All Courses

CW 131 - Introduction to the Craft of Creative Nonfiction

Fall 2018

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


Available in 
Fulfillment of both halves (Parts A and B) of the Reading & Composition Requirement or consent of instructor
Units and Format 
3 units – Three hours of lecture per week
Grading Option 
Letter grade





Class Number: 20963
Meeting time @ place:
TUTH 2:00pm - 3:30pm @ 105 Dwinelle Hall
Section Theme: Introduction to the Craft of Creative Nonfiction
Instructor: Kaya Oakes
Section Description:

Creative nonfiction has become the dominant literary form of our time. Over 2/3 of the books on the best-seller list are nonfiction; magazines, websites, blogs and social media all operate around writers' search for the truth. Nonfiction is also a vital genre because it can be about anything, which makes it a natural genre for writers from many different backgrounds, with many differing interests. In this class, you will learn some of the tools of nonfiction writing, which is rooted in both journalism and personal writing. We will also closely look at both classic and contemporary examples of essays, and of short nonfiction books, in order to understand ideas about narrative stance, framing, structure, and craft. Additionally, we'll spend time discussing the business of nonfiction writing: pitching, working with editors, promoting your work and working with literary agents. 

Book List:

Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction, Jack Hart

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

The White Album, Joan Didion

Various essays, online