[Ashlee Simpson: Autobiography (2007)]


Description: Assignment 1: Journal Entries
Date due: Week 6, Monday 8 April, 2013.
Worth: 20%
Minimum Length: 1500 words

Description: Assignment 2: Short Writing Exercises
Date due: Week 9, Thursday 3 May, 2013.
Worth: 30%
Minimum Length: 3 x 1 page

Description: Proposal for Major Project
Date due: Week 10, Thursday 10 May, 2013.
Worth: -
Minimum Length: 1 page

Description: Assignment 3: Major Project
Date due: Friday, 7th June, 2013 (after Queen's Birthday Weekend)
Worth: 40%
Minimum Length: 10 + 1 pages

Description: Participation
Worth: 10%
Consisting of: attendance / exercises / contribution to discussion


All the work you hand in should adhere to the following guidelines:
  • Typed: computer printouts, electric or manual typewriters are all acceptable; handwritten work is not.
  • 1½ or double-spaced text.
  • Written on one side only of A4 sheets
  • 12 or 14-point type: smaller or larger is unacceptable
  • Margins at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) all around (including top and bottom)

Submit assignments either in the Assignment slot on level 2 of the Atrium building, or directly to your tutor during the workshop.

[William Wolff: The Oral History Interview (2009)]

Assignment Details:


Your journal entries should discuss:

EITHER ONE of the following books or films:

  • Running in the Family, by Michael Ondaatje
  • The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
  • La Vie En Rose (movie)
  • Banana in a Nutshell, (movie) written and directed by Roseanne Liang
  • In Spring One Plants Alone, (movie) written and directed by Vincent Ward
  • Rain of the Children, (movie) written and directed by Vincent Ward
  • Hone Tuwhare: A Biography, by Janet Hunt
  • Summertime, by J. M. Coetzee
  • Book Book by Fiona Farrell
  • Trust: A True Story of Women and Gangs, by Pip Desmond
  • The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
  • The Social Network (Movie)
  • The Comforter by Helen Lehndorf (poetry)

OR FOUR of the chapters/extracts from the anthology (the ‘Three Vignettes’ count as ONE chapter)

Your discussion should be arranged as a journal: that is, in a series of entries written over a number of days or weeks including personal responses to the texts you’re reading/viewing, as well as other events in your thinking and daily life which seem relevant.

You should include vivid and detailed comments on how the book or movie is structured and how it handles the problems and challenges of life writing what readers/viewers it is directed to, as well as any other aspects that most interest you.

This assignment is designed to make you more self-aware both as a reader and a writer – the aspects you comment on will help you to make choices in your own writing. Include References in APA or MLA style (available on line).

Approaches to Assignment 1

The Journal Writing assignment is designed to demonstrate how your reading intersects with other aspects of your life and how your life informs your understanding of what you are reading.
Each of the four entries should present an idea inspired by a text in the Book of Readings for the course, then illustrate that idea and make a deduction about it. You are welcome to make links between your entries.
  • You should begin by declaring the pretext for writing each journal entry. What was it that you noticed in a text from the course anthology that you wanted to write about?
  • What is an association that you can bring to that idea drawn from your own life experience?
  • What is a deduction that can be made from the observation and association?
 An effective journal entry needn’t draw a conclusion, but the associations need to link together in a way that is apparent to the reader.
If you choose to write about a single book or film from the list in the Admin Guide (p.12), be careful to avoid writing a 1500 word critical essay. You will still need to structure your assignment in journal form; interweaving observation of the text with ideas from your own life and making a deduction.


Hand in what you consider your THREE best writing exercises. They can be either in the raw form you presented them at the workshop, or rewritten in accordance with the suggestions made there.

A one-page description of your project for discussion in class or with your tutor. The proposal is due in class in Week 10.

Present 10 pages of autobiographical or biographical writing (accompanied by a one-page account of what you are trying to achieve and what parts of your work please you most.)

In some cases the project will be 10 continuous pages, in other cases it might be, for example: 3 sections of a childhood memoir, 4 feature articles, the script for one section of a radio documentary or a sequence of 10 poems.


Your grade will be based on three considerations, each equally weighted:
  1. Attendance: Perfect attendance will give you a third of the mark. Absences will cost you marks.
  2. Participation: The more constructively and consistently you take part in class discussion and activities, the more easily you will earn these marks.
  3. Preparation: Coming to class with the materials required for each session.

There will be a lot of demands made on your organizational abilities in this course. Think ahead, and come prepared.

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