WRT 114 focuses on the genre of creative nonfiction. Students explore varieties of creative nonfiction, such as memoir; biography; the personal essay; travel, science, and food writing; and “new journalism.”

As its name suggests, creative nonfiction borrows elements from fiction and poetry (e.g., description, scene construction, dialogue, etc.) yet still aims to tell the truth. For a writer to “tell it slant,” however, is to acknowledge the ways in which one’s subjective viewpoint shapes what counts as “the truth” in telling a story about one’s own or another’s experiences.

Students will have the opportunity to experiment with style, genre, and subject in a writing studio environment and to read varied examples of contemporary creative nonfiction (e.g., Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, George Saunders’ The Braindead Megaphone, etc.). Students will craft and workshop their own creative nonfiction compositions.

  • No prerequisites.
  • May be offered as a stand-alone course, either in the fall or spring semester.
  • Open to qualified high school juniors and seniors.
  • SU course cap policy is 20 students maximum in a section.

WRT 114 allows students to experiment with creative writing in a nonfiction context. Students explore how writing about culture can be creative but also informative. As a course that invites students to reflect on the “personal” while attempting to make the personal meaningful for diverse audiences, WRT 114 necessarily requires they develop strong analytic and self-reflexive skills. Students will be expected to read and critically reflect upon complex nonfiction texts from different genres such as science writing or new journalism, to write frequently, and to engage in researched writing projects of their own.

Instructor Recommendations:

The WRT 114 course requires creative writing pedagogies that aren’t necessarily familiar to ELA teachers who are used to teaching literature and composition;, therefore instructors applying for this course should have extensive experience in one or more of the following:

  • Disciplinary coursework in creative writing, preferably at the graduate level (MFA preferred but not required)
  • Instructional experience in disciplinary creative writing, including workshop participation/pedagogy
  • Extensive independent experience as a practicing creative writer

When you draft your cover letter for Summer Institute, please discuss your prior experience in one or more of the above areas of practice or study.

In addition, writing samples should follow or consciously subvert conventions of creative nonfiction.

Please read this memo regarding recommended sequencing for WRT and ENG courses