Thursday 1 June 2023

Our Future Storytellers: A Creative and Critical Writing Course

By Amirah Mohiddin


Over the past two years, I’ve worked as a tutor on several placements with The Brilliant Club, an organisation devoted to supporting less advantaged students to access higher education. More specifically, I have taught on The Scholars Programme, a programme designed for PhD students to share their subject knowledge to a small group of students to help them develop key skills, gain knowledge and the confidence to pursue higher education. The programme is structured around seven tutorials taught online or within schools alongside an opening and graduation ceremony at university. 

My PhD practice-based research interrogates on female storytelling as a form of salvation and heroism in Arabic literature with the aim of reconstructing formidable and empowering storytellers in a Young Adult fantasy novel. I was given the wonderful opportunity to design a Creative Writing course inspired by my PhD project. I called it ‘Our Future Storytellers: Reviving Old, Traditional, Classic Stories in a contemporary Form’ due to my hopes that it will serve as a starting point for future writers. 

During my time at each placement, I teach a university-style course to KS4 students for several-weeks at a time combining workshop and seminar-style methods. The course challenges and encourages the students to analyse Arabic literature as a springboard and interrogate elements of craft to hone their own Creative Writing. Further to this, the students are encouraged to reflect on their inspirations and the elements of craft they have used in their writing. At the end of the course, the students often have workshopped several or one enduring piece of writing to then use towards their final assignments which are marked on a university scale. Assessment marking follows three principal criteria: Subject Knowledge, Critical Thinking and Written Communication. 

It’s been a real pleasure to see students motivated, growing confident in their writing, and deepening their awareness as they hone their craft as the course progresses. It is especially rewarding to see the spark of inspiration and passion that the students carry forward to their final assignments, constantly striving to improve their creative pieces and understand their critical pieces. So many students grow in confidence and gain pride over the course and it’s so moving for me to see this reflected in their final assignments. 

My time on The Scholars Programme with The Brilliant Club has been invaluable. I’ve developed many skills and my motivation towards my own creative practice has been bolstered and renewed watching my students grow and enjoy themselves along the way. I initially titled my course ‘Our Future Storytellers’ because of my hopes for my students to grow as writers. It has been incredibly affirming to see that aspiration become a reality as my students continue to thrive with their new-found confidence. 

About the author

Amirah Mohiddin is a writer, a third-year PhD student in Creative Writing and a tutor with The Brilliant Club teaching her self-designed Creative Writing course ‘Our Future Storytellers.’ Her PhD research focuses on female storytelling as a form of salvation and heroism in Arabic literature with the aim of reconstructing formidable and empowering storytellers in a YA fantasy novel. Her short stories have been published in magazines, ebooks and physical books, including Dancing Bear Books, Litro Magazine, Post-mortem Press, The New Luciad and Sanroo Publishing. You can read more about Amirah's PhD on Creative Writing at Leicester here

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