The Art of Narrative Nonfiction

True stories, well-told.

In The Art of Narrative Nonfiction, students are introduced to a range of tools, terms, and techniques used by authors to write nonfiction that reads like great fiction. These include sense of place, dialogue and internal monologue, characterisation, language, narrative presence, and voice. Attention is also paid to narrative arc, structures, parallel narratives, and the importance of primary source research in narrative nonfiction. Students learn through doing: how to find ideas, develop those ideas, write vivid scenes, and polish work through revision.

At its essence, narrative nonfiction is a seamless dance between creating scenes and conveying information. This course helps students develop ideas and practice ways to enrich their own narrative nonfiction. Meeting every other week for four months, students have the time and space to explore and reflect, to think and to practice as they are introduced to a range of subjects and writing styles. These include personal essay, memoir and life writing, travel writing, nature writing, food writing, profiles/biographies, and cultural critiques.

We will read a range of essays and books. This will include essayists by E. B. White, David Sedaris, Rebecca Solnit, Kathryn Schulz, or Roxane Gay. These also include the very best in food writing (The Gastronomical Me by M. F. K. Fisher), travel writing (Venice by Jan Morris) and nature writing (The Outermost House) by Henry Beston.

The course provides the encouragement and positive environment for students to follow their own particular passions and be attuned to new areas of interest.  Each class is different in content but follows a structure: social time, lecture, discussion, and workshops. Lectures vary in subject and include talks on everything from special topics to techniques to history. Discussions are based on assigned readings. Workshops are potent and valuable: they are supportive places of considerable growth for students, and often the first opportunity to receive feedback and to hear how their writing lands on others. All classes are interspersed with impromptu writing prompts and exercises.

Students have the opportunity to write 4-5 essays over the course of the autumn. Students will learn how to develop ideas through mind-mapping, journaling, and outlining, and will receive detailed feedback on all writing.  Kathryn’s classes are positive, lively, and engaging. Whether your aim is publication or personal journal, this course will make a lasting impact on your writing life as each student’s writing journey is respected, curated, and supported.

LEARNING AIMS

  • Learn to identify and practice the terms, tools, and techniques used by writers of narrative nonfiction.
  • Read and discuss a wide range of fabulous narrative nonfiction essays and books.
  • Discover and express your own writing voice.
  • Write 4-5 essays over four months in your own areas of interest.
  • Benefit from the practices, mindset, and experiences of a professional writer.
  • Enjoy the supportive structure of a writing community.

TUITION & TIME

  • £425.
  • Every other Sunday from Sept 12-Dec 19
  • 7-9 PM GMT / 2-5 PM Eastern / 11-1 PM Pacific
  • Limited to 14 people. Eight 2-hour sessions.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Kathryn’s teaching philosophy is focused on encouraging a uniquely personal exploration of narrative nonfiction. At its core, she believe teaching is about responding to each student, whether they are emerging writers or writing beyond the level of content mastery. She creates a supportive learning environment that fosters creative expression, critical thinking, and individual artistic growth.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Kathryn is a New York Times bestselling author and passionate practitioner of narrative nonfiction whose work has been reviewed around the world. For more than twenty-five years, she has taught writing and literature courses at colleges and universities including Western Washington University, Everett Community College, and Plymouth University. She has a global mentoring practice, thriving online writing courses, and leads in-person writing and design courses throughout the United States.

GIVING

As a volunteer Trustee for The Ashdown Forest Foundation, Kathryn donates 5% of all proceeds from her writing courses to the Conservators of Ashdown Forest.  Learn more here Fundraising (ashdownforest.org)