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Advanced Non-Fiction Writing

ENGL 145.301
instructor(s):

“Maybe the best we can do is leave ourselves unprotected…” the poet-novelist Forrest Gander has written. “To approach each other and the world with as much vulnerability as we can possibly sustain.” In this advanced nonfiction workshop, we will seek, and leverage, exposure. We’ll be reading writers contemplating writing—Natalia Ginzburg, Larry Woiwode, Vivian Gornick, Terrence des Pres, Annie Dillard. We’ll be reading writers writing their own lives—Gretel Ehrlich, Anthony Doerr, Stanley Kunitz, Brooks Hansen, Jean-Dominique Bauby—as well as writers writing the lives of others—Frederick Busch on Terrence des Pres, for example, Patricia Hampl on her parents, Michael Ondaatje on the utterly cinematic characters of his childhood. The point will be to get close to the bone of things. Students should be prepared to craft and to workshop six new short pieces of analysis, memoir, and literary reportage each.

Those interested in taking the course should submit as soon as possible one sample of their best prose via email to Greg Djanikian at djanikia@writing.upenn.edu. Permit is required by the instructor.