Memoirs. Travelogues. Lyric Essays. Literary Journalism. Food Writing. Nature Writing. Testimonios. Whether you are conducting an internal excavation or an external investigation, Creative Nonfiction is your genre.

In this track, we’ll start with an exploration of our own world: our childhoods and our families; our fans and our enemies; our lovers and our friends. Our quirks, our fears, our desires. Next, we’ll investigate other worlds. Like roller derbies. Bail bond agencies. Halfway houses, carnivals, funeral parlors. Then we’ll create new worlds by reinterpreting the ordinary as extraordinary—through graphics, lyricism, mosaics, and objects lost and found. Along the way, we’ll read scintillating works that take risks both in content and in form, and then we’ll strive, strive, strive to do the same. In workshop, we will ask: Where is the pulse of this essay? How can it beat louder—or deeper? Should the story follow a classic rise-fall arc or be a fractured narrative with a scrambled chronology? And as we progress through the track, we will discuss ways of feeding ourselves as artists, both figuratively and literally. We will share our motivations and strategize on sustainable ways of funding our practice. For our ultimate goal is to build a community of life-long readers with whom we can continue trading work long after our Greenlaw Hall departure.

So join us. Together, we will be pilgrims wandering the wilderness of memory. Arbiters of the dynamic Fourth Genre. We will elevate life into art. We will write words that matter.


Choose 5 courses from this track:

  • ENGL 138
  • ENGL 208
  • ENGL 412
  • ENGL 693H
  • ENGL 694H

Professors of Creative Nonfiction

Stephanie Elizondo Griest (Intro, Travel Writing, Memoir, Advanced, Honors)

Alan Shapiro (Memoir Writing)

Marianne Gingher (Memoir Writing)

Randall Kenan (Food Writing)

Bland Simpson (Nature Writing)

Matt Owens (Intro, Radio Essay, Advanced)