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Advanced Nonfiction Writing: Writing About Mental Health and Addiction

ENGL 145.302
R 1:30-4:30

There are many reasons mental illness and addiction are so pervasive, and so difficult to treat and discuss—leading to all-time high rates of suicide and overdose. But there is one baseline problem we can immediately address: learning how to do more effective, affecting, and evidence-based writing about behavioral health. In this advanced writing course, one of the first of its kind for undergraduates in the country, students will explore some of the most powerful American nonfiction writing on behavioral health, in publications and books, and will have some of the authors as guest lecturers. During the class, each student will read and do a presentation on one major piece of mental health or addiction writing, and then will create, workshop, and rewrite one major piece of nonfiction writing of their own. Projects can be reported memoir, narrative longform, investigative reporting, medical science writing, or some combination of these. Taught by Stephen Fried, Lecturer, CPCW; Adjunct Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Adjunct Professor of Mental Health Journalism, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry; and Co-Director, WHYY/Scattergood Behavioral Health Journalism Workshop. 

Permission to enroll is required; please submit a short writing sample to the instructor at

fulfills requirements