Biography and Autobiography

Subject CWRI30013 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2.5-hour workshop per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

CWRI20011: Diaries, Journals and Autobiography

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Elizabeth (Liz) McFarlane

Subject Overview:

Students will survey historical and contemporary pieces of autobiography and biography, reading critically for both narrative techniques such as structure, voice, point of view, and style, and cultural/theoretical views on ideas such as subjectivity and othering. Students will read essays on memory, writing the self, and writing the other alongside creative writing. Research practices such as interviewing skills, archival research and genealogical research will be investigated in the production of a folio of original autobiographical and biographical writing.


On completion of the subject students should have:

  • the ability to apply advanced theoretical, aesthetic and analytic skills to interpreting critical and creative texts;
  • the ability to tackle new problems with the production of biography and autobiography with confidence and openness to contemporary artistic directions;
  • a sound working knowledge of the history and contemporary directions of the genres;
  • the ability to plan feasible creative projects for a given time-frame and word length;
  • the ability to use structure and style with economy and power across the genres of biography and autobiography;
  • the ability to participate effectively in group discussions and collaborative learning;
  • the ability to demonstrate an understanding of the wider public significance of their knowledge and skills.

An oral presentation in response to a weekly topic (10%) done during the semester, a 3500 word folio of creative writing consisting of one piece of autobiographical writing OR one piece of biographical writing including a 500 word analysis (90%) due in the examination period. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 80% attendance and regular participation in workshops. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Students must advise the subject coordinator which form of assessment (Biography or Autobiography) they will submit.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • through critical and appreciative reading followed by presentations and group discussions, will acquire advanced skills in critical thinking and analysis, thinking creatively, openness to new ideas and the ability to communicate thoughts and knowledge;
  • through producing assignments as creative writing and critical essays will acquire advanced skills in written communication, time management and planning and practices and ethics in the field of creative writing.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Creative Writing
Creative Writing
Creative Writing
Creative Writing Major

Download PDF version.