Come celebrate the printed word. Even in this Internet era, all kinds of writers are telling powerful true-life pieces - and this course will help student writers recognize the craftsmanship and the narrative techniques that make these pieces come alive. The aim is to compel student writers to tap their own raw talents, gain fresh insights, and feel comfortable enough to share their assigned work - both short and long-form pieces - with others in the class over the span of the semester.
Even though students will read some terrific practitioners of non-fiction writing - among them, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, Michael Herr, Truman Capote and Richard Ben Cramer - along with storytellers from the New York Times and even the instructor himself (a national correspondent for the Philadelphia Inquirer), these are all intended to inspire, not to intimidate. Even the best writers have fragile egos; bring yours to class, with no penalty.
Students writers will attempt non-fiction pieces of their choosing (with approval from the instructor), from personal memoirs to features about Philadelphia people, scenes, or campus events. The topics are less important than the craftsmanship; anything can be a great read if it's written well. Interested students should submit one or two writing samples and briefly explain their interest in the course. Since the instructor is not on campus this fall, please give the samples to department staffers Loretta Williams or Ann Marie Pitts, who will pass them along.