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ENGL227 Essay and Feature Writing

A practical course developing the skills of rhetoric and persuasive writing, in a variety of popular essay genres, through regular workshopping, and the reading and analysis of non-specialist texts from a variety of media.

Most of the writing we encounter on a daily basis is not what we traditionally think of as 'literature' (fiction, drama, poetry), but rather what we rather unconvincingly call 'non-fiction'. This is writing that is intended to inform and explain, amuse and argue, describe and persuade; and whilst such writing is often 'professional' (rather than 'creative'), we often overlook the obvious fact that the best of it is read for the same reason as literature: that is, for pleasure. This paper will focus on the rhetoric of prose and on writing (and reading) in the range of non-fiction genres, including travel writing, profiles, argument and polemic, autobiographical reflection, social and political commentary and reviews (books, film, music, etc.). That being said, students have a great deal of choice about their precise subject matter. The paper assumes competence in writing in English, including grammar and construction, and it is strongly recommended that students have successfully completed ENGL 127.

Paper title Essay and Feature Writing
Paper code ENGL227
Subject English
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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One 100-level ENGL paper (excluding ENGL 126) or 36 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Teaching staff

Convenor and Lecturer: Assoc Prof Paul Tankard

Paper Structure
  • Lectures on rhetorical issues
  • Workshopping/peer review of work for assessment
  • Eight weekly assessments requiring writing in a variety of specified genres (on topics of students' choosing)
  • Two final essays
All assessment internal
Teaching Arrangements
  • 13 weekly lectures, including two in-class assessments
  • Eight workshops/seminars
  • One individual consultation per student with tutor

Course reader online through eReserve.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • Experience writing in a variety of non-fictional sub-genres
  • Become aware of the mindset and skill set to be deployed in writing pleasurable prose
  • Learn and practise various rhetorical strategies
  • Develop and exercise an informed and critical judgement in and of their own and each other's writing
  • Produce a folio of polished personal writing

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-14, 16-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 10-14, 16, 18-20
A2 Thursday 11:00-12:50 10-14, 16, 18-20