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How I wrote Frankenstein

How I wrote Frankenstein Copyrighted image Copyright: Production team
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 16 Jun 2016
In this extract from the preface to the third edition of Frankenstein, published in 1831, Mary Shelley explains how she came to write her most...

Why do so many children’s stories feature magical creatures?

Why do so many children’s stories feature magical creatures?
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 08 Jun 2016
Dr Dena Attar explores why children's stories are often filled with magical creatures.

The Secret Life of Children's Books

The Secret Life of Children's Books Copyrighted image Copyright: BBC
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 08 Jun 2016
This two part OU/BBC co-production looks at the secret lives of 'The Five Children and It' by E. Nesbitt and 'The Water Babies' by...

World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day Copyrighted image Copyright: Thinkstock
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 21 Mar 2016
21 March is World Poetry Day. Take a look at a range of powerful poems in our poetry prescription tool and try a range of free courses.

How a centuries-old poem hints at Shakespeare’s herbal ‘muse’

How a centuries-old poem hints at Shakespeare’s herbal ‘muse’
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 15 Mar 2016
Evidence from a poem and sonnett suggest that William Shakespeare drew at least some of his inspiration from cannabis.

World Book Day

World Book Day Copyrighted image Copyright: © Haywiremedia | Dreamstime.com - Kids Reading Books in Fantasy Library
Updated 25 Feb 2016
Calling all bookworms and budding writers! Celebrate World Book Day (Thursday 3rd March 2016) with our free resources and eBooks on OpenLearn.

We shouldn’t judge Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by its cover

We shouldn’t judge Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by its cover Creative commons image David.78 under CC-BY-2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 22 Dec 2015
Why has the absence of a Quentin Blake illustration in favour of a more grown up image on a 50th birthday edition of Roald Dahl's Charlie and...

25th International Radio Playwriting Competition

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

Star Wars VII: The use of myth

Star Wars VII: The use of myth Creative commons image Jonathan Feinberg under CC-BY-NC licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 5 mins Updated 03 Dec 2015
How does a science fiction franchise have any resonance for audiences nowadays? The use of myth helps with familiarity...

Star Wars VII: Myth and fairy tale

Star Wars VII: Myth and fairy tale Creative commons image Kristina Alexanderson under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license
Introductory level Duration 10 mins Updated 27 Nov 2015
What storytelling styles and genres can be applied to Star Wars? Sara Haslam investigates...

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 23 Mar 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 26 Feb 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...