Writers Make Worlds

Writers Make Worlds offers resources on 40 contemporary Black and Asian British writers including Patience Agbabi, Malorie Blackman, Bernardine Evaristo, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Christy Lefteri and Benjamin Zephaniah.

Contemporary Black and Asian British writing is changing how we see and read literature in English today. Writers such as Aminatta Forna and Andrea Levy, Daljit Nagra and Kamila Shamsie, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Bernardine Evaristo, have created work that fundamentally challenges prevailing ideas of British literature.

They show us that British writing is not something produced only by white English authors, but has a diverse range of backgrounds and many different histories.

The Writers Make Worlds website offers ways into exploring this exciting work.

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Explore how and why we read literature, and what happens to us when we do



Great Writers Inspire

This collection of freely available literary resources is aimed at students from sixth-form to university, their teachers, and at lifelong learners. It contains lectures, eBooks and contextual essays for reuse by individuals and the educational community. Resources could be included in course packs, browsed for extended project work or in preparation for university study, or set as additional reading around specific central texts.

All the resources are Open Educational Resources available free for use in education worldwide under the  Creative Commons license

You can search by writer or different themes, such as Feminist Approaches to Literature, Modernism, Biography and Life-writing, and First World War poetry.

There are over 90 authors who feature in the resources, covering a wide range of genres and periods, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Wilfred Owen, Virginia Woolf and Charles Dickens.

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Approaching Shakespeare

Approaching Shakespeare is a series of audio podcasts within Great Writers Inspires by Professor Emma Smith on Shakespeare’s plays. Each lecture in the series focuses on a single play by Shakespeare, and employs a range of different approaches to try to understand a central critical question about it.

Rather than providing overarching readings or interpretations, the series aims to show the variety of different ways we might understand Shakespeare, the kinds of evidence that might be used to strengthen our critical analysis, and, above all, the enjoyable and unavoidable fact that Shakespeare's plays tend to generate our questions rather than answer them.

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Poetry writing activities

Writer Kate Clanchy created a series of filmed poetry activities which aim to inspire and support creative poetry writing in schools. The exercises work particularly well in multicultural schools where pupils speak many different languages and help to demonstrate how languages can be used as a tool for creativity.

The activities were devised by writer Kate Clanchy and supported by the Prismatic Translation strand of the Creative Multilingualism research programme, led by Professor Matthew Reynolds.

Watch the films



Examples of nineteenth-century non-fiction texts

The new 9-1 GCSE specifications set great store by nineteenth-century writings, both in the literature and language papers of all specifications. This poses a particular problem to today’s GCSE candidates who are increasingly distanced from the socio-cultural norms of the nineteenth-century, not to mention the idiosyncrasies of Victorian modes of expression!

It is not hard to find plentiful examples of nineteenth-century fiction to use as extracts in the classroom, but what about non-fiction? AQA – the most popular specification among schools – has an unseen 19th century literary non-fiction extract as part of Paper 2 (the exam which constitutes 50% of the qualification as a whole)

To help teachers, we here provide a range of sample texts from primary sources which fit within our research project’s themes. All of them are taken from the database we will eventually make available online, so teachers can also have access to further ideas as to nineteenth-century periodicals. The extracts we offer are formatted (as far as possible) as they would appear in an AQA exam script: in 11pt Arial font, with a brief introduction to the source and a glossary of vocabulary students couldn’t be expected to know.

These resources were produced by the Diseases of Modern Life project, please visit their  website to find out more.

Access a selection of nineteenth-century non-fiction texts



English Faculty podcasts

Explore over 300 podcasts by our leading academics on many fascinating topics, such as Modern Fairies, Medieval English, Poetry with Simon Armitage, and War and Representation.

Browse the podcasts