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  • Workshop
  • Online: Zoom
  • Introductory

Creative Nonfiction I

No Longer Enrolling

  • $480.00 Non-Member
  • $455.00 Member

Class Description

What defines creative nonfiction? Writers can’t even agree on the name: “Few seem willing to embrace the term,” writes essayist and memoirist Dinty W. Moore, “though by this point, almost everyone uses it.” And yet, the fundamentals of creative nonfiction are as old as Montaigne, and the genre has thrived in recent decades—from the tell-all memoirs of Mary Karr to the online personal blogging boom to the reported narratives of Leslie Jamison and John Jeremiah Sullivan. In this course, we’ll explore what creative nonfiction is, what it isn’t, and what it might be, examining a mix of published nonfiction works—personal essays, memoirs, lyric essays, narrative journalism—to better understand the array of styles and approaches writers use to tell true stories. Focusing on voice, detailed “close-ups,” scenework, reflection, language and style, we’ll analyze work that fits neatly within nonfiction norms as well as boundary-pushing work that lives on the fringe, and apply this craft awareness to our own writing. Authors may include:

Margaret Atwood

Brian Doyle

Cheryl Strayed

John McPhee

Barry Lopez

Zadie Smith

George Orwell

Jacquira Diaz

Sandra Tsing Loh

David Foster Wallace

We'll also examine ethical issue of truth and nonfiction, and the perils of writing about real people (including ourselves). During ten weeks of class, students will submit at least two manuscripts up to 4,000 words each, as well as shorter exercises. Some assignments will have specific required parameters and models; other will be more open-ended. Students will learn the fundamentals of craft of creative nonfiction, get a sense of its possibilities and where it is published, and practice the skill of critiquing the work of their peers. This class is ideal for novice writers or more experienced writers looking to delve into this ever-evolving and flourishing genre.

Did you know that we have scholarships available for all GrubStreet classes? To apply, click the "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button in the top right corner of this page. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your scholarship application and await our Scholarship Committee's decision before registering for the class. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!