English - Free topic C: The Contemporary Novel

Course content

This 15 ECTS course, co-taught by Helene Grøn and Christina Lupton, is focused on the reading of recent fiction.  Students will read recent North American fiction alongside novels by British authors. The course will be divided into sections that addressing questions of 1) nation, the state and the institution 2) identity, sexuality and gender and 3) place and the changing environment.  As well as asking what novels can contribute to these areas of awareness, we’ll be asking what means for a work to be contemporary – and how fiction can hope to capture the qualities of a period as turbulent and divisive as our own.  All the readings in this course are tried and tested page-turners, guaranteed to make you stay up at night reading.  As we move through the material, students will be encouraged to develop and research angles of their own interest in contemporary British and American society and will be given research support and feedback on essays before their final presentation.


Torrey Peters, Detransition Baby

Madeleine Miller, Song of Achilles

Anna Burns, Milkman

Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun

Ben Lerner, Topeka School

Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room

Andre Alexis, Fifteen Dogs

Teju Cole, Open City

Ali Smith, Spring

Margareth Elphinstone, A Sparrow’s Flight

Sarah Moss, Ghost Wall

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 1, Free Topic 2 and Free Topic 3.

Continuous feedback during the course
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline June 2nd 2023
Type of assessment details
• 5-7 page essay due in week 4 of the course, for ¼ of your final grade.
• 5-7 page essay due in week 10 of this course, for ¼ of your final grade.
• A presentation that refers to at least 2 novels in a joint student conference on the last day of the course. Synopsis, research questions, bibliography, powerpoint presentation etc. must be uploaded before the final day of the conference. The presentation + uploaded material will make up ½ of your final grade.
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

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


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester


Dette er et dagkursus via tompladsordningen mod betaling på Åbent Universitet. Tilmeld dig og se aktuel prisoversigt på www.aabentuniversitet.hum.ku.dk

See schedule
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinators
  • Tina Jane Lupton   (7-786d7265707974446c7971326f7932686f)
  • Helene Grøn   (12-716e756e776e37707b786e7749717e7637747e376d74)
Saved on the 31-10-2022

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