Great production , Shame About the Review : A short course in reviewing techniques.
Tutor: Nina Caplan, Arts editor of Time Out
Course Length : 6 weeks
Week 1 What makes a good review?
I present a selection of reviews that highlight some particular felicities/common faults, and discuss common fallacies including the notion that a good reviewer is one who agrees with you.
From this week on, students will be asked to submit a review, on a subject of their choice, each week (except where other assignments are listed). Each lesson, I will go through one or two (depending on numbers – everyone will get a turn), but they will be anonymous: only I and obviously, the writer, will know the authorship. As well as learning from others’ mistakes, this will be a way to learn what too many professional reviewers forget (at least, until they write novels): that if you’re prepared to dish it out, you should be prepared to take it.
Week 2 Alpha and Omega – the importance of beginnings and endings,
plus we rework a couple of really awful reviews (provided by me) and discuss different types of reviews, and how much knowledge a critic needs.
Week 3 The Evil 'I' – where should the reviewer be in the review?
And what about the audience – who are they and what do they want from their critic?
This week’s assignment will be to read something by the reviewers for week 4, as assigned by me
Week 4 Great reviewers:
Johnson, Hazlitt and Empson, plus a couple of personal favourites from The New Yorker
Week 5 How to get out there: putting together a portfolio and approaching editors
This week’s assignment will involve pulling together a spec portfolio (ie a note of what they’ll include, even if they haven’t got the actual review yet) and writing a hypothetical pitch letter
Week 6. A look at the portfolios and a summing up, dealing with any outstanding questions etc
For more information and start dates email