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Storytelling in Fiction and Nonfiction

ENGL 515.640
R 5:30-8:10pm

Storytelling is an art form that can be applied to many endeavors in life. This class is designed to help students shape the stories they want to tell--stories that come from the experiences and imagination of the individual writer. During the semester, we will be inspired by a wide range of writers, including James Baldwin, Jeanette Winterson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, John McPhee, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Radcliffe Hall, Lorna Goodison, Toni Morrison and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The books, stories, and essays we read and discuss will offer opportunities to talk about powerful writing that explores themes such as love, war, racism, poverty, freedom, death, and the resilience of the human spirit. Turning a personal lens on individual stories can take storytellers and their listeners to a new level of understanding of our shared human experience. The more personal a story, the more intimately told, the more universal it becomes. In addition to in-class exercises that help participants tap into and visualize what they are writing, students will be asked to free write for 10-15 minutes daily. Prompts will help generate creative responses to assigned books, essays, stories, films and speakers, and students will work in teams to lead and participate in workshop discussions and contribute to peer review. Any questions about this class can be sent to me at

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