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University Centre Shrewsbury’s Literature Department has created the University’s first Popular Fiction Summer School, to be held this month from Friday the 28th through Sunday, the 30th.  The festivities will begin with a roundtable on “Popular Fiction Matters” Thursday evening, 27 June, at 7:30pm. The weekend event will cover a wide range of popular fiction from the Victorians to J.K. Rowling and include topics such as dysfunctional families in the Bronte novels, Haruki Murakami’s acclaimed, A Wild Sheep Chase, Elizabeth Gaskell’s ghostly short stories and Harry Potter’s Afterlives.

“This is a weekend to celebrate books and writing with literature experts and fellow book lovers,” said Dr Lucy Andrew, Programme Leader of English, University Centre Shrewsbury. “We tried to keep the programme interesting and diverse, so there is something to touch everyone.”

In addition to the talks and seminars on popular fiction, there will be two creative writing workshops: ‘Creating a Popular Character’ and ‘Writing Young Adult Fiction.’  All of the events are led by literature experts including English lecturers from the University Centre Shrewsbury and University of Chester.

“We thought it would be wonderful to extend our popular workshops and seminars to an entire weekend,” explained Dr Andrew. “People can attend for the whole weekend or just sample those subjects in which they are particularly interested.” 

The cost of the programme has been kept to a minimum to make it as accessible as possible, with a big discount for students. The cost of the entire three days is £60 (£20 for students); the cost of individual seminars and workshops is £10 (£5 for students) and for each talk is £5 (£2.50 for each student).

To start the festivities, there will be free roundtable on Thursday night at 7:30pm entitled, ‘Popular Fiction Matters.’  A panel of local popular fiction specialists will consider what popular fiction is, how we engage with it and why it matters more than ever in the 21st-Century.    

While the programme is accessible for all, the English Department feels it could be especially helpful to A-Level English students as it will give them a flavour of what they could expect at University level and expand their fiction repertoire before school interviews and essays. 

University Centre Shrewsbury is a unique partnership between Shropshire Council and the University of Chester.  Now in its fourth year, UCS offers high quality teaching in 15 undergraduate and 9 postgraduate degrees in one of England’s finest medieval Tudor towns.  


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