Start Writing Creative Non-Fiction
12-week online writing course
Discover the core techniques for writing creative non-fiction, be it a biography, reportage, nature writing or another of the many flourishing forms within this exciting field of writing. Whether you have started to write and would like help moving forward or simply have an idea you’d like to explore, this course will give you the essential tools you need to progress.
Classes are capped at 15 places to ensure a high-quality experience. Book quickly to secure your place.
This course is designed for writers aged 18+. If you’re looking for courses suitable for younger writers, check out these online workshops!
Special offer: All creative writing online courses include a free 12-week digital subscription to Granta Magazine.
Enjoy a free digital copy of Hinterland Magazine! All Start Writing Creative Non-Fiction students can access a free digital copy of Hinterland Magazine and a discount on future purchases.
Early bird discount
Book your place by 9am BST on Monday 9 August and receive 10% off your place.
What the course covers
This course will teach you how to start work on a non-fiction book. You will learn how to:
- Conduct online and archival research
- Improve your interview technique
- Create an effective structure for your non-fiction narrative
- Find the right voice (or voices) to tell the story
- Craft compelling prose that engages the reader
- Convey a sense of place in your writing
- Create a multifaceted portrayal of a biographical subject
- Polish up your general writing and communication skills
By the end of the course you will have:
- Become familiar with a range of non-fiction forms and voices
- Improved your ability to draw interesting and relevant information from documentary, visual and audio sources
- Improved your ability to extract useful information from interviewees
- A stronger understanding of how to tell a compelling story
- The necessary skills to progress your non-fiction project with confidence
It is not essential to have a work in progress before embarking on this course.
This course has been designed to give you the tools and techniques you need to write a piece of creative non-fiction. Not all the assignments and exercises will be directly related to the project or idea you are working on, but all provide transferable skills you can use for your specific project.
If you are interested in writing your own life story, please consider our Introduction to Memoir course instead.
Our tutors each have their own specialisms, so please read their short biographies at the bottom of this page before deciding which course to enrol on. All Creative Non-Fiction courses follow the same basic structure, so if you’re not sure which tutor to pick don’t worry – you’ll still come out of the course with the same core teaching.
‘I can’t commend this course highly enough. It covered all the key aspects of non-fiction writing, and along the way introduced me to authors and styles I had not met before.’ Lisa Tulfer, 2020 student
About the tutor
Edward Parnell is the author of Ghostland, a work of narrative non-fiction which was shortlisted for The Pen Ackerley Prize 2020 (Biography & Memoir) and the East Anglian Book Awards 2020 (Biography & Memoir). The Listeners, his first novel, won the Rethink New Novels Prize 2014. He has been the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. He teaches creative writing at the National Centre for Writing and the University of East Anglia.
Edward has written for numerous magazines and newspapers on natural history and conservation, and has also worked extensively in television and media production. He has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.
How it works
All you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can find out more about the requirements here.
The twelve-week course is divided into six fortnightly modules. Participants will analyse extracts from published texts and sources of information including documents and film and audio clips, before discussing them with the tutor and fellow students.
The modules are posted fortnightly. Every two weeks you will submit an assignment to your tutor, who will then respond with constructive feedback and advice.
There are two live Zoom sessions during this course – dates are to be confirmed.
This is a practical and engaging course with direct, expert tutor feedback.
‘I have nothing but praise for this course, and especially for Ed as a tutor.’ Lisa Tulfer, 2020 student
Designed by the University of East Anglia and the National Centre for Writing.