A variable topics workshop in the writing of creative nonfiction. Topics will vary from semester to semester and may include "Nature Writing," "Life Writing," "History of the Essay," and more.
ENGL 309 Topics in Nonfiction Writing: Immersion Journalism
Instructor: Kimberly Meyer www.kimberlyerinmeyer.com
English Department Concentration:
Creative Writing Concentration
Immersion Journalism begins in fascination—with an unfamiliar subculture, with another human being, with an experience. It uses the writer’s curiosity as a way into that subject. It requires direct and intimate engagement with this new world outside the self. At the same time, this exploration of a world beyond can sometimes lead to a deeper understanding of the interior world of the writer.
Immersion journalists have traveled through the Deep South in search of early recordings of the Blues, played sick for medical students and gone undercover in an insane asylum and as a minimum wage worker, spent years interviewing survivors of the Chernobyl disaster, traveled down the Mississippi River in a steam punk boat, crossed the border between the US and Mexico with human smugglers, embedded in the largest refugee camp in the world, toured an evangelical-run “Hell House” on Halloween, followed Civil War re-enactors, pieced together the story of Hurricane Katrina and concluded that survivors there built a kind of paradise in hell.
What fascinates you? What is the subject in which you’ll immerse yourself?
This course employs a two-part strategy—critical reading and creative practice—that will give you the tools you need to engage in this kind of participatory writing. We will read widely in the field of Immersion Journalism to generate techniques and ideas for our own individual research and exploration. And we will work both collectively and one-on-one to craft polished pieces.