How to make a cup of tea

Much of this module is about writing – how we make sense of material we read, develop our own ideas from it, and express those ideas in our own words. We are encouraging you to write well and clearly. Good writing is not about using long words and complicated sentences. Good writing is about clarity. This is something that many academics are appalling at – but that is another issue!

So to help you understand what good writing is, here are three examples by three of the greatest writers in the English language, all on the same theme: how to make a cup of tea. This is a question that the British are often obsessed with, so if you are new to the UK then you may find this illuminating.

George Orwell (pictured above) was one of the 20th century’s greatest British writers, an essayist, novelist and acute observer of culture. A committed socialist, his politics infuses much of his writing. His short essay A Nice Cup of Tea is a masterclass in clear writing and is often held as one of the most erudite pieces of writing about a craft.

Christopher Hitchens, who died in 2011, was a British American writer and hugely influential journalist. His views on politics and religion are challenging, but were always argued with an exactitude.  As an ex-patriate Brit living in New York, both his English accent and passion for tea became defining aspects of his identity. Here he explains How to Make a Decent Cup of Tea, citing Orwell and John Lennon in the process.

Although he died over a decade ago, Douglas Adams remains a highly influential author, dramatist and humorist. Like Hitchens, a radical atheist and tea drinker, whose contribution to the tea drinking advice is simply entitled Tea.

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