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Special Topics in Nonfiction

Writing Illness and the Body: Nonfiction

Friday, February 14th, 10:00am-5:00pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

Writing is often seen as a practice that originates in the mind. But we use our entire selves to write! Illness, disability, and other facts of our bodies affect our writing in more ways than we can name. This course will examine both how to write about the body, encouraging students to delve into instances when corporeality might enter our work; and how to write with our bodies, engaging practices in which we write with awareness of our embodied selves. We will discuss strategies for writing about illness and disability, read toward new possibilities for bringing the body onto the page, and engage in writing prompts that expand on our reading and discussion. Students will leave the class with their own personalized strategies for how to write about illness and the body, with all of its contingencies, in their own work. Possible authors we'll read include: Sarah Manguso, Carolyn Lazard, Audre Lorde, Kiese Laymon, Sonya Huber, Tom Andrews, and Rebecca Brown.


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Dennis James Sweeney
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Previous Students Say

  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inundated with Great Info"


  • Generate New Work
  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • In-Class Reading


  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Literary Journalism
  • Nonfiction

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