spring 2021
ENG-3194 Contemporary Fiction - 10 ECTS

Last changed 21.10.2020

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for courses offered in the autumn semester and 1 December for the courses offered in the spring semester. 

Exchange students and Fulbright students: 15 April for courses offered in the autumn semester and 1 October for courses offered in the spring semester.

Type of course

This course is intended for students in the master's programme in English literature and students in the master's programme in teacher education year 8-13 (lektorutdanning trinn 8-13, studieretning engelsk). This course may be taken as a single course by students who meet the admission requirements for the MA programme in English Literature.

This course fulfils the Studies in genre requirement for the MA in English literature.

Admission requirements

Bachelor's degree (180 ECTS), or equivalent qualification, in English literature, or a degree combining English literature and a closely-related discipline (minimum 80 ECTS in English). An average grade equivalent to C or better in the English coursework (80 ECTS) is required.

Application code: 9371 - Enkeltemner på masternivå (Nordic applicants).

Course content

This course takes its inspiration from a series of questions/topics debated at the Edinburgh World Writers conference first held in 1962. During a particular semester, it emphasizes one or more of the following: censorship, style versus thematic content, the future of the novel, the issue of whether or not fiction should be political, and/or the question of whether or not there is still such a thing as a 'national literature'. To explore these questions, we will consider recent critical theories, and the ways in which they help deepen our understanding of the texts on the reading list. We will also address how larger historical contexts influence form, style, and thematic concerns. These concerns may include gendered family histories, racial and ethnic conflicts and displacements, war and exile, illness, injury, and/or environmental change.

Objectives of the course

The students will obtain the following learning outcomes:


The students:

  • have an advanced working knowledge of contemporary narratives in relation to the questions the course addresses, both from a national and global perspective. These may include censorship, style versus thematic content, the future of the novel, whether or not fiction should be political, and/or if there is still such a thing as a "national literature."
  • recognize the significance of allowing a literary work to suggest relevant theoretical questions (rather than the other way around).
  • appreciate the interdependence of literary and other aesthetic issues, contemporary politics and histories, and the role of the reader in interpreting meaning in 21st century fiction.


The student will be able to:

  • articulate the broader ways in which issues in the selected 21st century narratives are relevant to their own culture, global culture, and their own lives
  • compare and synthesize the theories presented in relation to the texts of imaginative writing on the reading list
  • demonstrate their ability to relate to theoretical concepts both orally, through class participation, and in written form, in their responses and papers
  • locate, cite, and intelligently incorporate several sources into their final paper and shorter essays.

Language of instruction

Language of instruction and examination: English.

Teaching methods

The course will be taught over 13 weeks in 2-hour sessions, comprised of seminars, lectures, student presentations, and tutorials.

All courses will be evaluated once during the period of the study program. The board of the programme decides which courses will be evaluated by students and teacher each year. 


The following coursework requirements must be completed and approved in order to take the final exam:

  • Each student is required to introduce the class to a discussion topic (5-10 minutes) in a very short presentation once during the semester
  • Each student must also present his or her work in progress for the semester paper (see below) in a seminar session of about 30-45 minutes (including time for feedback and class discussion). These activities should be relatively informal
  • Students are required to attend 80% of the class sessions (after registration closes).

The teacher must approve all three work requirements before the student can submit the semester paper.

The exam will consist of:

  • One semester paper of 4500-5500 words (About 12-15 pages).

The exam will be assessed on an A-F grades scale. Grades are A-E for passed and F for failed. A re-sit examination is offered in in the beginning of the following semester in cases of grade F/Fail. The deadline for signing up for a re-sit examination is 15 January (for courses offered in the autumn semester) and 15 August (for courses offered in the spring semester). In the event of a re-sit examination, the student is allowed to submit a revised version of his/her term paper within a given deadline.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: ENG-3194