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  
TBA - Eve Lazarus $567.00 20 -

Instructional hours: 24

About the instructor

  • Eve Lazarus

    Eve Lazarus is a journalist, blogger and the author of nine books of non-fiction. She is a former Vancouver Sun reporter and has written for a variety of newspapers and magazines including the Globe and MailStyle at HomeCostco Connection and Marketing Magazine. Her books include Murder by MilkshakeBlood, Sweat, and FearCold Case Vancouver; and Sensational Vancouver. 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 and shortlisted for Best National True Crime book (Arthur Ellis Awards), the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award (BC Book Prizes), and the City of Vancouver Book Awards. Her latest book Vancouver Exposed: searching for the city’s hidden history will be published in the fall of 2020. 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.


Course schedule

  • Mark Winston
  • Eve Lazarus - "Whether you are looking to start a blog or a podcast, publish an article, or are well on the way to completing a book, bring along your ideas and work-in-progress to this interactive classroom. As an author and former reporter, I take a boots-on-the-ground approach to interviewing, research and turning fact gathering into compelling stories. There are in-class writing exercises, field trips, guest speakers and plenty of time devoted to workshopping your writing with your peers. We’ll also spend time working on strategies to put you on the path to publication.” 

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

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

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)

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