English | Writing Creative Nonfiction
W311 | 28105 | Alyce Miller
W311 WRITING CREATIVE NONFICTION
PREREQUISITES: Requires permission of instructor.
28105 - 2:30p-3:45p TR (15 students) 3 cr.
TOPIC: "The Personal Essay"
This exciting writing class is open to all interested applicants
who have successfully completed either W103, W203 (fiction or
poetry), W301/303, or the equivalent, with at least a B, and have a
sincere interest in writing creative nonfiction with a focus on the
personal essay. You do not have to be an English major to apply, and
nontraditional students are always extra-welcome!
The application process is easy. Please send an email text (no
attachments, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org in which you include
1. Ten pages (maximum) of your best or most interesting writing
(fiction, poetry, nonfiction).
2. A paragraph or two about yourself: other writing classes, what
grade you received, your reasons for wanting to take a class in
3. A current I.U. email address and your full name
4. Please write the words Application to W311 on the subject line of
Please use your IU account to send the email, as emails from other
sources may inadvertently end up in junk mail. If you have not
heard back within a week of your application, please follow up.
Students are admitted and authorized as they apply, so you are
encouraged to get your applications in as early as possible to
increase your chances. This class fills quickly.
Class will be organized around weekly themes, generated from
readings by such varied practitioners of the personal essay across
culture, century, and experience: Seneca, Sei Shonagon. Charles
Lamb, Virginia Woolf, Jorge Luis Borges, Roland Barthes, Natalia
Ginzberg, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Edward Hoagland, Joy Williams,
Alice Walker, Edwidge Danticat, Joanna Beard, Luc Sante, Fred
D’Aguiar, Edward Abbey, Gerald Early John Edgar Wideman, Cynthia
Ozick, Darryl Pinckney, Richard Selzer, Cheryl Strayed, etc.
Some of our themes may include constructing the “self” in relation
to family, love, the heart in conflict, the human body, animals,
medicine, law, culture, society, social justice, travel, etc. You
will be asked to write short as well as long essays, using your own
life and interests as subject matter.
Class format: we’ll focus on close readings and discussions of
assigned essays, and workshop (your own writings). You will write
approximately 35-40 pages of creative nonfiction over the semester
which will be shown according to a workshop schedule.. Other
assignments might include an occasional quiz, a few short critical
presentations on the readings, and a short, end-of-the semester
exam over the readings. Enthusiastic participation in workshop
discussions and the willingness to give and receive constructive
criticism in discussions, as well as in written critiques, are key.
Please visit the English department website for more information