Contemporary Scottish Women's Fiction

Course Dates: 09/02/22 - 30/03/22
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
Location: Online
Explore and discuss a selection of contemporary fictional texts by Scottish women writers, including Jenni Fagan’s The Panopticon and Ali Smith’s Hotel World. We will think about key themes and issues, such as nationhood, women’s contribution to remapping the nation through its fictional imagining and relationship beyond its borders, social class, gender, sexuality, and journeys.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Book your place
In stock
Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00

Course Code: HLT171

Wed, eve, 09 Feb - 30 Mar '22

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This online literature course will introduce us to Scottish fiction and how, particularly in light of Devolution’s establishment of a Scottish Parliament (1999), there has been a burgeoning contribution of women writers making vital inroads to its literary topography. For instance, Aileen Christianson and Alison Lumsden’s (2000) seminal study, considers that women writers in Scotland have benefitted from a reconfiguration of nationhood that has seen a shift away from more traditional masculinist notions of Caledonia to a plural reimagining of nationhood, arguing ‘The breadth of work of contemporary Scottish women writers now ensures the redrawing of the literary map of Scotland’. With devolution’s decentralising of power structures from an Anglocentric-driven centre to a more peripheral Scottish hinterland, this has arguably infused Scottish culture with an increasingly confident optimistic and prolific literary output.

Thus, rather than perpetuate a homogenous literary landscape, such post-devolution diversity encourages the emergence of ‘A new cultural buzzword – Scotlands’, so enabling the fruition of ‘this pluralism and [signalling] the demise of any attempt to forge a coherent, unitary national identity’ (Carruthers & McIlvanney). In our study of four works of fiction, we consider how such national multiplicity allows for formerly excluded voices to be represented.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

During this course, a range of contemporary Scottish women’s fiction will be read. Our online classes will discuss the novels by paying close attention to important issues and themes like character, setting, narrative voice, structure, endings, relationships, and journeys. In addition, we consider ideas of nation, as well as gender, social class relations, symbolism and bildungsroman. We will discuss the differences and similarities between texts and consider how each responds to imagining alternative outlooks from the perspective of Scottish women writers.

Reading and discussion will be focussed upon the following texts: Jenni Fagan, The Panopticon; Kerry Hudson, Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma; Ali Smith, Hotel World; Zoe Strachan, Negative Space.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Have a knowledge of a range of contemporary Scottish women’s fiction
Gain an understanding of themes and issues raised within these works.
-Critically analyse these literary texts, supported with secondary reading material.
-Have a knowledge of the importance of Scottish women’s fiction’s contribution to a remapping of the nation
-Gain an understanding of the importance of Devolution in broadening and amplifying Scotland’s literary voice
-Become actively engaged in critically reading fictional works, so deepening your insight of them.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Some experience of literary study would be helpul but most importantly will be an interest in literature, and a willingness to develop your critical enjoyment of Scottish women’s fiction. Some preparatory reading will be necessary before each class, and a willingness to participate in class discussions, while also respectfully listening and responding to others is desirable.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

This class will be held in 2 hr weekly sessions over an eight-week period. Each session includes an interactive short lecture with power point and large and small group work and discussion. Class preparation in advance is required by reading the set texts and any supplementary reading provided for that session.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please purchase or borrow the following books:

Jenni Fagan, The Panopticon (Windmill Books, 2013)
Kerry Hudson, Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma (Vintage, 2013)
Ali Smith, Hotel World (Penguin, 2002)
Zoe Strachan, Negative Space (Picador, 2003)
Often books can be bought second-hand on, for instance, or

Any other material will be provided by the tutor.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please see other literature courses on our website at under History, Culture and Writing/Literature.

Fiona McCulloch

Fiona McCulloch is a Literature academic, specialising in Children’s Literature, Young Adult Fiction, Scottish Literature, Contemporary British Fiction, Women’s Writing, Victorian Literature, Twentieth-Century Literature, Cosmopolitanism, Posthumanism, and Ecocriticism. She was Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Visiting Professor of British Literature at the University of Connecticut in 2015. As well as publishing several peer-reviewed journal articles, her books include Contemporary British Children’s Fiction and Cosmopolitanism (2017), Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary British Fiction: Imagined Identities (2012), Children’s Literature in Context (2011), and The Fictional Role of Childhood in Victorian and Early Twentieth-Century Children’s Literature (2004). She also writes poetry and is published in Northwords, Mechanics Institute Review Online, Lumpen, and Dreich (forthcoming).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.