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Long-Form Reported Nonfiction

ENGL 3350.301
R 5:15-8:15pm & F 1:45-4:45pm

This workshop in narrative nonfiction emphasizes the tools of good storytelling: creating a narrative spine, building a dramatic plot, character development, scene-setting, and use of quotes without compromise of facts. Students must be willing to do reportage, since narrative nonfiction cannot exist without it. There will be heavy concentration on writing assignments and workshopping. We will also read the best and brightest of nonfiction by authors such as Katharine Boo, Lillian Ross, Gay Talese, David Foster Wallace, Truman Capote, John Hersey, and JR Moehringer, and Penn’s own Buzz Bissinger. The course will be challenging but decidedly unstuffy with ample give and take, offered in a style that is unorthodox, distinct, and brimming with passion. This course is taught by Buzz Bissinger, the author of several bestsellers including Friday Night Lights, a longtime contributor to Vanity Fair, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Students who have taken this course have gone on to work at such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Forbes, and Fortune. The course will meet every other week. Professor Bissinger will be available for one-on-one discussions and always available by email. 

English Major Requirements
English Concentration Attributes
  • Creative Writing Workshop Course Minor (AECW)
  • Journalistic Writing Minor (AEJW)
College Attributes