English Literature

ENGL 1851H: The Writing Life, Creative Writing

An overview of writerly inspiration, perspiration, and contemplation, this course considers the creative process that leads to literary texts within and across a variety of genres, periods, and personalities. Readings and assignments will include not only literary texts, but also essays on writing and the writing life.

Ideas and links for library resources to support your Research Essay for this course are provided here.

Two Things to Remember

Effective research requires two vital things:

  1. Look in the right place.  This means you select a database/search engine that searches the subject matter and type of publication you want to find.
  2. Use the best search terms.  Scholarly databases are most effective when you use very few search terms.  Think about which terms are essential to your topic and keep your searches simple.

Suggestions for search terms and databases are provided here.

Find Books

To find books in our library (whether they're e-books or print books), the database you search is the Library Catalogue.  This is the only database that tells you what's in our library.

If you haven't already read it, take a look at the Library Catalogue tutorial.

Subject Suggestions

To find books about an author, search for the author as a subject.  Library catalogue subject headings are uniformly presented in this format:

  • Mistry, Rohinton, 1952- --Criticism and interpretation.
  • Manguel, Alberto--Books and reading.
  • Laurence, Margaret, 1926-1987--Correspondence.

You can find these in either of two ways:

  1. Use a BROWSE and enter the last name of the author, followed by a space, then a first initital: mistry r.
  2. Use a KEYWORD SEARCH and enter the author's name: rohinton mistry or mistry rohinton.  Then select SUBJECT.

There's also a subject heading for Canadian authors:

  • Authors, Canadian--20th century--Biography.
  • Authors, Canadian--20th century--Correspondence.
  • Authors, Canadian--20th century--Diaries.
  • Poets, Canadian--20th century--Biography.
  • Poets, Canadian--20th century--Interviews.
  • Poets, Canadian--20th century--Correspondence.


Requesting Books from Bata Library

When you search the Library Catalogue you'll find e-books and print books. 

  • E-books are available from anywhere at anytime. 
    • If you're off-campus you'll be prompted for your myTrent username/password. 
    • Some e-books have a limited number of simultaneous users, so you may need to check back later if it's in use.
  • If a print books is only available at Bata Library, you have it sent to the Durham Library.
    • Click the "HOLD" button to request it.
    • It will arrive at the Durham branch within a few days, and you'll get an email message when it arrives.

Reference Books

The following Reference books are available in Durham, and may be helpful.

  • The Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature
  • Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada

Academic Skills MLA Documentation Guide

Find Articles

The process of locating scholarly articles is outlined in the online tutorial: Finding Articles (see link below).

  • First, identify suitable databases for your topic. Our suggestions are listed here.
  • Second, search the database for descriptions of appropriate articles.
  • Third, look through your results to see what might be useful,
  • Fourth, click on "Get It! Trent" to navigate to the full text of the articles you wish to read.

Search Tips

As with Library Catalogue searches, be sure to look for your author as a subject rather than an author.  You want to find articles about the author, not by the author.

  • Look for options to search for "person, about" or "author as subject".

Try both "firstname lastname" and "lastname, firstname".  E.G. "rohinton mistry" or "mistry, rohinton".

Most articles will be about their work, rather than their lives.  Browse through your results for things like biographies or interviews.

Useful Databases