Building agentive identity through second language (L2) creative writing: A sociocultural perspective on L2 writers' cognitive processes in creative composition

Yan Zhao, Peter Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the cognitive writing processes of three ESL creative writers. Adopting a sociocultural stance, it identifies the writers as social agents with particular self-perceptions and purposes behind their creative writing practices. Through interviews and think-aloud story writing sessions, the study finds that the writers' present cognitive writing processes are mediated by their previous creative literacy experiences which are embedded in particular situations and embody certain values. The discussion traces the learners' self-representational and hence idiosyncratic movement of thought emergent in immediate creative writing tasks. It argues that the practice of L2 creative writing in pedagogic contexts can be enhanced and rationalised through a deeper understanding and appreciation of how creative writing can be performed by L2 users not only for purposes of language or literacy acquisition, but also as a self-empowering tool to achieve particular social positioning and hence self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-154
Number of pages39
JournalAsian EFL Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Community of practice
  • Creative writing
  • Identity
  • Process-oriented writing research
  • Sociocultural view
  • Think-aloud writing

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