English 100NF - Spring, 2023

Creative Writing: Non-Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Houston, Pam
Time: MW 12:10-1:30pm
Location: 248 Voorhies


In this class we will explore several subgenres that exist within the extremely broad and unfortunately named category of nonfiction: the lyric essay, the memoir, and political and environmental journalism in particular. We will talk about how to make a beautiful essay as opposed to, say, a beautiful story or poem, and how we decide what material should take which form. We will talk about what we call "truth" in these dangerous political times, and how it figures into this genre we define by its negative. As in any class in artistic writing, there will be a great deal of focus on metaphor, lyricism, form and structure. We will discuss artistic choices available to the essayist such as point of view, tense, narrative stance, tone, scene versus summary, dialogue, beginnings and endings, and voice. Each student will be expected to turn in two new essays during the course of the quarter and turn in either a revision or a new essay at quarter's end. There will be reading assignments throughout the quarter and weekly writing exercises early on that will give way to workshop after a few weeks.


Grading will be based on the quality of original material handed in as well as the quality of commentary on other participants' stories, and quality of discussion about the assigned reading.


Little Weirds , Jenny Slate
Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls, TKira Madden
Carry, Toni Jenson
Several essays available free on line TBA
Book of Delights, Ross Gay