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

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Jul 31—Sep 1
Refund Deadline: Aug 3
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $370
Instructor(s): Rebecca Schuman
Limit: 150
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jul 31—Sep 1
5 weeks
Refund Date
Aug 3
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Rebecca Schuman
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
To write is to sell a ticket to escape, not from the truth, but into it.—Alexander Chee

Do you have so many great stories to tell that people say, “Wow, you should really write this down?” Well, you should! Have trouble getting these great stories down on paper? That’s where this course comes in. You will work on a series of writing exercises precisely designed to get you writing your own creative nonfiction. Every other weekday, you will receive a nonfiction prompt with the goal of writing 250 to 500 words. These short 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, you will work on multiple skills in a short amount of time. Alongside these writing prompts, we will read essays by such writers as Joan Didion, CJ Hauser, and Roxane Gay as inspiration. You will receive feedback from other students in small-group workshops, and you will be able to 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 your knowledge. Throughout this course, you will find a supportive writing community, innovative prompts, engaging example essays, and daily accountability.

This course is appropriate for both newer writers and those who want to further develop their practice. Because of the high enrollment capacity, the majority of feedback on work will come from fellow classmates. For students who have previously taken the course, the structure is the same but the content is new. Past students are encouraged to join.


Rebecca Schuman is the author of the comic memoir Schadenfreude, A Love Story, a Hudson Booksellers Best Book of 2017, a Fodor’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Pick, and a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Memoir/Biography of Spring 2017. Her essays and reportage on a wide variety of subjects—from higher education to German culture and elite gymnastics—have appeared in Slate, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Guernica, Literary Hub, and other national and international outlets.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.