Reading, Writing, Traveling: An Exploration in Creative Nonfiction

Course Description

In each of the four weeks of the class, we will read examples of the literature of place from Pico Iyer’s “Why We Travel” to Bruce Chatwin’s “In Patagonia.” These readings will be studied as models for the modes of creative nonfiction—the importance of research, the role of character study, the creation of a narrative arc. At the same time, we will consider research, character, and narrative from a theoretical and methodological perspective. Each week, you will respond to prompts about the readings. And you will be asked to draft writing that will contribute to the two short essays of about 1000 words required for the course. The first assignment will evoke a sense of “place” in experience and history whether it is a well-known monument or a place that is special to you. Peer reviews will be assigned so that you receive feedback from your classmates as well as from me. My comments are available in written form, and they are supplemented by ZOOM writing conferences. The second essay will be a revised and expanded version of the first on the basis of what you have learned from our comments. As the course ends, your work will be shared in a class journal.

During this course, you will:

• Develop a personal voice
• Inform that voice through research
• Sketch character
• Develop narrative

This course is a good foundation for college work in creative nonfiction writing.


This class is intended for high school sophomores, juniors, seniors with an interest in developing their English-language writing skills in preparation for college. There are no prerequisites.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 4 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Stephen Foley
Course Number: 10365