English in a Flash: Creative Writing of Short-Short Texts

Course content

This course combines literary studies, creative writing and advanced English language practice. You will be introduced to one of the most popular contemporary literary genres: the short-short. We will read selected examples of its three forms: flash fiction, prose poem and brief essays in order to observe how such very short texts (from 750 to 6 words) use language to suggest larger narratives. We will read as writers, that is, we will treat short-shorts as our master texts. To understand better their literary and linguistic qualities (for example, their use of scene and summary, voice, figures of speech), we will explore the connection between good reading and good writing. We will write our own shorts to experiment with various writing styles in English.


By the end of the course you will:

  • become familiar with contemporary English-language writers who work with the short-short forms
  • increase your linguistic awareness as a reader of literary texts
  • learn to incorporate the lessons of reading into your own writing
  • expand your repertoire of writing techniques and strategies
  • gain experience in giving and taking constructive criticism
  • improve your reading, writing and speaking skills in English

Workshops that incorporate class discussions and small group discussions in response to readings; presentations, writing and peer review; independent reading (reading like a writer) and writing (writing tasks inspired by read texts); assembling a portfolio, which documents the student’s progress throughout the course.

Selected works by outstanding authors working within the short-short genre: flash fiction, prose poetry and flash nonfiction by such writers as Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Lia Purpura, Barry Lopez, Rosmarie Waldrop, Charles Simic; essays by practitioners who discuss their craft; chapters from studies considering literary aspects of short-short forms (e.g. The Rose Metal Press Field Guides to Writing: Flash Fiction, Prose Poetry, Flash Nonfiction; ‘Craft Essays’ on Brevity or Creative Nonfiction websites)

Type of assessment
(drafts of) 9-10 written assignments before a set deadline, which may include:
• 3 reviews (max. 2 pages) which discuss one literary or linguistic point of interest in 3 texts (one from each genre) selected from the reading list
• 3 journal entries (max. 2 pages) written as response to the craft essays read during the course
• 3 texts (max. 2 pages each; with all their drafts) which represent the most publishable material from the student’s creative writing
• 1 journal entry (max. 4 pages) discussing the re-writing process (goals, composition strategies, response to relevant feedback from peers and tutor)
• 3 peer reviews of written material

Single subject courses (evening/weekend)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • English
  • 409,5