From personal narratives and family histories to observations in nature and philosophical inquiry, we write to tell the stories of our own experiences as well as the story of humanity. In this beginning creative nonfiction class, we read and write with, therefore, an ear for story, for the intersection of experience and reflection. We write ourselves as character and narrator, as one who seeks, discovers, and interprets, all the while guided by the narrative form. We supplement this creative side of the course with readings about craft, about how to build character, how to narrate a scene, and how to reflect on experience. We produce several beginnings, middles, and perhaps even ends. In live group sessions on Zoom, we discuss readings and generate and share our writings. Each student also composes one new piece of creative nonfiction to be workshopped among the class. Readings include personal and craft essays as well as excerpts from memoirs by authors such as Diane Ackerman, James Baldwin, Corinna Cook, Vivian Gornick, David Haskell, Barbara Hurd, Michael Martone, José Orduña, Joni Tevis, and Claudia Rankine.
In summer 2021, this class will be delivered remotely. This interactive workshop includes a mix of live synchronous Zoom sessions and a range of asynchronous reading and writing activities. Courses are embedded within a robust series of public programs (including readings, workshops, and panel discussions) that SWI students will also engage in.
Tentative schedule for synchronous meetings: Mondays and Wednesdays, 6–7:30 p.m.; and Saturdays, 2–4 p.m.