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CW 08 W — The Art and Craft of Literary Journalism

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 20—Dec 3
Refund Deadline: Sep 23
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Rebecca Sacks
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 20—Dec 3
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 23
3 Units
Rebecca Sacks
Please Note: No class the week of November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Literary journalism is an umbrella term that encompasses the personal essay, certain types of investigative journalism, and some creative nonfiction. These forms are unified by a shared goal: to convey the truth of a nonfiction story beyond its most basic facts, using storytelling techniques traditionally associated with fiction. In this course, you will read pieces of literary journalism that illustrate a range of reporting strategies and narrative styles, from classics of the form by such authors as James Baldwin and Truman Capote, to work by contemporary writers like Jia Tolentino and Leslie Jamison. As a class, we will examine the relationship of these writers to their material, and, when necessary, consider the tension of who tells which stories. These readings will illustrate lessons on reporting practices, drafting techniques, and approaches to editing. We will also discuss how to pitch stories to publications. By the end of this course, you will have researched and developed your own ten- to twenty-page piece of literary journalism, a profile or something more essayistic for feedback from the instructor and from peer responses to each other’s work.

No previous journalistic experience is required.


Rebecca Sacks is the author of the novel City of a Thousand Gates. She was selected by Publishers Weekly as a Writer to Watch in Spring 2021, and she received a 2020 Canada Council for the Arts grant. Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review’s “The Daily,” Vanity Fair, and LitHub. She received an MFA from UC Irvine, where she also taught undergraduate creative writing courses.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative, 2002 Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition (ISBN 0374528586)