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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 26—Dec 9
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Rebecca Sacks
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 21
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 26—Dec 9
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
3 Units
Rebecca Sacks
Registration opens Aug 22, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: No class the week of November 21
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 Jen Percy. 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. The readings and writing exercises will enliven 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 10- to 20-page piece of literary journalism—a profile, feature reporting, or something more essayistic. You will receive feedback both from the instructor and in the form of peer responses to each other’s work.

No previous journalism experience is required.


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