English and Film Studies

WRITE 298 C3: Introduction to Writing Nonfiction

C. Wiesenthal

WRITE 298 is an introductory class in writing literary nonfiction prose. One basic aim of the course is to provide students with exposure to, and an opportunity to experiment with, a variety of nonfiction forms and voices. Students can therefore expect to read, write and discuss nonfiction writing that ranges across genres, from personal and autobiographical modes, to more impersonal, journalistic modes of researched reportage, and more experimental, theoretical, lyric, hybrid and/or non-narrative literary forms. Throughout the year, we will not only consider theories, problems and possibilities of nonfiction writing, but experiment in our own writing with a range of techniques and strategies – from invention to research and revision. We will do so in dialogue with the published essays we take up for analysis on a weekly basis. An important note: WRITE 298 proceeds from the premise that the cultivation of strong writing and imaginative skills depends upon the cultivation of strong reading and analytic skills – a reading practice that is both wide in range and “close” in its engagement with individual texts. So students should be ready to apply themselves regularly to significant assigned readings.

In addition to numerous major essay assignments, course work will include informal writing and reading exercises and activities (some in class, some assigned to be completed outside of class). NOTE, also ESSENTIAL: WRITE 298 is largely run as a student-driven workshop collective that is writing intensive. Students are required to hand in drafts of their own work to be critiqued in small and large workshop groups on a regular basis. Advance submission of drafts, regular attendance and participation in class sessions and peer editing are essential and mandatory components of this course. Everyone will participate as a writer and reader/editor of others’ manuscripts on a weekly basis.

Please note that WRITE 298 is not a remedial language skills course but a senior course concerned with the basic practical and theoretical issues of nonfiction prose. Course prerequisite: 6 credits of junior English.