Tell your story, better.
Creative Nonfiction's online classes give you the opportunity to learn in a small classroom environment on your own time. Write at night, on your lunch break... even in your underwear. All you need is an Internet connection and a little motivation.
Participants receive personalized feedback on assignments from their instructor, as well as responses from classmates on discussion board forums. All instructors are university professors and/or working professional writers--and there are never more than 14 students in any class. Conversation, firm deadlines, and feedback help keep you writing and improving your work throughout the class.
Whether you're just starting out or looking for an advanced class to help you refine and polish your work, we have a course for you. Class sessions begin in January, March, July, and September. Because of the flexible nature of our courses, we can gladly accept students from all across the globe.
See what past students have to say about our growing writing community.
If you're looking for a learning environment that features one-on-one interactions, customized coursework, and an individualized schedule, check out CNF's Mentoring Program.
Summer Classes: Now Enrolling
July 6 - August 2
Please note: Many of our classes have only a few spaces left, and will likely fill before classes begin. If you are thinking about enrolling in a summer class we advise signing up immediately. (June 25, 2015)
New! The Art of the Pitch
Instructor: Emma Pearse - Every magazine article begins with a pitch. (Also, every opinion column, every 300-word blog post, every New York Post lifestyle feature, every long or short essay in a literary or academic publication). The pitch sells your idea to editors who can a) give you your first byline and b) are receiving pitch emails by the minute. This course explores the magazine world’s version of Hollywood’s “elevator pitch”—the email that can launch your article writing career. By the end of the course, students will have developed an idea from an inkling into at least one sparkling pitch email that editors will just not be able to ignore. Learn more / Enroll »
Creative Nonfiction Summer Boot Camp
Instructors: Waverly Fitzgerald // Joelle Fraser // Rhonda J. Miller - You want to do it. You mean to do it. You’re going to do it, really…a bit later. It’s the summer, after all, and you’ve got the time. But somehow that writing you’ve been meaning to get around to just never seems to happen. Creative Nonfiction’s summer boot camp is a 4-week course to ensure that you will get around to that summer writing, by providing firm deadlines, daily writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you’ll also develop the habit of writing regularly, which will serve you well all year long. At the end of 4 weeks, if you’ve completed the minimum number of assignments, you’ll have an essay of between 3,600 and 6,000 words, or at least a dozen passages to use as starting points for future essays (or some combination of the two). Learn more / Enroll »
Instructor: Barrett Swanson - What are the limits of creative nonfiction? At what point does an essay leave the world of fact and enter the realm of fiction or poetry? Are the borders between these genres rigid and unyielding, or are they porous? How can a writer move seamlessly between them during the course of a single essay in order to communicate more effectively the complexity of his or her experience? In this class, we will explore a variety of strategies for innovation in nonfiction writing. We’ll study new exhilarating developments in the genre, encountering the work of many contemporary practitioners of the craft, and discuss which subjects lend themselves to these cutting-edge techniques. Participants will learn about experimental structures, hybrid forms, and nonstandard narrative perspectives. Class members will write two short 500 word vignettes and one 3,000 word essay. Registration Full.
New! Food Writing
Instructor: Emily Stone - We live in a foodie moment. Cookbooks are our bedtime reading and narrative nonfiction books on food politics are best sellers. We've become exponentially more knowledgeable about where our food comes from, how it's produced, and how it should taste than we were ten years ago. We've also gotten to be very good at sharing our opinions (and our photos) about what we eat on the internet. There are more and more ways to be a food writer, even a professional food writer, though making a living at it is getting harder and harder. Together we’ll explore these options and obstacles. Students will try out weekly exercises and design their own final projects of up to 3500 words. Learn more / Enroll »
Introduction to Nonfiction Podcasting
Instructor: Rhonda J. Miller - Creating your own audio podcasts for work, sharing information with an organization, or just for fun is an increasingly popular way to communicate. Streaming audio and mobile devices make it easy to connect, whether it’s an instructional audio program for co-workers or a holiday greeting for friends and family. This course offers the foundation for creating podcasts, including whittling down your story idea to a finely-focused narrative, vocal technique, recording, audio editing and options for distribution. The project for the course is a basic 3-to-5 minute podcast. No prior technical experience is required. Learn more / Enroll »
Instructor: Marty Levine - In this class participants will explore magazine writing (also known as immersion writing or narrative journalism), in which the writer observes, participates in, researches, and otherwise intimately explores his or her subject. Narrative journalists practice what author Gay Talese has called “the art of hanging out,” becoming a part of the stories they write and exploring the world around them with a writer’s eyes to create the kinds of profiles and investigative pieces you see in magazines like Esquire, The New Yorker, Harper’s, or The Atlantic. Participants will choose a topic to investigate in-depth, and will explore this topic by writing two short pieces and one essay of up to 4,000 words. Registration Full.
New! Spiritual Writing
Instructor: Jonathan Callard - In this class we will read selections from essays and memoir in the spiritual writing genre and try composing our own versions of this material. We will ask, what, if anything, can make nonfiction writing “spiritual”? How do we write about something so personal and powerful and share it with an audience of differing beliefs or traditions? How can we move beyond the saccharine to illuminate a truth? Participants will choose a spiritual question or subject to explore in-depth, and will investigate this topic by writing two 500-word pieces and one article/essay of up to 4,000 words. We will focus on getting started, gathering material, and revising for publication. Writers from all backgrounds and faiths are welcome. Registration Full.
Writing the Personal Essay
Instructor: Meghan O’Gieblyn - Writing allows us to share the defining moments of our lives, and what we have learned from them, with a larger audience. In this class we will explore the personal essay, considering the balance between truth and subjectivity, how to turn personal stories into compelling reading, and how to effectively convey emotion through writing. Participants will write two short pieces and one essay. Registration Full.
Please follow the links below for more information on upcoming and future sessions:
- Inactive Classes
- Our Instructors
- How do the classes work?
- Why Creative Nonfiction?
- Testimonials and Publications by CNF Students
- Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact Anjali Sachdeva, Director of Educational Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous and/or Upcoming Classes
Advanced Memoir and Personal Essay - Curriculum A
Tackle larger and more challenging forms while learning the essentials of structure, character development, and researching memories.
Advanced Memoir and Personal Essay - Curriculum B
Work on theme, structure and experimental forms in this course for advanced writers. The reading list and assignments are entirely separate from Curriculum A, so students may wish to take both courses.
Audio Storytelling & Podcasting
Explore ways to create nonfiction narratives using the power of sound
Blogging for the Writer
How do you get readership for your blog? How do you make your blog pieces distinct and resonant? In this multi-week workshop, we will discuss "best practices" for successful blogging.
Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp
Write every day. No matter what.
Foundations of Creative Nonfiction - Curriculum A & B
Perfect for writers who are new to the genre, or anyone who wants to brush up on the basics.
Become a "fly on the wall" in our immersion journalism course. Students learn to observe, interview, and intimately explore their subject to craft a magazine-ready piece.
Designed specifically for medical professionals to learn the basics of narrative writing. We know you have work stories to tell--we'll help you craft them.
Get past that first draft and start editing. Work on the large scale (structure, voice) and small scale (style and language choices) to get your story ready for the world.
Selling Your Work: A Writer's Guide
Gain insight into the world of publishing and learn the skills necessary for corresponding with editors, submitting work for publication, applying for grants and writing residencies, and more.
The perfect post-vacation class (or reason to explore your own city). Hone your observation skills and get the world on the page through detail, scene and imagery.
Have an in-depth conversation about literary techniques and craft with a small group of writers every week. The course meets over video chat to discuss each student's work twice per term.
Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal
You've got a book idea or maybe you've even written the book--now what? Learn about the publishing process in this course and fine-tune your own proposal with an instructor who's been through it before.
Writing the Personal Essay - Curriculum A & B
Turn your anecdotes into moving essays with facts, characters, and detail.
Writing the Tough Stuff
Learn the nuances of writing about grief, loss, and pain, and how to approach tough topics in your own writing.