August 2018 | Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all the latest genre news and other special announcements from CNF. 

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"Memoir can't rely on plot as a novel does, yet it has to move over some kind of narrative high wire."
- PATRICIA HAMPL, "Daydream Believer"

Creative Nonfiction & True Story

The current issue of Creative Nonfiction is dedicated to starting over. The essays collected in this issue tell stories of all kinds of fresh starts, at all ages and stages of life. Collectively, they show how we are all—always—works in progress, and how in the face of great difficulties and even tragedy, most of us have a resilient streak and a tendency toward hope.

Plus, encouraging vulnerability in the creative writing classroom; Patricia Hampl explores the “essay mind”; coming to terms with chronic illness; tiny truths; and more.

In the latest issue of True Story, #20: "6'3" Man with Doritos," Matthew Clark, a married man on the verge of midlife who is home alone for a month, revisits old letters from his first love and wonders why it's so hard to apologize. This issue is more than just a snack; it's a hearty piece of longform guaranteed to fill you up.

Subscribe today ›
Subscriptions start with Creative Nonfiction #67 and/or True Story #20.

We Want Your Best Stuff

We're seeking submissions for upcoming issues of CNF and True Story:

Nov 19
Games (a special issue of CNF)
What we’re looking for: True stories about the role of games and play in our everyday lives, the ways our society integrates games, and especially games whose impact transcends entertainment and changes us in ways outside of the gaming context.

True Story (monthly mini-magazine)
What it is: Each issue of True Story features one exceptional work of creative nonfiction, distributed in print and digitally.
What we're looking for: Previously unpublished works of narrative nonfiction between 5,000 and 10,000 words long, on any subject, in any style. Surprise us!

Pitch Us a Column
What we're looking for: Have an idea for a literary timeline? An opinion on essential texts for readers and/or writers? An in-depth, working knowledge of a specific type of nonfiction? Pitch us your ideas. We're always accepting query letters for the non-essay sections of the magazine. We're especially interested in pitches related to upcoming themes: Intoxication, Home, Sex, and Games.

Write Now at Creative Nonfiction

CNF’s writing workshops can help you get motivated, find a writing community, and more.


Aug 25
The Writer as Detective
Investigate & Solve Your Story

From investigative journalism to historical research, and whether they’re pursuing a contemporary subject or looking for inside dope on someone who died 100 years ago, successful historians, biographers, and other nonfiction writers know how to dig deep for the essential and telling facts. In this workshop, you'll learn how to find and follow hidden trails that lead you to the deeper story.

Oct 13
Truly Funny
Writing Your Story, Humorously

A little humor can enliven nonfiction writing, and true stories can offer support to humor. This workshop with humorist and New Yorker “Shouts and Murmurs” contributor Shannon Reed will explore both of these angles. First, you’ll learn the fundamentals of writing humor and begin to craft funny pieces together and individually. Then, you’ll look at how the same ideas can be applied in nonfiction writing.

Nov 3
Excavating Memory
Think like an Archaeologist & Reveal New Literary Material

When writing personal narrative, it can be easy to overlook or discount the most telling details from your life because they are familiar or too commonplace to warrant notice. But for archaeologists, everyday objects are material evidence, full of meaning that helps us realign the deeper truth of experience with the stories we tell about who we are and how we live. Learn how applying an archaeological approach to your project can bring fresh insights.

New to our writing programs? Save 50% on your first workshop when you use discount code WORKSHOP50 during checkout.

Want to stay up to date on local Pittsburgh events?
Follow our new Events & Workshops at Creative Nonfiction Facebook page.

Tell Your Story, Better

Our online classes have helped over 2,700 writers tell their stories better. How can we help you?

Learn on a flexible schedule that fits your needs. Participants receive personal feedback from their instructors on each assignment, and all instructors are university professors and/or working professional writers. Firm deadlines and feedback help keep you writing and improving your work throughout each class.

The 5- and 10-week fall sessions begin September 10, 2018.

New! Advanced Science Writing
Take a deep dive into the structures and narrative arcs of excellent science essays and address ethics, revision, and marketing your work

Approaching Mystery: Writing Flash Memoir about Wonder & the Unexplained
Capture the absurd or surreal quality of everyday life and tell a meaningful story in as few words as possible

Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp
Kick-start your writing with our most popular class. Start that long-delayed project, develop essential writing habits with daily writing prompts, and reach your goals
[Can't commit to 10 weeks? We have a 5-week option!]

Flash Essay
Distill experiences, big or small, into their purest essence

Foundations of Creative Nonfiction
Your introduction to the genre. Learn how literary techniques can help you turn bare facts and memories into compelling personal and journalistic essays

Spiritual Writing
Find the balance between the personal and the powerful, and learn how to share your deepest truths with readers of differing beliefs or traditions

The Thirty Minute Memoir
Break down the task of writing a memoir into manageable daily writing assignments

Writing the Personal Essay
Whether you're a beginning or more experienced writer, learn how to tell your story with dialogue and detail while gaining a deeper understanding of form and structure

Writing the Tough Stuff
Explore the nuances of writing about grief, loss, and pain, and become more comfortable approaching tough topics in your own writing

[NOTE: The Advanced Personal Essay and Advanced Memoir courses are full.]

Enroll today
Classes begin Monday, September 10

Questions? Please email our director of online education, Sharla Yates, at

Save the Date

May 23–25, 2019
The 2019 Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference
Three days exploring the art, craft & business of true stories
Point Park University // Pittsburgh, PA

We've already begun planning for next year's conference. Be the first to hear when registration opens. Sign up to receive an alert ›

Welcome to our newest board member!

We're excited to announce that Yona Harvey is the newest addition to Creative Nonfiction's Foundation Board!

If you don't already know her, she is a poet and essayist, a contributing writer to Marvel Comics' best-selling Black Panther series, and an assistant professor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.

We are honored to have her as a part of our board!

Visit Yona's website.



Can you tell a true story in a tweet?

Our daily Twitter contest is a great way to get your work into Creative Nonfiction. To join, follow us @cnfonline and tag your submissions #cnftweet.

Here are a few of our recent favorites:

@WilliamReagan: As the waitress gracefully pivots between three talkative tables, each with a different idea of what "funny" is, it's clear that 15% is insufficient compensation for her skills.
3:24 PM - 6 Jul 2018

@tinamozelle: After Dad’s heart-attack, my aunt pleads with the ultrasound tech “You’d do it if it were a baby. Why not let me carry home a picture of my brother’s heart?”
10:42 AM - 8 Jul 2018

@anikawriter: The lake water rose until the dock was a few inches below the surface, invisible at some angles. Two minnows darted across it and a box turtle scrambled over it. We took our shoes off and walked on water, suspended between there and here.
9:49 PM - 22 Jul 2018

@deborahcrooks: Fifteen years old, having taken myself to Planned Parenthood on a bus, I was mystified at the level of the clinician’s concern. I thought myself a responsible latchkey kid. My gratitude for both her reason and care has only multiplied exponentially in the decades since.
6:10 PM - 23 Jul 2018

@MPMcCune2: When my son was little, he had many dinosaur toys. We overheard him talking as he played with them one day and stopped to eavesdrop:
"Grr!" the T-Rex said attacking the apatosaurus. "Sorry!"
"Grr!" the apatosaurus said attacking the T-Rex. "Sorry!"
3:13 PM - 29 Jul 2018

All past winners are available on our profile page under the "Likes" tab.

Want to know more about the art of micro-essaying? Read this roundtable discussion with some of our more prolific #cnftweet-ers.


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