Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Next Steps
18-week online writing course begins Monday 19 September 2022
Join Dan Richards, author of five works of creative non-fiction including Holloway, Climbing Days and Outpost for an 18-week in-depth online creative writing course. This intermediate course builds on the expertise acquired at an introductory level and has a focus on using place and locations in creative non-fiction.
In this course you will read deeply from a wide variety of non-fiction texts, you will take place in a series of live zoom sessions and 1-1 tutorials, and you will broaden the possibilities of your creative non-fiction writing. By the end of the course, you will have an essay-length piece of completed creative non-fiction.
Classes are capped at 15 places to ensure a high-quality experience.
What the course covers
Module 1 – What is Creative Nonfiction
In this module, you’ll define exactly what creative non-fiction is and what it isn’t, and you’ll have a look at some different examples of creative nonfiction. You’ll also take a first look into reportage, on which your first assignment will be due, and you’ll also listen to the way audio-only programmes use creative non-fiction.
Module 2 – Landscape
In this module, you will explore the non-fiction need to be holistic and open to new ideas and voices when seeking to write and tell stories about the world. You will focus on the locations around you to begin with, and their importance to the narrative you are shaping. You will learn to dive deeper than the surface of your surroundings to analyse and interrogate the spaces around you. For your assignment, you’ll describe looking at a familiar place through different eyes and will take a walk around an area you know well but at an unusual time.
Module 3 – The Essay
This module focuses on writing in a honed, clear, and concise manner whilst also telling a story and forming a connection between your reader and the people and places you are writing about. You’ll read and write short essays that evoke deep emotional responses, and you’ll listen to audio broadcasts that challenge the boundaries of creative non-fiction. Your assignment will ask you to both read and record your own essay. Your feedback for this assignment will come in the form of a 1-2-1 tutorial with your tutor.
Module 4 – Nature Writing
In this module you’ll focus on the world around you, turning the living breathing creatures and landscapes into words on a page. You’ll begin this module with a group session on zoom, you’ll read examples of some of the best nature writing, and for your assignment, you’ll observe an aspect of nature over the course of a week.
Module 5 – Travel
This module will ask you to write about physical journeys. Whether you’re a travel writer or not, your pathway through non-fiction will very likely include a journey to a destination, and through this module, you will capture that journey in writing. You’ll write about books or objects that have led you on physical journeys and your assignment will ask you to write about a journey you took long ago.
Module 6 – The Body
This final module will tackle the place you live all the time – within your own body. You’ll explore the thorny world of research and you’ll find yourself within the bodies of others through your reading. The module will draw together everything you’ve learned about writing creative non-fiction and place, and your final, longer, assignment will allow you to write up to 2,000 words on a subject of your choice. Your feedback for this assignment will also take the form of a 1-1 tutorial with your tutor.
By the end of the course you will have
- Understood the different types of non-fiction
- Used place to ground your non-fiction
- Explored nature writing
- Written about a physical journey
- Explored travel writing
- Written an essay-length piece
- Recorded a piece of writing.
Applying to the course
This is an intermediate-level course. To apply, we ask that you submit:
- A 500-word sample of your work
- A one-paragraph introduction to yourself.
Email email@example.com to apply.
- Please format your email’s subject line: ‘[your name] application for Creative Non-Fiction’.
- Application deadline Midday GMT Wednesday 7th September.
- Applications are assessed and places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Committing to an 18-week course is a big decision for any writer. If you have any questions at all please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About your tutor
Dan Richards was born in Wales in 1982. His first book, Holloway — co-authored with Robert Macfarlane & illustrated by Stanley Donwood — was published by Faber in 2013 and become a Sunday Times bestseller. Dan’s second book, The Beechwood Airship Interviews (HarperCollins, 2015), took a journey into the creative process, head-spaces and workplaces of some of Britain’s celebrated artists, craftsman and technicians including Bill Drummond, Judi Dench, Jenny Saville, Manic Street Preachers and Stewart Lee. Climbing Days (Faber, 2016), an exploration of the writing and climbing lives of Dan’s great-great-aunt and uncle — Dorothy Pilley & I.A. Richards, was highly commended at the 2017 Stanfords Travel Awards.
Dan’s most recent book, Outpost, about far flung shelters and eyries, isolation and wilderness, was published by Canongate in 2019.
How it works
All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can find out more about the requirements here.
The course will run for 18 weeks and there will be 12 modules. Each module will consider an aspect of poetry and participants will work through some writing exercises. At the end of each module, the tutor will set an assignment. You will receive written feedback from your tutor for all 12 modules with hints and tips on how to strengthen your poem.
There are two scheduled Zoom sessions, dates are to be announced.
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.