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From Dissertation to Book

This 12-week course is intended to get you on the way to publication of your monograph. 

English 601

MWP Post-doctoral fellows

Time & Place

3 blocks of 4 x 90 minute workshops

Tuesdays 1330-1500

Block 1:

Nov 2020 - Jan 2021

24 November; 1 December; 12 January; 19 January

Block 2: 

March 2021

Block 3: 

May - June 2021




Benjamin Carver

Laurie Anderson

How these sessions are organised

This 12-week course is intended to get you on the way to publication of your monograph. There are 3 blocks, each of 4 x 90-minute workshops. The first block spans the winter break (Nov. 24 to Jan.19) and focuses on the book proposal - from identifying a potential publisher to how to reframe your dissertation’s contribution into a more substantial intervention in the field. In the second block you will revise a body chapter to make it suitable in form and style for a wider scholarly audience. In the final block you will start drafting the conclusion, where you deliver the findings and the expanded argument promised in the proposal. In this block we will also look at how to ‘thread’ the final version of this argument back through the previous chapters.


Course outline

Block 1 (Nov 24, Dec 1, Jan 12 & 19: 14:00-15:30): Preparing the Proposal

First workshop: Planning—identifying an appropriate publisher and assessing the workload.

Second workshop: The Pitch (I)—how to describe the field that your book will be part of.

Third workshop: The Pitch (II)—how to expand your contribution into an argument that makes your book competitive; assessing the scale of revision needed to deliver this.

Fourth workshop: Writing the Proposal—not the most exciting writing exercise, but one that requires skill and lean prose; we will be sharing drafts in this session.


Block 2: Revising a Chapter: four Tuesdays in March, 13:30-15:00

First workshop (Tuesday 2 March): Choosing the chapter for revision and planning the work—is new reading or fieldwork required? Will there be restructuring to fit the book’s expanded argument?

Second workshop (Monday 8 March): Macro-revisions—organizing the chapter to deliver a cohesive set of local and wider arguments (with the academic field in mind)

Third workshop (Tuesday 16 March): Micro-revisions—removing the ‘dissertation signposts’ and writing in a more readable style 

Fourth workshop (Tuesday 23 March): Nuts and bolts—catching the inconsistencies that will get through a dissertation examination but aggravate an editor / reader.


Block 3 (Tuesdays 13:30-15:00, 25 May, 1, 8, 15 June): Conclusions and Beyond

First workshop: The joy of a blank page—the conclusion is a chance to adopt a fresh perspective on your subject, but what? We will look at how different academic authors have approached the conclusion.

Second workshop: Drafting: participants will share drafts of their conclusion’s opening and the closing—the last words of the book.

Third workshop: Threads—once the conclusion is (provisionally) in place, the task of threading your argument back through the chapters becomes clearer; we will look at this important editing step.

Fourth workshop: Beyond the book—we will look at how you might promote the book’s research and start building networks of readers and reviewers of your book.

Page last updated on 26 March 2021

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