Literary Journalism

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2LA1064

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon, 2017

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Akhil Katyal (currently)

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course aims to deal with Literary Journalism, the specific genre of creative Non Fiction, opening newer possibilities for learning and experimentation for the students of creative writing. It will enable the students to draw a parallelism between creative & non creative and Journalistic & Literary-journalistic writing and allow critical probing into the complex dynamics of writing as an art-form or creative expression. The focus of this course is the intersection between journalism and literature; its aim, to encourage the students to develop a journalistic and critical understanding of the finest reportage, essays and anthologies written over the decades since its emergence as ‘New Journalism’ in the seventies. Its primary objective is to initiate the students into the complex genre of narrative non-fiction which has gained predominance in the field of creative writing. The overall structure of the course comprises a series of rigorous practice oriented writing exercises. They will be engaged both in select texts analysis as well as production of literary journalistic write-ups. There will be regular interactions with invited writers of narrative- non –fiction to provide insights to the art and craft of writing literary journalism.

Course Outcomes:

  • Disciplinary knowledge: To introduce students to Literary Journalism as a specific genre of creative Non-Fiction, initiating newer possibilities for learning and experimentation for the students of creative writing
  • Aesthetic skills and communication skills: Develop an individual portfolio of literary journalistic writing
  • Understand the history of the form of literary journalism and understand the forms of writing preferred in the Journalism industry
  • To understand and creative explore the intersection between journalism and literature

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1. (Week 1 and 2): Introduce the subject. Give an overview about the related theories and history. The course will begin with the basic premises of journalistic writing and its various aspects to deliberate upon the commonalities and differences between literature and literary -journalistic writing.

Module 2 (week 3 and 4): Text analysis. Discussion about characterization, narrative plotting, scene-setting, point of view, tone and style with select texts. Discussions about various literary productions with subtle manifestations of the literary journalistic form such as ‘Chronicle of a Death foretold’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or ‘Animal People’ by Indra Sinha would be taken into account to give the students a deeper understanding of the genre.

Module 3 (Week 5 to 11). Discussion about the techniques of writing for literary journalism- interviewing, story organization, word choice, self-editing, invasion of privacy, libel, etc.

Workshop with an invited writer and writing exercises.

Module 4 (Week 12 to 15).Insights about this inter-generic expression by discussing the philosophical and theoretical ideas related to literary journalism. Discussion about the dynamics of space, contexts, ethics etc.

Workshop with an invited writer and regular writing exercises.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Class Participation: 40% (attendance 15%; responses 15%; asking questions 10%)
  • Module 1 Writing Exercise: 15% (due 4th Sep; grades issued 10th Sep)
  • Module 2 Writing Exercise: 15% (due 25th Sep; grades issued 3rd Oct)
  • Module 3 Writing Exercise: 15% (due 23rd Oct; grades issued 30th Oct)
  • Module 4 Writing Exercise: 15% (due 18th Nov: grades issued 20th Nov

Reading List:

Selections from the following:

  • Thomas Berner, The Literature of Journalism: Text and Context (1998)
  • Norman Sims, True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism (2008) and Literary Journalism in the Twentieth Century (2008)
  • Ben Yagoda and Kevin Kerrane, The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism (1997)
  • George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant" or "Why I Write" from The Orwell Reader
  • Patsy Sims, ‘Literary nonfiction: learning by example’, Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • 21st Century Journalism in India. Ed. NaliniRajan. Sage India, 2007.
  • Pankaj Mishra, From the Ruins of Empire. Allen Lane, 2012.
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez .Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
  • Indra Sinha. Animal’s People, London: Simon & Schuster. 2007.