The James Tait Black Prizes
The James Tait Black Prizes logo

Free online course

The University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh International Book Festival have launched a free online course linked to the James Tait Black prizes.

Couple studying in library

The four-week course entitled ‘How to Read a Novel’ will take readers on an insightful journey giving them all the tools they need to get the most out of their reading.   

The reading techniques the judges and students use will be made clearer for non-experts in the free online course.

The course will enable readers to immerse themselves in next year's fiction shortlist and gain insights from authors and judges.

Course leaders from the University’s Department of English Literature will give participants and introduction to the four key elements found in most fiction – plot, characterisation, dialogue and setting. 

Examples will be presented from an array of texts, from the classics to contemporary works. The most recent examples will be drawn from the four novels shortlisted for the James Tait Black fiction prize.

Videos, quizzes and discussions will be used to explain fundamental concepts. The Book Festival will host two workshops linking to the online course content. 

Sign up for How to Read a Novel

Participants can sign-up for the free online course.

How to read a novel

Free online courses

The course, hosted by the FutureLearn platform, is the latest in a series of open online courses called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) from the University, which to date have been taken by more than two million people.

The University offers MOOCs across a broad range of subject areas. They form part of the University's commitment to knowledge exchange and community outreach. 

Find out more about MOOCs