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CW N131 - The Craft of Creative Nonfiction

Summer 2021

This course in creative writing focuses on the craft of reading and writing creative nonfiction. The course emphasizes an introduction to craft—how creative nonfiction is generated, what its elements are, and how finished pieces work—which students will explore through careful study of models by published writers, and through writing and revising their own short pieces.

Available in 
The R&C prerequisite is not necessary for enrollment in this course.
Units and Format 
2 units – Ten hours of seminar per week for three weeks
Grading Option 
Letter grade





Class Number: 10632
Meeting time @ place:
MTUWTHF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ Online
Section Theme: Creative Nonfiction: Cultural Criticism
Instructor: Kaya Oakes
Section Description:

This course is offered in Session F (July 6-July 23, 2021).

Movie reviews, TV reviews, food writing, book reviews, and many other forms of cultural criticism have a long history within the genre of creative nonfiction and remain a great way for aspiring writers to build a portfolio and break through to an audience. But writing them well requires a knowledge of the craft of the essay, and thinking about structure, story, audience, and themes. In this class, we'll read examples of essays from both contemporary culture writers like Vinson Cunningham, Anthony Lane, Emily Nussbaum, Soleil Ho, Samin Nosrat, Michelle Dean, and Hillary Mantel, as well as writters from earlier generations.

We'll use these readings in conversation with Jack Hart's book Storycraft as examples to help you build up three essays of your own on a film, TV series, food, graphic novel, podcast, TikTok, book, video game, or any other form of culture that sparks your interest. Craft talks and exercises as well as essay workshopping and learning to write queries to editors will also be part of our work.

This class will meet twice a week (TuTh) on Zoom and three times a week asynchronously online. 


Book List:

Storycraft, Jack Hart

All other readings will be online

Class Number: 15455
Meeting time @ place:
MTUWTH 10:00am - 12:00pm @ Online
Section Theme: TBA
Section Description:

This course is offered in Session E (July 26-August 13, 2021).

Book List: