Creative Non-Fiction: What works, what doesn’t

How does a writer make a deep impression in a few pages? What makes a piece of writing engaging, memorable, and persuasive? In this workshop, we will read and examine two essays to identify the writerly tools used to make them powerful. To prepare, please read two short essays:

  • Colson Whitehead, “The Way We Live Now: 11-11-01; Lost and Found” online, The New York Times, November 11, 2001
  • Nancy Franklin, “No Place Like Home,” online, The New Yorker, October 16, 1995

After you’ve read each essay, go back and mark two passages you particularly admire, and two that you don’t particularly admire. Together, we’ll discuss participants’ choices to try to understand what makes these pieces work—or not work.

To be able to discuss others’ choices, and to look closely at different passages, please be sure to bring hard copies of both essays with you.

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