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CNF 63 W — A Ticket to the Truth: Getting Started in Creative Nonfiction

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—May 3
Drop Deadline: Apr 4
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $340
Instructor(s): Joshua Rivkin
Limit: 125
Status: Registration opens Feb 25, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 4 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 9 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Spring
Date(s)
Apr 1—May 3
5 weeks
Drop By
Apr 4
1 Unit
Fees
$340
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Instructor(s):
Joshua Rivkin
Limit
125
Registration opens Feb 25, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is April 4 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is April 9 at 5:00 pm (PT).
To write is to sell a ticket to escape, not from the truth but into it. —Alexander Chee

Do you have an abundance of ideas and stories to tell but have trouble getting them down on paper? For five weeks, we will try different exercises to get you going on the road to writing your own creative nonfiction. Every other weekday, students will be given a nonfiction prompt with the goal of writing 250 to 500 words. These shorter writing exercises can become the building blocks for either longer essays or chapters of a longer project. From writing great scenes to building innovative structures and trying radical revisions, we will work on multiple skills in a short amount of time. Alongside these writing prompts, students will read essays by such writers as Joan Didion, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, and Lacy Johnson as inspiration. You will receive feedback from other students in small-group workshops and you can select one short piece a week for instructor feedback. Weekly lessons and discussions on craft as well as readings of the best contemporary nonfiction being published today will inspire and deepen students’ knowledge. Come to this course for a supportive writing community, innovative prompts, engaging example essays, and daily accountability.

This course is appropriate for newer writers and those who want to further develop their practice. Because of the high enrollment capacity, students will not receive instructor feedback on daily writing posts.

Joshua Rivkin, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Joshua Rivkin is the author of two books, Chalk: The Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly, and Suitor, which is forthcoming in 2020. His work appears regularly in The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Slate, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. He received a PhD in literature and creative writing from USC.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)