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Advanced Non-Fiction Workshop

ENGL 145.301
instructor(s):
T 2-5

This is an intensive writing and reading course in what has been variously called "the literature of fact," "literary nonfiction," "creative nonfiction," "new journalism," and "personal journalism." All those labels and then some can apply here. The core goal is to get a circle of students writers writing, and have them willing to share the work aloud in class. Implicit in this is the willingness to suffer some gentle slings of criticism- but also to accept admiration when it comes. We will be looking at models of nonfiction from present and past word masters- such as Annie Dillard, E.B. White, Joan Didion, Doris Lessing, James Baldwin, James Agee, Jonathan Raban, Michael Herr and Richard Ben Cramer. We will attempt different forms, probably starting with the personal essay, or memoir; the move on to something deeply reported and/or researched. You will have a primary say in what you wich to tackle. You will be asked to do at least three serious pieces in the term. There will be the hard sweaty work of revision. Although not a direct aim of the workshop, its slimly possible that someone will emerge with a piece of nonfiction any professional editor in his right mind will be proud to publish. Those interested in taking the course should submit one or two samples of nonfiction writing. Because the instructor is not on campus during the fall term, please give the samples to the department secretary, Loretta Williams, who will pass them along.