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Writing Resources

The Department of English have developed a range of simple resources to help anyone improve the quality of their writing. The advice is intended not just to help with academic work but also fiction, journalism and all forms of prose.

The aim to support anyone with their writing whether they are at school, college or university or just looking to enhance their own writing.

Also included in this section is Ways of Reading a guide to getting the most from studying a text and Writing about . . .  a series of short films by academics from the Department of English giving advice and insights into writing on a range of topics.


The Basics: the Anatomy of a Good Essay - How to structure an essay and develop a readable argument for academic work.


Close reading - Advice on critically studying a text to get the most from your reading.

Constructing an Argument - How to express your ideas about a text and not just summarise the text in your assignment.

Using Criticism - How to choose and make use of literary criticism in your assignments.

Our Writers on Writing: Tips & Tricks for Writing Well - The department's staff offer their own simple pieces of wisdom for improving your writing.

 10 Stylish Suggestions for Well-crafted Prose - A selection of simple pieces of advice for enhancing the readability of any piece of prose writing.

 How to Reference your Essays - A short article on the importance of referencing and advice on the correct way to do it.

 Tempting Titles - A good title can make a piece of work stand out and make the reader want to engage with the text.


Writing Makeover Tips - Short pieces of advice to improve your writing so it is more direct, easier to read and has more impact.


10 Things To Do Before You Submit Your Essay - A final checklist to make sure your work is submission ready. 


Ways of Reading

Ways of Reading a Novel - Advice on analysing a text and moving beyond just reading the story.

Ways of Reading a Play - Tips on the special skills needed for reading works designed to be performed.

Ways of Reading a Translation - How to critically read a text that is not in your native language.

Ways of Reading a Poem - Different approches to reading poetry that can open up the text.

Ways of Reading a Film - Practical advice on the additional skills required for studying films as texts.

Writing About. . .

Writing about Writing - In this film Dr Michael McCluskey introduces the 'Writing About...' series of films. A collection of short videos from academics at the Department of English and Related Literature on various topics.

Writing about Things - In this short film Professor Helen Smith talk about how texts present themselves physically or make themselves present to the reader.

Writing about Archives - In this short video Dr Trev Broughton talks about writing on official records, like minutes and wills or private papers such as letters, diaries and manuscript autobiographies.

Writing about Jane Austen - In this brief film Dr Gillian Russell discusses writing about Jane Austen and her works.

Writing about Technology - In this short video Dr Nicoletta Asciuto talks about writing on technology within poetry and prose as part of your academic studies.

Writing about Nonsense - In this film Dr James Williams discusses approaches to nonsense writing as part of studying English Literature.


Writing about Art - In this short video Dr Alexandra Kingston-Reese discusses how writing about literature can often mean writing about images as well.

Writing about Dickens - In this short film Professor John Bowen the talks about ways of writing about Charles Dickens as a part of an academic course.

 Writing about Comedy - In this short film Dr Bryan Radley discusses writing about comedy.

 Writing about Sexuality - In this brief film Dr Hannah Roche discusses writing on sexuality and literature as a part of an academic course.

Writing about Muslims - In this short film Dr Claire Chambers talks about writing about works by Muslims in the UK and approaches to them as a part of an academic course.

Writing about Homer - In this short film Dr Jane Raisch discusses approaches to writing about Homer.

Writing about The Bible - Professor Kevin Killeen talks about ways of writing about the Old and New Testament as a part of an academic course on English Literature.

Writing about Dante - Dr Kenneth Clarke talks about studying and writing about Dante as a part of an English or English Literature course.

Writing about Vikings - In this video Dr Matthew Townend discusses writing about Old Norse poetry and sagas.

Writing about Zadie Smith - In this short film Dr Alexandra Kingston-Reese talks about writing on the subject of contemporary novelist and literary critic Zadie Smith.

Writing about the Gothic - In this short film Dr Deborah Russell discusses writing about gothic literature.