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Creative Nonfiction: Exploring the Ties that Bind

ENGL 135.301
instructor(s):
T 1:30-4:30

We all belong somewhere. Our communities might be rooted in a sports team, religion, social identity, geography, life-altering experience, or newfound passion. What are the rituals and rites of these groups, their customs and constraints? Do we join them by choice or chance, and what happens when they intersect or overlap? In this workshop-centered class, you will enlist the creative nonfiction (CNF) genres of memoir and personal essay to explore the human condition, turning your lens both inward and outward as you look at the ties that bind us to each other. CNF calls on the literary techniques of fiction (including character, scene-setting, plot, dialogue, description, structure, narrative/thematic tension, pacing, chronology, point of view, imagery, and metaphor) and the reporting strategies of journalism (reportage, fact-checking, sourcing). You will write and revise three longer pieces (1500-2500 words each) and several shorter ones. Through assignments, exercises, critiques and reading discussions, expect to become a stronger writer, a better reader, and an enthusiastic reviser.