Alumni Services


MOOCs: how to read a novel

What makes a great novel? This is among the questions that will be tackled by a free online course being launched by the University and the Edinburgh International Book Festival this summer. We also have a small number of tickets for alumni to attend an exclusive event aimed at delving deeper.

How to read a novel


As part of the University’s Massive Open Online Courses, the four-week course entitled ‘How to Read a Novel’, led by academics from the University’s Department of English Literature, will take readers on a journey through fiction. Drawing on examples from a range of texts including the four shortlisted novels for this year’s James Tait Black Prizes, participants will look at the building blocks of modern fiction – plot, characterisation, dialogue and setting.

Find out more and enrol


To coincide with the MOOC, the Edinburgh International Book Festival will host two workshops to delve deeper into the subject matter. Participants will take a closer look at the work of several of the James Tait Black shortlisted authors who will be joined in discussion by course author Dr Alex Lawrie.

There are still tickets available for the workshop on Monday 14 August:

Buy tickets

Exclusive alumni event

The workshop on Sunday 13 August, featuring Jo Baker, is sold out. However,  we have secured a number of tickets especially for alumni. This will include an exclusive pre-workshop reception at the Book Festival.

If you have signed up for the MOOC and you would like to book this exclusive alumni event please click this link:

Book your place

Related links

MOOCs at the University

The James Tait Black Prizes