Creative Nonfiction is a term used to encompass a range of different forms of writing, whose techniques are markedly literary, but whose subjects are presented as factually accurate or true to life. Examples include memoirs, biographies, personal essays, travel writing, cultural or historical criticism, journals, blogging, and correspondence. This course will offer students the opportunity to develop their skills in writing nonfiction prose. Building on their academic writing skills, students will further develop their craft as writers, learning how narrative structure, voice, imagery, description, characterisation, memory and dialogue can all be used to tell a compelling story; to breathe art into life. Every class session will centre around writing exercises as well as workshopping one another’s writing. This practice-based course may therefore be of particular interest to students with a Creative Writing focus, or those who have, or who wish to develop, a personal writing practice outside of an academic context.
Additionally, through the study of significant British, European and American nonfiction writers, students will not only learn from masters of their craft, but also be able to fashion their own voices in response to others who have trodden the very ground that they themselves are coming from or coming to. The course will focus in particular on the role of place in creative nonfiction. In what ways are the stories we tell a response to the different locales that we find ourselves in? How is the authorial voice, the ‘I’ of the writer-narrator, affected by different contexts, and how does it in turn affect the way that such places are understood and portrayed? This focus on place is well-suited to the travelling scholar, as it will provide ample opportunity for students to reflect on their experiences of the varied places and people they encounter, as well as on their own development.
Prereq: WRT 205 or WRT 209 or ENL 213
Department: Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition
Semesters: Fall, Spring