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.
Explore by author
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.
Browse the site
Ten-Minute Book Club
The Ten-Minute Book Club is a new way to enjoy literature that is designed to spark rich conversations about reading.
It aims to make a great conversation about literature possible, and to offer a quick and accessible way into some of the greatest writing by extraordinary writers from all backgrounds, guided by Oxford’s expertise on exciting authors and books.
Every Friday we will post a free literary excerpt that you can read in just ten minutes. Each extract has been chosen by Oxford academics, and is paired with free resources and an introduction by an expert suggesting themes or contexts to think about as you read, by yourself or in discussion with family, friends, colleagues, or anyone else you’d like to connect with.
Explore the books
WillPlay is an interactive, AI-powered reimagining of Shakespeare’s plays for school students, created by researchers in the Faculty of English in collaboration with a local games company.
It takes the form of a social-media chat-app, with accompanying images, emojis and “stories”. In other words, it uses the visual, verbal and media language of its players to engage an educational age group which can be hard to reach. WillPlay is an active experience allowing students individually to engage and interact creatively with Shakespeare’s stories, language and characters via a familiar, accessible medium.
Through these in-scene chats, students can understand character and motivation, debate choices and interpretation, clarify language, explore contemporary context and even suggest alternative responses.
Find out more and try the Romeo & Juliet prototype
The Contagion Cabaret is an irreverent look at plagues and pandemics, past and present. Killer germs, superbugs and pestilential plagues have long fascinated writers and musicians. Join a cast of actors, scientists and literary researchers to take a long view on the crisis of the moment. From Angels in America to Mary Shelley, from obscure Victorian Medical Parlour Songs to Fascinating Aida’s Herpes Tango, The Contagion Cabaret is riddled with infectious extracts from plays, poems, journalism and music, past and present.
Visit the Contagion Cabaret website to watch the film and explore related school resources suggesting creative ways to engage with the cabaret.
Podcasts on Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation
- Who is commemoration for and why?
- How does commemoration lead to reconstruction and reconciliation?
- What is the future of commemoration?
This series of podcasts (film and audio) explore the above questions and more, such as: What role does silence play in public commemoration? What links collective memory and popular music?
The podcasts were created as part of the Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation seminar series run at the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University in 2017-18. It brought together academics from many different fields, politicians, people who have played a role in peace negotiations, and leading figures from cultural policy and the charitable sector. They were joined by novelists, poets, artists and musicians whose work marks war in some way.
Explore the podcasts on commemoration
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.
Browse the podcasts on Shakespeare
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 poetry-writing activity 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 all English Faculty podcasts