CPW525

Non-Fiction Series for the Weekend Student

At its core, non-fiction writing is about telling a true story that entertains and informs. It is about personal experience, real people and events told in a compelling and creative way.

In this intensive course, we will examine a broad range of non-fiction writing and explore strategies and tools to craft effective non-fiction pieces for newspapers, magazines, blogs and books.

The course will be hands-on, interactive and participatory, including exercises to expand your non-fiction toolbox, workshop opportunities to give and receive feedback and the option to receive feedback from the instructor, as well as strategies on how to move towards publication.

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

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 6 Eve Lazarus $540.74 19 Register
Vancouver 6 Mark Winston $540.74 20 Register

Instructional hours: 17

Registration may close up to one week before the course begins. 

About the instructor

  • Eve Lazarus

    Eve Lazarus is a journalist, blogger and the author of six non-fiction books. She is a former Vancouver Sun reporter and has written for a variety of newspapers and magazines including the Globe and Mail, Style at Home, Costco Connection and Marketing Magazine. Her books include the BC bestsellers Blood, Sweat and Fear: the story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver's first forensic investigator (2017); Cold Case Vancouver: the city’s most baffling unsolved murders (2015) and Sensational Vancouver (2014). She is the recipient of two Gold awards for feature writing at the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards. Her work has been recognized by the City of Vancouver (heritage award) and shortlisted for a City of Vancouver book award. She was also a 2016 finalist for the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes. Eve blogs at Every Place has a Story (evelazarus.com).

  • Mark Winston

    Mark L. Winston is the recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction for his bestselling book Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive. His work has appeared in six books receiving diverse awards, including the 2015 Science in Society General Book Award from the Canadian Science Writers Association, a CBC Best Books Award (for Bee Time) and the Sterling Prize for Controversy. His 1998 book Nature Wars was also short-listed for the BP Natural World Book Prize. He has written for many outlets, including columns for the Vancouver Sun, The New York Times, The Sciences and Orion, among others. Mark is a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, a professor and senior fellow in Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, and a professor of biological sciences.

    winstonhive.com

What will I learn?

During the course you will:

  • Explore a range of non-fiction genres, including:
    • feature magazine articles 
    • personal memoir
    • newspaper commentary
    • full-length books
    • and others
  • Construct and develop a compelling narrative for your work
  • Adopt the mantras of non-fiction writers: brevity, clarity, focus and impact
  • Work on writing great leads that draw in readers
  • Personalize your non-fiction to include your own experience
  • Identify your audience
  • Learn how to concentrate on critical detail
  • Give, and receive, feedback
  • Develop strategies for non-fiction publication

Course schedule

How will you learn?

  • Reading/analysis of diverse non-fiction writing, in and outside of class
  • Class discussions
  • Small-group in-class exercises/workshops
  • Working on your own writing
  • Reading your work in class and receiving class/instructor feedback
  • Option of individual feedback from the instructor

How will you be evaluated?

You will be evaluated on your participation and assignments. 

Textbooks and learning materials

Fall 2018

The following books are recommended for the course. You may purchase them from the SFU Bookstore, or at your local or online bookstore:

  • Renner, James. True Crime Addict; Picador, 2017. ISBN: 1250113814
  • Lazarus, Eve. Blood, Sweat, and Fear; Arsenal Pulp, 2017. ISBN: 1551526859

Spring 2019

All materials will be provided before class via email, or in class.

For general books about writing, the instructor suggests:

  • Margaret Atwood: Negotiating With the Dead
  • Stephen King: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  • Anne Lamott: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Related program(s)

Look at other courses in