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CNF 51 W — The Creative Nonfiction Book: Find Your Truth, Shape Your Story

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—Jun 7
Drop Deadline: Apr 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Rachel Howard
Limit: 17
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—Jun 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 4
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Rachel Howard
Limit
17
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).
How does truth differ from mere fact in creative nonfiction? And how do we find and give form to the deeper truths that compel readers to compulsively turn pages? In this course, we will use Vivian Gornick’s craft book, The Situation and the Story, to help examine the personal story you are trying to tell, and to discover how you can best tell it. Reading contrasting personal essay and memoir excerpts by Jo Ann Beard, Alexandra Fuller, and Susan J. Miller, as well as two full memoirs, we will explore how writers of creative nonfiction use fiction techniques to pull the reader into an emotional world much deeper than surface factuality. Through weekly writing exercises, we will experiment with new ways to hone and house the truths that can sustain book-length nonfiction. Each student will workshop a section of their book-inprogress for constructive feedback. In the later weeks, we will also talk about routes to publication and hash out ethical quandaries, such as the fallibility of memory and the eternal worry: “What will my family think?”

This course is for students with a book already in progress, as well as for those just starting out. This is the second course of the two-quarter sequence, “The Creative Nonfiction Book.” Creative nonfiction is a fast-growing genre that includes memoir, essays, biography, and writing on such topics as art, science, and history. For those who want to write a book of creative nonfiction, these courses (offered in Winter 2019 and Spring 2019) will provide invaluable instruction and a supportive community. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Rachel Howard, Author

Rachel Howard is the author of a memoir about her father’s unsolved murder, The Lost Night, and a novel, The Risk of Us. Her personal essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Gulf Coast, O, The Oprah Magazine, Berfrois, The New York Times “Draft” series, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story, any (ISBN 0374528586)
(Required) Marilyn Abildskov, The Men in My Country, any (ISBN 1587294494)
(Required) Alison Smith, Name All the Animals (ISBN 9780743255233)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)