Creative Non-Fiction: Personal Essays and Memoir

Details


INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Hanly

SECTION: U06

SCHEDULE: Tuesday 2:00PM – 4:45PM

Course Description

“To survive we tell stories,” says Umberto Eco, philosopher, medieval scholar and novelist. This is a course in storytelling, in writing and reading creative nonfiction. It is a course in find-ing the stories that are all around us all the time. This course is as much about developing one’s skills in listening and reflection as it is about writing. Students will focus on personal es-says and memoir. Work along the lines of NPR’s “The Story” and “The American Life” will be produced. Students would acquaint themselves with those shows; they would read some of the giants of the creative non-fiction genre, including Joan Didion and James Baldwin, as well as anthologies edited by John D’Agata and Philip Lopate. My goal: to guide the students to recognize the heart of a narrative and to ease their way towards understanding how to con-struct a story or essay around that heart.

Students will learn to:

  • Recognize the stories all around them, as well as the poignancy of many of those stories. Not incidentally students write with more clarity, power and confidence.