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General Creative Nonfiction Workshops
General Creative Writing Workshops
"Workshop: Nonfiction Places and Spaces." | Barrie Jean Borich | Eng 484 | DePaul University
The most compelling nonfiction subjects are located somewhere, beholden to places and spaces it takes all our senses to describe. How do personal and lyric essayists, memoirists and literary reporters use location to: ponder the relationships between memory, landscape, politics and identity; explore issues of immigration and exile; scrutinize loyalty to home and places of origin; embrace or reject some ground they can't forget? In this workshop we write, critique and revise new writing as we consider the work of a few creative nonfiction writers whose stories, immersions and inquiries are bound to public and private landscapes and whose works attempt to describe, explore, question and honor the hard-to-pin-down aspects of place and space.
"Graduate Nonfiction Workshop." | Joy Castro | Eng 7450 | Vanderbilt University
This course in reading and writing creative nonfiction will explore issues of craft and ethics in relation to a genre that oscillates explicitly between self and world: the essay.
"Writing Creative Nonfiction." | Kelly Daniels | ENCW 203 | Augustana College
"Intermediate Creative Nonfiction: Workshop." | Sarah Einstein | Eng 3950 | Ohio University
The primary goal of this class is to provide you with a supportive workshop experience within which you can experiment with different genres within creative nonfiction and build a portfolio of work, at least one piece of which should be ready for submission to literary journals, to introduce you to working writers in the genre, and to give you the opportunity to participate in the literary community.
"Creative Nonfiction." | Melissa Frederick | CRW 7145 | Rosemont College
In this course, we will explore the craft of nonfiction, both in our own writing and in the works of published authors. Focusing on the three most common subgenres (memoir, literary journalism, and 3 personal essay), we will examine the practical aspects of the field—what techniques are being used, how a piece is put together, what narrative voice gives the piece an intimate quality and what sounds more like navel-gazing—as well as debate some of the gray areas that are bound to appear whenever any of us tries to put “the truth” into words.
"Creative Nonfiction: Exploring the Personal Essay." | Charlie Green | Eng 2890 | Cornell University
In Exploring the Personal Essay, we will read and write personal essays, exploring the various possibilities within the genre: the memoir essay and the contemplative essay, among others. We will explore the power of image and specific detail, the uses and limits of persona, and the boundary between public and private. Reading will include David Sedaris, James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, and others; we will also pay close attention to the students’ writing. Working through drafts, students will develop fuller skill at criticism and revision.
"Creative Nonfiction Writing." | Silas Hansen | Enl 306 | Ball State University
This class is an intensive study in the craft of writing creative nonfiction. In this course, you will read a great many published essays with a focus on identifying and evaluating the effectiveness of various craft techniques. You will then practice these craft techniques in weekly writing exercises, write and significantly revise your own essays, and read and critique your classmates’ work. You will read, write, share your writing, and talk about what you’ve read and written in each and every class.
"Explorations to the Fringes of Nonfiction." | B.J. Hollars | Eng 412/612 | Univ of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
English 412/612 will focus on writing and reading nonfiction, with an emphasis on producing several essays of near-publishable quality for a general, literate audience. While this class will discuss a range of nonfiction components (plot, setting, conflict, etc.) we will pay particularly close attention to “the fringes of nonfiction”; that is, innovating the essay form via structure, language, content and various other techniques.
"Creative Nonfiction." | Sonya Huber | ENW 306 | Fairfield University
This course builds upon the exploratory and craft techniques learned in Creative Nonfiction. Moving from the survey of writing choices presented within the umbrella of Creative Nonfiction, we will focus specifically on the techniques of immersion and experimental memoir to learn and practice advanced options for portraying the self and others in nonfiction. We will discuss techniques, ethical choices, and possibilities surrounding the creation of nonfiction. In addition, you will engage in the full process of producing a creative work from brainstorming to writing to receiving feedback and revising. You will examine your own interests for possible subject matter and conduct research and inquiry into topics less familiar to you. I hope we will develop a community of creative writers who will be able to give respectful and helpful comments on one another's work.
"Creative Nonfiction Writing." | Marissa Landrigan | ENGWRT 500 | Univ of Pittsburgh--Johnstown
The course will function partly as a seminar in creative nonfiction and partly as a workshop. This means we will read a lot, and we will write a lot. For part of each unit, we read and discuss important works of contemporary creative nonfiction in an effort to formulate an understanding of the genre. Most of these readings will be followed by in-class writing prompts designed to jumpstart your own mind-engines. These prompts will lead us into writing three proto-essays, which will be shared and critiqued by your peers. After extensive practice in giving and receiving critical response, the semester will culminate in revision, expansion and development of those proto-essays into three full-grown essays capable of driving cars, paying bills, and moving out of their parents’ basements. Your final portfolio is your artifact of the semester, your own Cheshire-grinning version of what it means to tell the truth, but tell it slant.
"Narrative Nonfiction (Advanced)." | Marissa Landrigan | ENGWRT 1058 |Univ of Pittsburgh--Johnstown
Over the course of the semester, we will grapple with the questions fundamental to this fuzzy hybrid genre. What is a fact? What is the truth? How can a nonfiction writer conduct research without succumbing to the Heisenberg principle? How can we shape the plot arc of a story and develop compelling characters without sacrificing our journalistic integrity? What stories do we have a right to tell? What stories do we have an obligation to tell? We will discuss the role of the narrator and the ideology of objectivity. We will learn and practice the imaginative writing techniques of the novelist alongside the research strategies of any good journalist, and we might, if Hunter S. Thompson is any indication, drive ourselves a little crazy.
"Writing Capstone." | Cathy McMullen | Eng 489 | Concordia College
The theme for the course is research in creative writing; we will explore how writers bring depth, context, credibility and texture to their work through research. This capstone is comprised of two types of building blocks. The first is a solid portfolio of creative work; each of you should leave this class with a portfolio containing your best, most polished work—stories, poems or essays that are ready to be published or sent to graduate-program selection committees. The second material is an intellectual or scholarly understanding of your genre. This will be contained in a roughly 2,500-3,000-word essay, in which you discuss some specific aspect of creative writing.
"Creative Nonfiction Writing." | Robbie Maakestad | Eng 399 | George Washington University
In order to create an introduction to the craft, terminology, and techniques of creative nonfiction, we will pursue these learning goals: (1) Further our knowledge of both the craft and art of writing creative nonfiction; (2) Gain an understanding of how to apply nonfiction craft elements such as “Eye vs. I,” major dramatic questions, and lyricism; (3) Further an understanding of and ability to utilize general writing craft elements such as point of view, voice, story arc, dialogue, description, and scene/summary; (4) Grow in our knowledge of creative nonfictions subgenres: memoir, personal essay, narrative journalism, flash essay, lyric essay, essay of place, and portrait essays; (5) Endeavor to explain how creative nonfiction works as both readers and writers. By studying literature as a writer – considering it as a craft as well as an art – we will come to a better understanding of what goes into creation of that literature; (6) Work together in small-group workshops, and individually after those workshops, in order to explore and practice the discipline of revision.Together, these learning goals allow us to see writing as a process of art, craft, and discipline, which will benefit not just our ability to write creatively in this course, but also our ability to meet the creative and critical demands required of us in the future.
"Creative Nonfiction Workshop." | Amy Monticello | Eng 371 | Suffolk University
In French, the word essai means “to try.” Personal essays, then, attempt to make meaning of our life experiences, and to situate those experiences within a larger cultural, historical, and humanist framework. Though our stories may happen specifically to us, in telling them we reach across the arbitrary divides between ourselves and the rest of humankind. Our stories are part of human universalism and literary tradition. And our “attempts” to tell them as such involve making important choices as writers in terms of craft. To those ends, we will study the history and craft of the personal essay, short memoir, literary journalism, and lyric essay through model and instructive texts, and we will write our own essays to converse with those models. A combination of craft analyses, short-form essays, and workshop letters will contribute to your grade in the course.
"Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction." | Dinty W. Moore | Eng 3950 | Ohio University
This is an advanced workshop in the reading and writing of nonfiction literary prose – commonly called creative nonfiction. The course will begin by exploring the flash form in nonfiction and the importance of detail and scene. Students will read widely and write a number of their own essays.
"Creative Nonfiction Workshop." | Michele Morano | MCW 461-50 | Northwestern University
Telling true stories, and in the process grappling with what “true” means and where meaning resides, can be a thrilling, daunting, and artistically complex act. In order to help you generate and craft material in the most effective way, I have organized this course around several subgenres of creative nonfiction, from memoir to travel writing to profiles to personal/political essays. Studying the structures and techniques of published works in these subgenres (which often overlap), will help you choose appropriate angles from which to tell your own stories. Along the way, we will identify and discuss and practice many of the essential skills of creative writing in general.
"Nonfiction Writing/Advanced Nonfiction Writing." | W. Scott Olsen | Eng 377/477 | Concordia College
This is a combined seminar for students just entering the nonfiction sequence and for students who have a bit more experience. We will work toward refining our understanding of contemporary nonfiction, its place in contemporary letters, and we will work toward developing our skills and insights as authors. We will spend the majority of our time reading the published work of contemporary authors as well as the work-in-progress of our classmates. We will attempt, through a frequent use of an in-class workshop, to articulate our trials as authors and our needs as readers.
"Writing Nonfiction: Popular Culture." | Dan Roche | CMM 397 | LeMoyne College
This is a writing class in which the subjects can range from Dancing With the Stars to the Twilight series, from hip hop to Facebook, from ESPN to DKNY, from Disney World to Howard Stern—in other words, anything associated with commercial culture and all its trappings (movies, TV, radio, cyberspace, advertising, toys, games, etc.). You will be able to pursue your own subjects, as we read and practice the three primary ways in which people write nonfiction about popular culture: journalism, personal essays, and criticism. Our primary goal is to get better at producing nonfiction prose that is vivid, entertaining, and thoughtprovoking.
"Creative Nonfiction Workshop" | Jenny Spinner | Eng 343 | St. Joseph's University
The primary objective of this course is to immerse you in the world of creative nonfiction, a genre with limitless possibilities in terms of style, technique, and form. We’ll begin with a history of the genre and a study of its various labels and subgenres that often leave many readers (and even its practitioners) confused about basic definitions of the form, all the while acknowledging that these very labels are themselves fluid. What we’ll learn, however, is that no matter what you call it, there really are only two non- negotiable requirements for creative nonfiction: that it be good and that it be true (enough?). Not all creative writing is good writing, yet ultimately the goal for most of us is to write pieces that touch others with their language, experiences, connections and/or thoughts. What, then, we will ask of our readings and writings for this class, constitutes good creative nonfiction? And how can we, as writers, get there? Then there’s truth, so slippery that even though creative nonfiction is rooted in fact (whose fact? to what degree?), much is left up for debate among writers and readers of the genre. Again, through our readings and your writing, we will explore that debate, as well as other ethical issues inherent in a genre of true (how true? whose truth?) stories. We will also investigate and experiment with technical devices—character, dialogue, scene, tone, voice, structure—that are as important to creative nonfiction as they are to fiction. We’ll talk about the importance of, and the intricacies of, research in creative nonfiction, and you’ll learn how to conduct research for your own creative endeavors. Your reading and writing of the creative nonfiction genre this semester is not meant to be exhaustive, but it will be intensive. By the end of the semester, we will have read a number of contemporary writers of the form as well as examined some of the common places where creative nonfiction is published, read, promoted, and debated. Finally, you will continue to refine your experiences as a participant—both as a reader and as a writer—in the writing workshop, and we will discuss ways to offer effective critiques of our peers’ work as well as to incorporate critique, external and internal, in revisions of your work.
"Advanced Article & Essay Workshop." | Ned Stuckey-French | ENC 4311 | Florida State University
This is a course in the writing of creative nonfiction. Because creative nonfiction is a large and unwieldy genre, we will focus within it on the personal essay and because it’s summer and our time is short and accelerated, we will focus on writing fairly short essays. We will begin to explore the range and flexibility of this form in discussions of our own work and that of published essayists. Everyone in the class will also be part of a small group, which will be responsible for leading workshop for one of four weeks and for selecting copy for inclusion in a little magazine, which they will turn in the last week of class.
"The Personal Essay." | Deborah Thompson | E 641 | Colorado State University
This course is designed to explore the range, possibilities, and perils of this sometimes unnervingly flexible form. Students will both read and write a range of personal essays and will learn how to talk critically and appreciatively about essays at many stages of formation, from first draft to published (and presumably “finished”) pieces.
"Graduate Workshop--Nonfiction." | Rachel Toor | CRWR 517 | Eastern Washington University
We will be reading and writing fact-, thought-, and observation-based essays that use the techniques of fiction to tell compelling and true narratives. Throughout the semester we will discuss issues of craft: how to create an effective narrative arc; how to develop a sense of urgency or tension using sentence structure, syntax, and/or organization; how to use dialogue, description, and the telling detail; ultimately, we will focus on how to keep the reader engaged. We will study each other’s work as writers, looking at the decisions the creators of each piece have made and asking questions about how well those choices work; we will read the work of published writers to search for moves and tricks that we can steal and use in our own writing. We will discuss the inevitable ethical issues that arise from writing about living people, explore strategies for maintaining standards of accuracy and fairness, and dwell on the obvious and important issue of the all-too-human ways in which memory works and often fails.
"Memoir and Journal Writing." | Whitney Walters | WRIT 1006 | University of Minnesota-Duluth
This writing course is designed to introduce students to the craft of memoir and journal writing through analysis of texts in the field and practice writing the nonfiction genres. Like any other skill, the ability to write well takes time, effort, and practice. This course will help you build on the creative writing skills that you already have and shape your nonfiction writing by focusing on scene, characters, dialogue, purpose, and writing as a process, among other elements. Through the practice of close reading and critical thinking, you will additionally gain a deeper understanding of the social, historic, economic, and political milieu of a given text; the ability to provide fellow writers with thoughtful feedback; and revision strategies when writing alone. By the end of the semester, you should feel confident in your ability to write compelling, focused, and well-developed creative nonfiction.
"Writing Workshop, Prose Nonfiction." | Amy Wright | ENGL 4200 | Austin Peay State University
This course will focus on prose nonfiction—the genre that employs narrative and lyric literary devices to organize and relay information. We will read essays that use characterization, metaphor, plot development, etc. to connect readers with the exposition’s emotional effects. We will consider how brevity affects attempted revelation. We will remain open to the genre’s promise, considering the word “essay” originates in Montaigne’s French term essais, meaning an attempt or foray. We will also answer, as writers, to Strayed’s criteria for choosing the best of the Best American Essays by their ability to conclude, “As if nothing would ever be the same again.”
"Topics in Literature: Creative Nonfiction Classics." | Barrie Jean Borich | Eng 379 | DePaul University
Contemporary writers frequently talk about Creative Nonfiction as an evolving, genre-defying form, but the origins of this literature are quite old and extraordinarily diverse. The roots of today's creative nonfiction include a myriad of time-honored writings of witness, testimony and lyric musing that critique, confront and comment on circumstances of the actual world. In this class we read literary nonfiction works published before the contemporary use of the term “creative nonfiction.” Our focus includes: captivity and immigration narrative; personal rumination on race, identity, atrocity, justice and feminism; literary documentary and the nonfiction novel; nostalgic recollection; and meditation on the political necessity of self-naming.
"LGBTQ Memoirs" | Barrie Jean Borich | Eng 272 | DePaul University
What makes a queer life story? Are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and genderqueer memoirs merely literary selfies? Or do authors who make literature of actual queer lives help create worlds within which we all might better thrive? This course will examine the histories and contemporary forms of literary memoirs created by LGBTQ authors in post-Stonewall USA, contextualizing our reading in relation to time and location, considering both visibility and representation, and exploring queer narratives of activism, intersectionality, and self-invention.
"Exploring the World: The Global South." | Creighton Nicholas Brown | Eng 203 | University of Kansas
"Writing the South"| Jessica Handler | WRI 290 | Oglethorpe University
What does it mean to experience the American South? To be from here? To leave here? In this writing-intensive course, we will read, watch, and listen to the work of well-known and lesser- known Southern writers in order to investigate a variety of answers to these questions. Students will be expected to explore, in writing, their own ideas and experiences of the American South, and conduct written analyses of cultural representations other than their own.
"The 20th Century in the First Person: Memoir as the Literature of Witness"| Richard Hoffman | LI 615 | Emerson College
This course is predicated on the idea that a writer is, above and beyond all else, one who bears witness to his or her time. While a memoirist does not claim the apparent objectivity of a historian, the view afforded by literary artists writing memoir can often provide a more palpable sense of the impact and consequence of events than the historian’s necessarily dispassionate perspective.
"Turning the Weird Pro: The Craft of Narrative Journalism." | Amaris Ketcham | UHON 400 | Univ of New Mexico
Narrative journalism has been called gonzo, the art of hanging out, full immersion, and participant journalism. Critics have called it stunt journalism or playing tourist, but this research strategy involves introducing an experiment into your life and using yourself as a baseline to learn more about your subject, yourself, and the surrounding world. In this course, we will investigate narrative journalism through readings, writing, research and most importantly, action. Throughout this creative writing course, students will develop techniques for approaching the angle of journalistic and anthropologic assignments, such as finding the telling detail, writing profiles, covering events, and characterizing place. Students will be comfortable holding craft-based writing discussions, writing articles with narrative arcs, developing tension through scene and syntax, keeping the audience engaged with the text, acknowledging their stance within the text, and offering constructive criticism based in the goals of the piece. They will also develop a basic understanding of ethical issues involved in writing about living people and the fallibility of memory. We will work on acknowledging subjectivity, placing the journalist within the writing, conducting interviews, and reconstructing scenes, characters, and dialogue.
"Special Topics: True Passions: Nonfiction Authors on their Favorite Things." | Natalie Kusz | CRWR 539 | Eastern Washington University
This course examines the characteristics of nonfiction in which the author addresses a personal passion, fixation, or obsession. In some of the literature we’ll discuss, the passion in question is an author’s signature literary subject—food, for instance, in the case of M.F.K. Fisher—while, in others, such as Hemingway’s Death In the Afternoon (which regards bull fighting), it is a one-time nonfictive foray into an area about which, in his/her private life, the writer feels strongly. Our study will look into solitary passions, philosophical passions, and others, all the while illuminating the various voices, tones, and other craft matters which distinguish the passionate work from the laissez faire.
"Historical Creative Nonfiction" | Robbie Maakestad| UW 1020 | George Washington University
In historical creative nonfiction, writers research the past in order to inform the present. By reexamining and retelling history within the genre of creative nonfiction, writers inhabit the space between past and present, tying the two together by thinking critically on the page.Through consideration of the greater context of historical events and persons, the reader juxtaposes the past with their own life and better understands how to create meaning in the present.In this class we will read essays by Elizabeth Kolbert, John McPhee, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Joan Didion, Gay Talese, and many other writers. These readings will focus on historical events and persons and allow for discussion of the way the past informs the present. By reading researched, argument-driven historical essays and discussing them in the classroom, students will learn the rhetorical situation and see how writers use argument in historical creative nonfiction writing. Students will then apply the rhetorical situation and their own research to three historical creative nonfiction writing projects throughout the semester: a profile essay, and two researched narratives.
"Women and Writing: 19th, 20th, and 21st-century Women's Autobiography" | Micah McCrary| Eng 3060J | Ohio University
This particular course will focus on the intersection of autobiography and history, viewed especially through the lens of women's autobiography spanning three centuries. Together we will explore subjects and pose questions (specifically What can we learn about history through reading women's autobiography?) regarding the conventions of autobiography as a genre, the evaluation of history through subjective lenses, and the significance of writing through multiple time periods. Course readings include, but are not limited to, texts by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Anne Frank, and women's slave narratives.
"Explorations in Nonfiction" | Melissa Matthewson | Eng 209 | Southern Oregon University
You will be introduced to all forms of nonfiction writing: memoir, personal essay, lyric essay, travel writing, hybrid nonfiction, literary journalism, and flash nonfiction. Each week we will read celebrated nonfiction authors such as James Baldwin, David Sedaris, and Joan Didion in order to inspire us, in addition to lesserknown contemporary essayists like Jo Ann Beard, Sue William Silverman, and Eula Biss. Along the way, we will pay special attention to plot, scene, dialogue, imagery, setting, characterization, point of view/persona, research, syntax, and figurative language. We will also be reading a true crime memoir, which is a popular genre of current contemporary nonfiction.
"Literature in the Modern World: Nature Writing" | Melissa Matthewson | Eng 209 | Southern Oregon University
You will be introduced to three genres of contemporary nature writing and environmental literature. The genres we will read are poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. All texts on the course focus on the natural world and humans’ relationships with it. We will discuss such questions and topics as the following: the role of literature in how we perceive and conceptualize nature; earth as literary setting and stage but also as habitat; sense of place; mammals, birds and concepts of the morethan-human world; notions of wilderness and wilder places; settlers and nomads; observation and contemplation of nature; nature and silence; the relationship between landscape and story; ethics, environmental activism and questions of responsibility to the earth; and related topics.
"Directed Reading in Nonfiction: First Essay Collections." | Ana Maria Spagna | Eng 550 | Northwest Institute of Literary Arts
What makes an essay collection work? How closely linked do the individual essays tend to be in theme or subject? How similar in length and point of view? What qualities, if any, do first-time essayists share in common? How do new writers push the boundaries of the genre and/or how do shifting boundaries challenge the writer? We’ll read ten contemporary first-time collections in search of answers to these and other craft questions. We’ll also examine the venues where the books and the individual essays have been published to delve into differing reader expectations.
"Magazine Culture and the Modern American Essay" | Ned Stuckey-French | WRITING R6225 | Columbia University
Essays enter the canon primarily through first-year writing anthologies, where they are yanked from their historical context and used as models for this or that kind of student writing. E. B. White's “Once More to the Lake,” for instance, is a well-known and oft anthologized essay about a father and son fishing on a lake in Maine. It is generally read as a nostalgia piece and used to prompt an exercise essay about “what I did on my summer vacation,” but when it first appeared in Harper's in 1941 and was collected the following year in White’s book One Man's Meat, readers recognized it also being as a critique of isolationism and warning about the gathering clouds of war. We will begin by reading articles about the form of the essay, the creation of the essay canon, and the rise of American magazine culture before studying essays by several American writers, including H. L. Mencken, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, John McPhee, Joan Didion, David Shields, David Foster Wallace, Jenny Boully, and Eula Biss. We will examine these essays as they appeared originally in magazines and journals such as the New Yorker, Harper’s, Ms., the Iowa Review, and the Saturday Evening Post in order to learn what their historical context can tell us about their form and meaning.
"Science Writing for the Public." | Héctor J. Vila | WRPR 0363 | Middlebury College
This class is an introduction to writing about science–including nature, medicine, and technology–for general readers and for online publication. Students will publish in our online magazine (constructed Spring 2017). In our reading and writing we explore the craft of making scientific concepts, and the work of scientists, accessible to the public through news articles and essays. The chief work of the class is students' writing. Students will also learn to manipulate images and how to use digital storytelling.
"The Art of True Crime: Readings in Creative Nonfiction" | Sarah Viren | Eng 2308:008| Arizona State University
As a culture, we are saturated with true crime stories, most of which follow a predictable narrative arc: there is a victim, an investigation, and the satisfaction at the end that justice has been done. Occasionally, however, writers use stories of crimes and criminals as a means of exploring the philosophical, metaphysical, spiritual, and existential questions of daily life. Work by authors such as these will be the focus of our course, with nonfiction readings spanning in form from the memoir to the documentary and exploring such crimes as rape, murder, drunk driving, and orchid theft.
Form & Theory/Special Topics
Form & Theory/Special Topics
"Science and Nature Writing"| Ted Anton | Eng 491 | DePaul University
Students will read and write wonderful stories in a variety of forms—from news releases, essays and columns to investigative pieces and feature articles. We learn the skills of finding stories, and reporting, writing and selling them. We define science as broadly as possible, from nature, health and recreation to traditional sciences like physics and astronomy, to softer sciences like economics or sociology. Most of all, this is a course in storytelling. Beginning with research updates, we move on to feature articles and the most creative and artful modes of writing. We operate on the principle that articles are to be submitted for publication in magazines, newspapers and on websites. We are here to dream, to analyze and to share the awe and wonder of a mysterious world.
"Experimental Nonfiction." | Steven Church | ENGL 250T | Fresno State University
This course will examine experimental American literature, focusing on form and writing technique. We’ll spend some time discussing the impact of post-modern literary theory on the development of alternative forms of nonfiction and consider specific forms such as the collage and lyric essay. We’ll also discuss the blurring of genre boundaries and the incorporation of forms, techniques and tropes traditionally associated with poetry, fiction, visual art, drama, and/or other subgenres of literature. We’ll look at texts that change the way we think about form and about the world, texts that resist easy classification and hopefully force us away from genre provincialism.
"Graduate Nonfiction Workshop: Hybrids." | Heidi Czerwiec | ENGW 5106 | University of Minnesota
Hybrids are the opposite of pure, and this course will be a celebration in praise of the impure. Hybrid nonfiction, with its blend of styles and genres, can be a happy meeting place for writers of many backgrounds to experiment. We’ll read examples and imitate a number of short hybrid forms, borrowing from verse, haibun, hermit crab essays, and others. Then, we’ll see how these short forms can be strung together, braided, or built up to create longer-form essays and even full manuscripts, and attempt this with our own work. Because graduate creative writing programs ideally professionalize students beyond their imaginative work, we will also engage in arts citizenship, as well as craft writing which, while it will help prepare you for your Master’s craft essays, will also hone editorial, critical, and pedagogical skills and will introduce you to some important online resources.
"The Lyric Essay." | Joanna Eleftheriou | LITR 3371
The primary goal of this class is to provide you with a supportive workshop experience within which you can experiment with.This course, much like the lyric essay’s brief history, will be a site of experimentation. We’ll interrogate the notion that “lyric essay often accretes by fragments, taking shape mosaically” by investigating the arrangement of fragments in other contexts: archaeologists, for example, rarely have anything but fragments to work with, and to enter a gallery or a museum exhibit is to enter a site that, too, works “mosaically.” This is the premise behind a class visit to the Tacoma Art Museum and the on-campus Scandinavian Cultural Center. By responding to weekly writing prompts and developing two of these into longer essays, by semester’s end students will have acquired a strong sense of the genre’s possibilities and challenges. Moreover, by engaging closely with a rapidly evolving form, students will complete the course equipped with a nuanced understanding of how genre boundaries evolve and influence our reading and writing practice.
"Forms & Theories in Creative Nonfiction: Voice" | Tessa Fontaine | WRI 1132-F00 | Warren Wilson University
Creative nonfiction, sometimes called literary or narrative nonfiction, emphasizes craft as much as content—the way something is written is as important as its subject matter. Many of the techniques we use come from the fiction writer’s repertoire, such as how to structure scenes, how to maintain momentum and tension, and how to incorporate dialogue. We also rely heavily on the poet’s sensibilities, paying particular attention to the rhythms and sounds of language as well as to the careful use of images and metaphors. We research. We tell important stories. We come to understand aspects of both ourselves, and the world, just a bit better. Through this course, students are challenged to develop their practice and understanding of the craft of creative nonfiction, improve their critical skills in the reading of nonfiction by others, and gain increased depth and flexibility in their writing of prose. This course concentrates on conventions, techniques, terminology, concepts, critiques, and theories within contemporary creative nonfiction, all with the understanding that the very best way to learn and improve is to practice. Read, write, look inward, and direct the gaze out.
"Special Topics: Research for Creative Nonfiction." | Silas Hansen | Enl 405 | Ball State University
This class will focus on the use of research in creative nonfiction: the purpose it serves, the various research methods creative nonfiction writers employ, the ways one can incorporate research into literary work, etc. We will read a great deal of published work that utilizes research, practice numerous research methods and writing styles through short exercises, and then focus in on a single project for workshop.
"Special Topics: Me, Myself, or I? Techniques in Non-fictional Point of View." | Natalie Kusz | CRWR 539 | Eastern Washington University
The literary term Point of View refers to the dominant pronoun (I, You, He/She, etc.) used in any piece of work. In nonfiction prose, the POV is often First Person Singular (even in pieces which are not about the author), and the verb form is usually Past Tense, but by no means does this indicate that one writer’s works will all “read” similarly. The art of nonfiction is an acting job, and, like an actor, the essayist performs a character role each time he or she starts a new piece. The author’s theater is the page, and his/her persona is a function of textual, rather than physical or audible, “gestures.” This course will examine those gestures in minute detail, and students will spend the term analyzing and practicing them.
"Literary Nonfiction I: Ancient Roots through 19th C." | Natalie Kusz | CRWR 586 | Eastern Washington University
"Literary Nonfiction II: 20th C. and Beyond." | Natalie Kusz | CRWR 587 | Eastern Washington University
"Literary Nonfiction III: Special Topics--Mountains out of Molehills: Great Essays, Small Subjects." | Natalie Kusz | CRWR 588 | Eastern Washington University
"Special Topics: The Lyric Essay." | Gary McDowell | ENG 6300 | Belmont University
Not a poem, not a narrative, not an idea-driven essay, but something other. Outside and/or inside this post-structuralist definition exists a genre of writing contemporarily vital to our literature. Braided through image, language, story, rhythm, and mimetic technique, the lyric essay expands upon its forbearers (Creative Nonfiction and New Journalism) popularized in the 1960s and 1970s by the likes of Joan Didion and Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe. The lyric essay, however, has pushed beyond even those gorgeously textured, vibrantly alive texts to include new levels of perception and insight, music and poetry. In this workshop-style class, we will read contemporarily to discover the lyric essay (writers will include, among others, Lia Purpura, Joni Tevis, T Fleischmann, Karen Green, Brian Lennon, and Brenda Miller) and then write our own lyric essays in conversation with our readings.
"True Crime" | Amy Monticello | ENG h525 | Suffolk University
In this course, we will analyze how popular contemporary true crime texts locate the more universally human stories within specific incidents of crime (some infamous and some obscure). We are also interested in how our course texts elucidate and represent the roles of their stakeholders—the victims, perpetrators, investigators, communities, and narrators that populate the page. The texts we study this semester will also explore different types of crime—yes, murder and other violent crimes, but also white collar crime. Lastly, our texts will provide opportunities to consider the perspectives from which true crime is told—from those involved in a crime, to those who report it, to those who join the investigative process and search for justice.
"Writing in Miniature: Flash Essays and other Brief Forms" | Amy Monticello | ENG 371 | Suffolk University
This semester, our workshop will focus on micro forms of essaying. The essays we read and write will be no more than 1,000 words (and often much less). This might sound like the writing will be easier, but I find that the expansiveness of an essay can make short forms more challenging. To learn the techniques of flash and micro essays, we will study work in literary journals such as Brevity, Hippocampus, Sweet, Creative Nonfiction, Hotel Amerika, and others. From Twitter essays, to River Teeth’s Tiny Beautiful Things series, to flash essays that demonstrate the true range of creative nonfiction as a whole, we will use the small—the intricate, the detailed, the momentary, the urgent—to illuminate the very largeness of real life. We will follow the sharp turns of these miniature forms to the unexpected places they can deliver us.
"Stunt Journalism." | Jenny Spinner | ENG 465 | St. Joseph's University
We will make our way through four book-length works of stunt journalism this semester, beginning with Nellie Bly and ending with Ted Conover, one of the foremost stunt journalists of our time. We’ll explore in these books, and in other smaller pieces, the role the journalist’s stunt plays in the telling of the story. Along the way, we’ll ask such questions as: How does the stunt affect the credibility of the journalist—and the veracity of the story as it is received by readers? What happens to the journalistic pursuit of, and perception of, objectivity in stunt journalism? In an age in which journalism already gets a bad rap, how does stunt journalism impact the reputation of the genre as a whole? How does the gender/race identity of the journalist affect the journalist’s ability to tell the story? Considering these identities as well as social means and safety nets, are there experiences, or privileges, that make access to certain stories more possible? more or less authentic?
"Literary Journalism." | Jenny Spinner | ENG 463 | St. Joseph's University
In this course we will read seminal works in the field of literary journalism in the United States, starting with Nellie Bly, who, in 1887, feigned insanity to get herself committed to a mental institution in New York in order to explore conditions there. We’ll continue our march toward the present, lingering in the middle of the 20th century with some of the infamous New Journalists: Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thomson, and Tom Wolfe. We’ll end in the present with writers like Adrian Nicole LeBlanc and Ted Conover. Our intensive reading explorations will help us to investigate the various craft elements that literary journalists employ as well as ponder the larger ethical questions that the genre of literary journalism prompts us to ask, questions that are linked to the author’s role in and access to the story, to immersion reporting practices, and to the pursuit of objectivity. Additionally, and significantly, you will try your hand at immersion reporting and writing, producing your own literary journalism based on individual and group reporting exercises that will take you/us into the field—and to the movies. We will also have the opportunity to interview reporters and writers about their work, including Kevin Noble Maillard and Cheryl Della Pietra.
"The Essay: Women Essayists from the 17th Century to the Present." | Jenny Spinner | ENG 4285 | St. Joseph's University
This course wrestles with a long-standing, or at least unexamined assumption in the academy: that women are relative latecomers to the essay genre. Certainly, in our present time, women and men share the essay stage, and so comfortably so that it seems silly to suggest that there ever was a time in which women did not write essays with the freedom that they now enjoy. In fact, the participation of women in the essay tradition is complex, and hard-won, particularly in earlier centuries when the essayist’s project of discovery and disclosure was off-limits to women writers. Women who did succeed in the form, many of whom were well-respected and hugely popular among their contemporaries, have often been ignored by editors and scholars who have overlooked their work for reasons ranging from ignorance to blatant sexism.
We’ll begin with a general history of the essay, charting its changing shape and popularity as it moves from century to century, decade to decade. As we go, we’ll ask specific questions about the contributions of women to the genre during each major shift of the form: What do women essayists write about? How do they establish authority in their essays? In what ways do they bring experience and personal observation to the essay? What language conventions do they employ? How do they convey voice? As we go, we’ll discover that women have participated in the tradition of the essay since its modern beginnings in the late sixteenth century, beginning with the early attempts of Montaigne’s editor Marie de Gournay, arguably the first modern woman essayist, and Margaret Cavendish, the first woman essayist writing in English. We’ll look at periodical essayists of the eighteenth century; familiar essayists and newspaper columnists of the nineteenth century; popular genteel essayists at the turn of the twentieth century; early modern essayists; and contemporary essayists writing in the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.
"Advanced Creative Nonfiction Prose: On Structure." | Julija Sukys | ENG 8520 | University of Missouri
Eventually, every writer of creative nonfiction learns a hard truth: structure is both the key to this genre and its hardest aspect to master. In this graduate seminar, we will tackle the challenge of structuring texts. We will analyze masterpieces and map out how they were made. We will take texts apart and then put them back together. We will read what the great ones have to say on the subject and apply their words to our own efforts. Above all, we will write from structure, toward structure, around it, and through it. We will doubtless fight with it, but in time and through understanding, we will tame it and try to make it our friend.
"Literary Nonfiction I: Ancient Roots through 19th C." | Rachel Toor | CRWR 586 | Eastern Washington University
In this course we’ll examine a range of nonfiction writing with the intention of learning to read like writers. Students will look at elements of craft (narrative versus exposition, sentence structure, characterization, use of the telling detail, organization and narrative arc, setting scenes, handling time and tension) in order to find tricks and moves that they can use in their own work. Students will learn to set aside their personal responses to a piece of work in order to focus on what the writer is trying to do and how she achieves that. We will learn about the history of the genre and by the end of the course, each student should be able to define what he or she thinks counts as creative nonfiction.
Composition & Rhetoric
Composition & Rhetoric
"Rhetoric as Argument: The Rhetoric of Science." | Karen Babine | Eng 151 | Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln
English 151 focuses on the study and practice of writing and rhetoric as rhetoric—that is, students will use writing and rhetorical concepts such as purpose, audience and context to pose and investigate problems that are meaningful in their lives or communities, explore open questions, and/or examine complex tensions. This course provides students with extended practice in writing and rhetoric as argument in a supportive, student-centered environment. We will be looking at different uses for argument and how it finds different expressions on the page.
"College Writing: Place and Community" | Karen Babine | Eng 1200/1201 | North Hennepin Community College
This course will investigate the relationship of place and community, a lens through which we will develop a way of looking at what and who surround us, physically, intellectually, and emotionally. Through our major writing projects, we will participate in community conversations and make choices as writers based on what we learn about writing in the communities we study. Throughout the class, as you study, read, and write about issues important to you, you’ll develop three writing projects through which you will 1) examine your own literacy, your history of reading and writing, and analyze the different ways you claim your own literacy; 2) explore and analyze a community you are connected to through the use of interviews and field research; 3) use what you learned in Writing Project 2 to identify an area of need in that community and advocate for that community. Our purpose in this class is to develop a greater understanding of the ways place influences our community identity, to actively inquire into the ways that community is formed and expressed, and to communicate what we have learned in modes that best suit our audience and purpose.
"Food and Community (Online)" | Karen Babine | Eng 2012| North Hennepin Community College
This course will consider the relationship of place and sustainability, with particular attention to food, a lens through which we will develop a way of looking at what and who surround us, physically, intellectually, and emotionally. We will use our writing to participate in community conversations and make choices as writers based on what we learn about writing our community at NHCC. Our purpose in this class is to develop a greater understanding of the ways place influences our community identity, to actively inquire into the ways that community is formed and expressed, and to communicate what we have learned in modes that best suit our audience and purpose. As we consider food through the lens of research, we will consider the politics of food, food culture, sustainability, obstacles to food security—with a particular emphasis on our own cultural and personal experiences and the ways we can study the local food world around us. We will consider not only the current political aspects of food and the government shutdown (as it affects our population at NHCC particularly), but we will also look at the opportunities (like NHCC’s own Food Cupboard). We will consider the benefits and harm of language around workplace wellness culture and eating disorders. We will scaffold our work through our Think Pieces towards our researched argument that encompasses the challenges and the opportunities of food.
"Rhetoric: The Essay." Assay 1.1| Robert Brooke | Eng 475/875 | Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln
Called “Rhetoric: The Essay,” this course asks students—as both writers and teachers—to locate themselves in the tensions of the essay. Central to my approach to “Rhetoric: The Essay” are two concepts: (1) the essay is a complex form, with at least four specific variations; (2) “thinking moves” to structure an essay may well be the element all the variations have in common.
"Autobiography and Life Writing." Assay 1.1 | Richard Louth | Eng 370 | Southeastern Louisiana University
This is a creative writing course in which we write nonfiction as opposed to fiction, poetry, or drama. Our creative nonfiction will focus on our own lives and observations of the world around us. Emphasis is on students as writers and on the course as a writing course supplemented by readings. We study outstanding examples of autobiographical writing to better understand the art of writing about one’s own life in different nonfictional genres. Writers in the course 1) participate in “writing marathons” and other journaling activities to generate material for rough drafts; 2) participate in response groups and critiques to revise drafts into artful finished works; and 3) publish their work online and through “author’s chair” public readings the last week of class.
"Writing and Rhetoric I: Creative Composition." | Micah McCrary | Eng 1510 | Ohio University
Students in this workshop-style course will conduct research on subjects of their own interests, the end result being a long-form, exploratory essay. This course emphasizes creative and academic writing at once, and students’ writing will simultaneously privilege idea and execution. A final essay will resemble work of both a scholarly and creative nature, for a mixed, public audience. We will look at scholarly texts to help seat ourselves within research that explores the theories espousing a blend of the creative and the academic, as well as contemporary texts that execute the kind of sustained research, writing, and thinking students will be expected to perform. We will explore an alternative approach to composition by using a traditional approach to creative writing, relying heavily on peer review and collaborative learning as aspects of writing and revision.
"Adventure, Exploration and Risk: Moral Courage." | Cathy McMullen | IWC 100 | Concordia College (Linked course with Olsen's INQ 100, below.)
The theme and readings for this course complement those in your Inquiry Seminar, Adventure, Exploration and Risk, wherein you will examine the issues brought to light in the travel and adventure narrative: conquest, self-discovery, science, and a good bit more. Here in IWC, we will examine different types of adventure, exploration and risk: those of the intellectual, ethical and societal nature.
"Inquiry Seminar: Adventure, Exploration, and Risk." | W. Scott Olsen | INQ 100 | Concordia College (Linked course with McMullen's IWC 100, above.)
This is a course that examines the issues brought to light in the travel and adventure narrative. We will talk about conquest, self-discovery, science, and a good bit more. How much of our cultural background do we project onto a new place? How do our goals (personal, political, etc.) influence how we value what we see and experience? How do we think about the literature of travel and its relation to any kind of accuracy or truth?
"Inquiry --Written Communication." | W. Scott Olsen | IWC 100 | Concordia College
"Creative Writing Pedagogy." | Heidi Czerweic | University of North Dakota
Creative Writing Pedagogy as a discipline has been debated for years, but has only gained traction as an area of research and praxis in the last 10-15 years, with a particular proliferation in the past 5 years. In keeping with best practices held by this discipline, this creative writing pedagogy course will teach students multiple approaches to design, teach, and manage a creative writing workshop, and will empower you to select an approach which enables you to teach to your strengths, skills that will make you more confident and successful teachers, and more marketable as you apply for teaching jobs.
"Seminar in Composition and Creative Writing Pedagogy." | Julie Platt | ENGL 5153 | Univ of Arkansas-Monticello
This course is designed for MFA students who wish to teach composition and/or creative writing at the undergraduate level. It provides an introduction to the basics of pedagogical theory while foregrounding praxis. Special attention will be given to exploring the intersections between composition and creative writing, and the challenges of teaching writing effectively in online and hybrid spaces. Students who successfully complete this course will have the beginnings of a basic teaching portfolio that reflects an understanding of current issues and practices in undergraduate writing pedagogy.
"Teaching Creative Writing" | Stephanie Vanderslice| Eng 4340/5340| Univ of Central Arkansas
Welcome to Teaching Creative Writing, a course designed to examine the history and changes that have taken place in the creative writing classroom in the last century and how they have affected the culture of writing itself. It is designed for students who may be teaching creative writing at the college level or in the community, or including creative writing in their curriculum at the K-University levels. It’s even a good course for people who spend a lot of time in creative writing courses—taking you inside the belly of the beast, so to speak. Areas to be covered include the history of creative writing pedagogy, up to and including modern pedagogical approaches to the field, as well as curriculum design in the creative writing course. These courses are rare, even in graduate school, although they are growing in number at the graduate level. If you are an undergraduate in this class, consider yourself one of the few undergraduates nationwide who have studied these issues—you’re not only in a good position to land an assistantship if you apply to grad school, you’re on the cutting edge! If you’re a graduate student, you’re still well ahead of the curve.
"Topics in Editing & Publishing: The American Literary Magazine." | Barrie Jean Borich | Eng 477/377 | DePaul University
This course examines the American literary magazine, from inception to contemporary practice. We explore the missions, functions, styles, personalities, experiments, and aesthetics of select little magazines and literary journals published from the early 20th century to the present day, particularly those representative of great moments of change in both political and literary culture. Class participants compare and contrast the ways literary journals develop in response to changing times, in keeping with innovations in literary form and in tandem with changes in publishing technologies, and analyze the literary journal’s relationship to both book publishing and individual authors’ careers.
"Literary Publishing and Editing" | Dinty W. Moore | Engl 3650 | Ohio University
This course offers an introduction to literary publishing and an opportunity to think critically about the nature of editing creative work. We will examine the history and the current practices of literary presses and publishers of literary magazines and will look as well at innovations in delivery (podcasts, blogs, web-based magazines, Print-on-Demand, etcetera). Students will sample a variety of literary publications; become familiar with the vocabulary of literary editing and publishing; understand the varieties of editorial purposes and processes; distinguish and understand what editors consider publishable literary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction; and attempt to understand the real-world circumstances of literary (primarily not-for-profit) publishing and editing. The course will culminate in literary projects designed by individual students or student teams.
"The Art and Craft of Editing." | Jenny Spinner | ENG 469 | St. Joseph's UniversityAs we’ll learn firsthand this semester, there are many kinds of editors and many kinds of editorial tasks. Most editors, no matter what their job, have strong writing skills and an eye for detail. Having a good grasp of grammatical principles is important, as is being meticulously observant, but such skills are only part of the larger equation as we’ll learn first-hand from professional editors this semester. For example, not all editors concentrate on final manuscripts, checking for grammar, spelling, consistency and other formatting issues, as do copy editors. Some editors focus on matters much earlier in the production process. Acquisition editors, for instance, primarily work on identifying new projects and seeking out authors for those projects. Section editors for newspapers help identify stories that need to be told and guide their reporters through the reporting and writing process. Social media editors help their organizations use social media tools to engage better with readers. In fact, being an editor is often as much about the editor’s ability to work with the people who produce the content as it is about the content itself. And editors’ reputations—as magicians or overbearing known-it-alls and everything in between—are often linked to their style of working with those content producers.
"The Writer's Journal." | Jeff Oaks | Eng 1092 | Univ of Pittsburgh
A writer's journal, as opposed to a diary, should involve a more considerable attempt by the writer to interrogate the experience, the language, and especially the writerly self. Central to the work of the class will be your ability to be messy, to trust in your creative process and to allow yourself liberty to say things that might make you feel very vulnerable.
"Storytelling for Health and Public Policy." | Lise Saffran | P_HLTH 8720 | Univ of Missouri
Storytelling for public health and public policy offers students an opportunity to become familiar with the literature and theoretical frameworks underlying the use of narrative and digital storytelling in public health and policy advocacy and to practice narrative skills. Students will review case studies of effective narrative communication and practice elements of effective storytelling in a variety of print and digital platforms. The course is approximately one-third theory, one-third ethics and one-third craft.