The James Tait Black Prizes
The James Tait Black Prizes logo

Free online course

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

Couple studying in library

Get more from your reading

What makes a great novel? How is a novel woven together? How can we best appreciate works of fiction?

Answer these questions and more with a free online course from The University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Through How to Read a Novel you will discover four of the main building blocks of modern fiction: plot, characterisation, dialogue, and setting.

Scholars from English Literature at the University will give participants and introduction to the four key elements found in most fiction – plot, characterisation, dialogue and setting.

The course uses examples from a range of texts including the four novels shortlisted for the James Tait Black fiction prize.

You will also explore the formal strategies authors use, how they came to be, and how they affect us as readers.

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

How to Read a Novel, hosted by the FutureLearn platform, is one 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