Introduction to Autobiographical Non-Fiction

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.” - Mark Twain

Truth may be strange, but can it also be compelling and imaginative? How do craft and truth come together on the page? Introduction to Autobiographical Non-Fiction explores how to shape factual material into creative prose. In this four-week course, we'll focus on writing short works of autobiographical and biographical non-fiction and personal essays, emphasizing the writing process itself rather than research or fact-checking. You'll develop your voice through a combination of reading and discussing selected texts, as well as participating in in-class and take home writing exercises. We encourage you to bring one or more stories you're passionate about to the first day of class.

About the instructor

  • Amber Dawn

    Amber Dawn is a writer and creative writing instructor based in Vancouver. She is the author of the Lambda Award-winning novel Sub Rosa and the editor of Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire. Her new book, How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir, was published with Arsenal Pulp Press in April 2013. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC, and she currently teaches Speculative Fiction Writing at Douglas College. It is the first accredited speculative fiction writing course in Canada. Dawn also teaches creative writing to queer and at-risk youth.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 4 Amber Dawn $294.00 19 Register

Instructional hours: 12

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify and comfortably discuss different literary techniques used in creative non-fiction
  • Write in your own unique voice and style
  • Create a portfolio-quality short work of creative non-fiction (2,000–5,000 words) that is focused, accessible, and engaging

How will I learn?

  • Reading sample texts provided by the instructor
  • Short lectures and in-class discussions
  • Peer-driven participation

How will I be evaluated?

  • Written feedback from the instructor
  • Peer-driven feedback in the classroom

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials.

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