Longform Narratives: Preserving lives

This course invites students to read and analyse longform narratives, while unpacking the solid reporting that girds the storytelling.

They will learn how to observe a scene, glean important details, and write clearly about what they have seen. They will challenge their own assumptions by listening carefully during interviews. Students will also explore ways in which investigative journalism and personal memoir have shaped approaches to longform.

Students will have some scope to pursue independent reading and analyse longform stories on a variety of topics, published in diverse media. But to aid learning in the classroom, a unifying theme has been chosen. Preserving Lives” denotes special attention to the role of healthcare in society and the legacy of caregivers and patients. As countries readjust in the wake of a pandemic, this focus could not be more timely.

The diversity of the APU student body will enrich the classroom experience. Students will have the opportunity to swap stories about their own family’s experience with health care in their locality. They will practice conducting interviews with empathy. How can these personal experiences be grounded in broader observations about the state of health care in India? In communicating such experiences, students will grasp the importance of writing clearly for the public.

As a semester 3 elective course for BA English students, this course offers an entry point to a writing pathway” within the English electives. The emphasis on concise prose and sharpened storytelling shall prepare students for more advanced writing projects. While probing the particular health dynamics of their own cities, hometowns and villages, students shall recognize the shortfalls of current systems. But they will also be spurred to imagine a more equitable future. In time, they will nurture a humanistic sensibility that unites all English courses in the curriculum.