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Songs of Love and Hate: On Leonard Cohen

Featuring: Video Video
Songs of Love and Hate: On Leonard Cohen Creative commons image By By jonl1973 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/chigley/2682089366/) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 15 Nov 2016
After Leonard Cohen's death, Richard Danson Brown explores the way the songwriter specialised in conveying difficulties in father-son relationships...

25th International Radio Playwriting Competition

25th International Radio Playwriting Competition Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 07 Nov 2016
The only global competition for radio playwrights. Find out more about 2015-16's event and explore drama and dramatists with OpenLearn.

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month Copyrighted image Copyright: Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
Introductory level Duration 1 hour Updated 01 Nov 2016
Could you write a novel in a month? National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenges you to write 50k words in November. Get a head start...

Neil Gaiman on his inspirations as a fantasy author

Featuring: Video Video
Neil Gaiman on his inspirations as a fantasy author Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 31 Oct 2016
Author, Neil Gaiman, discusses how PL Travers (author of Mary Poppins) and Enid Blyton were both a catalyst for his love of fantasy fiction. 

Dame Stella Rimington on John le Carré

Featuring: Video Video
Dame Stella Rimington on John le Carré Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 31 Oct 2016
British author and former Director General of MI5, Dame Stella Rimington, tells us why she thinks John le Carré is the master of the spy...

Val McDermid on celebrity villains in crime novels

Featuring: Video Video
Val McDermid on celebrity villains in crime novels Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 12 Oct 2016
Val McDermid talks about her inspirations for the monstrous character of Jacko Vance in 'Wire in the Blood' and how celebrity is the new lord of...

Quiz: Create your perfect whodunit

Featuring: Activity Activity
Quiz: Create your perfect whodunit Copyrighted image Copyright: © Philcold | Dreamstime.com - Crime Novel
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 11 Oct 2016
Could you give Miss Marple or Poirot a run for their money? Answer our quiz questions to find out your perfect whodunit plot and which crime...

Quiz: Create your perfect spy

Featuring: Activity Activity
Quiz: Create your perfect spy Creative commons image © Sarah Hipwell | Dreamstime.com - Spy Agent under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 11 Oct 2016
Think you could be the next John Le Carre or Ian Fleming? Take our quick quiz to determine the characteristics of your perfect spy. 

Quiz: Create your perfect fantasy world

Featuring: Activity Activity
Quiz: Create your perfect fantasy world Copyrighted image Copyright: © Unholyvault | Dreamstime.com - Fantasy landscape with a castle
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 11 Oct 2016
Inspired by the likes of J K Rowling or are you totally bewitched by witches and mythical creatures? Take this speedy quiz to find out what...

Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes

Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Updated 11 Oct 2016
Andrew Marr deconstructs detective fiction, fantasy epics and spy novels - the books we really read. He unpicks their conventions to show how...

Free OpenLearn courses.
OU course extracts and exclusive free courses

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Writing what you know

Free Course Free Course Featuring: Audio Audio
Writing what you know Copyrighted image Copyright: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 8 hours Updated 25 Aug 2016
Do you want to improve your descriptive writing? This free course, Writing what you know, will help you to develop your perception of the world...

Start writing fiction

Free Course Free Course Featuring: Audio Audio
Start writing fiction Copyrighted image Copyright: Used with permission
Introductory level Duration 12 hours Updated 13 Jun 2016
Have you always wanted to write, but never quite had the courage to start? This free course, Start writing fiction, will give you an insight into...