Many writers think that the heart of creative nonfiction is style, but in truth, the genre's soul is in its content. This course covers tools such as intimate reporting, periodicals, the Internet, and first-hand observation to research people, places, issues, and history. The skills learned will serve graduate students of all kinds of writing, from fiction to academic. Permission of instructor required.
Additional Course Details:
Fall 2023 Detailed Description:
This workshop celebrates content and the role that research plays in creative writing. Unless you are writing only from memory or imagination, you will need to gather material, and to that end we will spend the semester cultivating the skills that enable nonfiction master John McPhee to write volumes on rocks, memoirist Vivian Gornick to recount settings and conversations, novelist Ian McEwan to describe the work of Cold War spies, and poet Amanda Gorman to craft her infamous inaugural poem. Details build narrative and we will explore the resources and techniques – which range from interviewing to intimate reporting to mining periodicals and databases – that will help you collect the content needed to write credibly and with authority about people, place, and conflicts in tales of fact or imagination. Students will write one 3,000-5,000-word researched narrative or two shorter pieces in the genre of their choice. Authors we will read include Geraldine Brooks, Isabel Wilkerson, Lee Gutkind, Ayana Mathis, and Anthony Doerr. MFA writers of all genres welcome.