Mini Masterpieces: Prose Poetry, Micro-Memoir, Flash Fiction and More

Overview

Short-form writing – prose poetry, micro-memoir, flash fiction and creative non-fiction of up to one thousand words or fewer – has the capacity to startle and delight writers and readers alike.  

Consider this fun, fast-paced and hands-on writing workshop as the 'speed dating' of the short form: you'll spend time getting to know each genre through writing and reading, discovering the differences between them and exploring their boundaries and overlaps. 

Each day will feature a short introductory talk, and the reading and discussion of some fine published examples. This will be followed by tutor-guided writing sessions, in which you will produce your own written work each day.  

Together we'll explore techniques for distilling imagery, magnifying details and moments, and bringing out the rich essence of your chosen subjects. Some of your writing will draw inspiration from your own lived experience and memory, while other sessions will focus on locations in Oxford, deepening your connection to this amazing city. 

This course is part of the Inspiring Oxford summer school.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.

Monday
Prose poetry: as Pulitzer-prize winning poet Charles Simic said, 'It may look like prose, but it acts like a poem.' We'll explore the intentionally blurred boundaries between prose and poetry. 

Tuesday
Micro-memoirs: short-form writing pairs well with the fragmentary nature of memory. Drawing on personal experience, we'll explore a moment in time, learn how to find the story – and tell it artfully. 

Wednesday
Flash fiction: can a complete story really be told in 250, 500 or 1000 words? We'll discover how the building blocks of longer fiction are handled differently in flash – and how to structure your story to make it shine.

Thursday
Creative non-fiction: we'll take to the streets of Oxford in search of the factual and the fantastical. We'll explore how the use of literary devices in non-fiction can engage readers, and set a piece apart from writing that's purely informational. 

Friday
Workshop: on our final day together, we'll look at the fluidity of the short form, and focus on the pieces we've written during the week. You'll learn useful techniques for revising and editing, and for giving and receiving feedback. 

Field Trip
Destination: Historical guided tour of Oxford led by your tutor

Excursion Rating: Easy - up to an hour’s walk on even ground or less than half an hour’s walk on uneven/unpaved ground.

Fees

Description Costs
Fee option 1 (single en suite accom and meals per person) £2285.00
Fee option 2 (single standard accom and meals per person) £1955.00
Fee option 3 (twin en suite accom and meals per person) £2135.00
Fee option 4 (no accom; incl lunch and dinner per person) £1600.00

Funding

Please note there are no sources of funding (scholarships, bursaries, etc) available for applicants.

Payment

All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Please be aware that all payments made via non-UK credit/debit cards and bank accounts are subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

Payment terms

If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking.

If submitting an enrolment form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date.

Extended stay fee

Participants staying multiple, consecutive weeks will be charged an additional bed and breakfast fee for the cost of the Saturday night between courses.

Cancellations and refunds

1. Cancellation by you

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to inspiringoxford@conted.ox.ac.uk, or by post to Inspiring Oxford, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid. 

  • Cancellations received up to and including 30 April 2024 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2024 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2024 - no refunds will be made under any circumstances.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

2. Cancellation by us

Where there is good reason, OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course by giving you notice in writing at any time before the course is due to start. In these cases, we will endeavour to offer a transfer to another available course if practical and acceptable to you, subject to payment or refund of any difference in course fees. Alternatively, we will refund the course fees that you have already paid. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred. The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2024. If it is likely that the course may be cancelled, anyone affected will be notified by email within 7 days; if you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2024, you should assume that your course will be running. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course at short notice in exceptional circumstances that would prevent the course from being delivered e.g. tutor illness. In these rare instances, and if we are unable to find a replacement tutor, we will notify you as soon as possible and arrange a transfer to another available Inspiring Oxford course. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

3. Travel insurance

All participants must purchase travel insurance to cover the programme fee, travel costs, and any other expenses incurred. OUDCE cannot be held responsible for any costs you may incur in relation to travel or accommodation bookings as a result of a course cancellation, or if you are unable to attend the course for any other reason. 

Tutor

Ms Gail Anderson

Tutor

Gail Anderson is a writer of short forms: flash fiction, short story, creative non-fiction and poetry. Recent writing has taken first prize in the Edinburgh Award for Flash Fiction, Reflex Fiction, The Writers’ Bureau, Winchester Writers’ Festival, and the Scottish Arts Trust Story Awards. Twice shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and three times nominated for the Pushcart Prize, her work appears in journals such as Ambit, Mslexia, Popshot and The Southampton Review

Teaching methods

Participants will be taught in seminar groups of up to 16 people, teaching methods used during this course may include:

  • Short lectures/Presentations
  • Physical handouts
  • Seminars/group discussions
  • Written exercises in-class
  • Student presentations
  • Field Trip
  • Other: 

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.

Application

The deadline for registration has been extended to 15 July 2024. Please be aware that payment deadlines may also change.

Single accommodation may be booked online by clicking on the “Book now” button in the “Course details” box at the top right-hand side of the course page. 

If you would like a twin en suite room, please send us a completed enrolment form that names the other course participant you will be sharing with. Please note these rooms have limited availability.

If you experience any difficulties enrolling online please contact the Programme Administrator at inspiringoxford@conted.ox.ac.uk.

Level and demands

Inspiring Oxford is aimed at non-specialists: no prior knowledge is required, and classes are pitched at an introductory level. The courses are designed for an international audience aged 18 and over.

Accommodation

During your course you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Brasenose College, in the heart of the city in buildings overlooked by the iconic Radcliffe Camera. Please note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished and do not have air-conditioning. 

You can find out more about Brasenose by visiting their website.

The following types of accommodation are available:

  • Single en suite
  • Twin en suite: shared between participants that apply to the programme together
  • Standard single: bathrooms are shared between, on average, four participants
  • a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have lunch and dinner at Brasenose, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.

    Non-residential participants are encouraged to attend all aspects of the academic and social programme, and they have equal access to Brasenose as residential participants.
     

En suite rooms include private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet).