they can take away from the course. 


    Short Story

    • Mike McCormack Getting it in the Head
    • Franz Kafka Metamorphoses and other Stories


    • E.M Reapy Red Dir


    • Neil Astley Staying Alive – Real Poems for Unreal Times
    • Roddie Lumsden Identity Parade – New British & Irish Poets
    • Kevin Higgins Song of Songs 2.0 – New & Selected Poems


    • Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal

    Literary magazine

    • Skylight Poets Skylight 47


    • Susan Millar DuMars Over The Edge – The First Ten Years

    Requirements for Credits 

    1. Attendance and participation at all the scheduled talks, workshops and readings.

    2. Completion of a small collection of poems or a finished piece of fiction or memoir of roughly 5000 words.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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