Creative Nonfiction Writing Courses (English) (CNW)

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

CNW Courses

This is a list of courses with the subject code CNW. For more information, see English (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences) in the catalog.

CNW:1620 Introduction to Creative Nonfiction 3 s.h.

Exploration of creative nonfiction genres through readings, discussion, and writing exercises; introduction to workshop environment. GE: Engineering Be Creative; Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.

CNW:2680 The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction 3 s.h.

How we tell stories: every time people talk about themselves, someone they know, places visited or events experienced; creation of a story with intention to entertain and inform a particular audience; how to create compelling, thought-provoking, and resonant texts from raw material of daily life; exploration of three fundamentals of great storytelling: taking emotional and intellectual risks, being imaginatively rigorous, and revising, revising, revising. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as ENGL:2730.

CNW:2700 The Art and Craft of Personal Writing 3 s.h.

Moments of wonder, confusion, and blips in memory that can reveal deep and complicated truths in life; different kinds of personal writing with focus on strategies that writers employ to create rich and compelling stories; character, scene, voice, point of view, suspense, and timing. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2710 The Art and Craft of Food Writing 3 s.h.

Vivid prose that evokes memories, moods, places, and events; creating a visceral bond with readers as powerful as in any other art form; basics of food writing; how to heighten awareness of physical world through exercises that focus on sensory details.

CNW:2720 The Art and Craft of Writing About Culture 3 s.h.

Writing about the culture surrounding us: literature, songs, movies, magazines, television, food, concerts, theater, commercials, billboards, comic books, internet, museums, sports, architecture; readings, field trips, and multiple approaches to writing. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2730 The Art and Craft of Science Writing 3 s.h.

Introduction to science writing; development of a clear and engaging prose style through readings and workshops. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2740 The Art and Craft of Writing about the Environment 3 s.h.

Tradition of nature writing and how it has inspired writers, artists, and activists to find more complicated and daring interpretations of what constitutes an environment; reading and writing that challenges assumptions and pushes boundaries of environmental writing and nonfiction. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2760 The Art and Craft of Writing for Social Change 3 s.h.

How nonfiction writers have responded to tumultuous social, political, and cultural topics of their day through reading and writing.

CNW:2770 The Art and Craft of Writing for New Media 3 s.h.

Fundamental elements of new media; readings that celebrate and challenge today's newest experiments in podcasts, video games, internet, Twitter feeds, and Tumblr narratives; crafting and critiquing texts in these media. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2780 The Art and Craft of Writing About Sports 3 s.h.

Introduction to sports writing through reading and writing. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2790 The Art and Craft of Humor Writing 3 s.h.

How comedy functions as one of many tools writers have at their disposal through reading and writing. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2820 The Art and Craft of the Literary Essay 3 s.h.

Different forms of the essay—reviews, memoirs, profiles, travelogues, journalism, cultural criticism—through readings and writing.

CNW:2830 The Art and Craft of Immersion Journalism 3 s.h.

Immersion in fieldwork, leading to nonfiction writing; writer-in-residence for a particular place, institution, or organization; observation and exploration of everything that happens within those boundaries. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2840 The Art and Craft of Travel Writing 3 s.h.

How to capture a journey's details and sensations through explorations of character, scene, point of view, and timing; why a person does not need to be a world traveler to become a compelling "writer about place"; readings, field trips, multiple approaches to workshopping. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2850 The Art and Craft of Writing About Politics 3 s.h.

How to observe and reveal complex personalities, relationships, beliefs, and histories that underlie political events and races; strong emphasis on how to gather field research and shape it into compelling literary prose; Iowa's unique role in political theater. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2910 Writing for Applications and Awards 3 s.h.

Practical exploration of how to prepare applications for fellowships, awards, grants, and graduate schools; emphasis on composing and revising personal statements, project narratives, funding proposals; fundamentals of how to clearly, concisely, and compellingly present ideas to specialized and general audiences. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:2991 Publishing I: Introduction to Literary Publishing 3 s.h.

Laboratory-style class offering step-by-step breakdown of fundamental professional and creative skills needed for jobs in the literary publishing world. Become familiar with key roles and responsibilities, such as identifying and defining a corner of the market, soliciting commissions, and assuming editorial oversight through copyediting, design, budgeting, and deadline management, while simultaneously practicing each of these roles to bring individual bespoke publications to press by semester's end. Hands-on, experiential learning. Same as ENGL:2741, WRIT:2991.

CNW:2992 Publishing II: Advanced Literary Publication 3 s.h.

Supervised, extended practice of the skills core to landing possible literary publishing jobs. Working collectively, as if part of a professional publishing house, bring a single,themed book to publication. Handle all aspects of the publication process, assuming the roles of writers, editors, art directors, designers, and marketers, culminating in a book launch. Hands-on, real-life work experience combined with exploration of inner workings of the industry, such as how agenting works to preparing for the first internship. Prerequisites: CNW:2991. Same as ENGL:2742, WRIT:2992.

CNW:3600 Issues in Creative Nonfiction 3 s.h.

Exploration and discussion of a single topic in creative nonfiction through a variety of reading assignments and creative writing exercises. Same as ENGL:3800.

CNW:3630 Advanced Nonfiction Writing 3 s.h.

Essay writing; focus on workshop environment. Prerequisites: CNW:2830 or CNW:2720 or CNW:2840 or CNW:2710 or CNW:2700 or CNW:2760 or CNW:2910 or CNW:2780 or CNW:2850 or CNW:2730 or CNW:2740 or CNW:2770 or CNW:2820 or CNW:2680 or CNW:2790. Requirements: undergraduate standing. Same as ENGL:3730.

CNW:3632 Prose Style 3 s.h.

Sentences: how they work, what they do; how sentences can help writing, expand understanding of prose style, stretch options. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as ENGL:3732, WRIT:3632.

CNW:3633 Personal Writing 3 s.h.

Study of personal writing. Same as ENGL:3733.

CNW:3640 Writing for Business 3 s.h.

Foundational skills for careers in the humanities including building portfolios, résumés, cover letters, and interview skills for job searches; professional communication and protocol; and exploring career opportunities. GE: Engineering Be Creative.

CNW:3660 Multimedia Writing 3 s.h.

Multidisciplinary sessions mixing media production, creative nonfiction, and literary theory; topics ranging from hypertext authoring and electronic magazine publishing to sound art and digital video; principles and practices of writing for alternative media, theoretical understanding of how various media frame the situation; radio essay, video essay, interactive animation, web authoring, electronic magazine publishing. Same as ENGL:3760.

CNW:3661 Film and Writing 3 s.h.

Writers' introduction to digital video; compelling forms of nonfiction filmmaking from the film essay to the environmental documentary; how to convert texts into film, conduct interviews, and shoot and edit digital video. Same as ENGL:3761.

CNW:3663 Radio and Writing 3 s.h.

Writing with sound; introduction to radio essays and documentaries with focus on digital audio; analyze key radio works and essayists; produce voiceovers, record interviews, mix music, edit sound and spoken texts in making radio art. Same as ENGL:3763.

CNW:3664 Writing About Science 3 s.h.

Writing about science and technology from neurobiology to astrophysics; exploration of classic literary nonfiction on the sciences; focus on various stylistic practices for making complex topics compelling for a general audience and developing a clear and readable prose style. Same as ENGL:3764.

CNW:4355 Approaches to Teaching Writing 3 s.h.

Theories, practices, strategies, and history of writing and teaching writing. GE: Engineering Be Creative. Same as EDTL:4355.

CNW:4631 Advanced Essay Workshop 3 s.h.

Experience working on new nonfiction projects, drafting and preparing one piece throughout a semester; individualized work to promote understanding of and creation in genres of nonfiction writing. Requirements: undergraduate standing and successful completion of one CNW course. Same as ENGL:4731.

CNW:4635 Advanced Creative Nonfiction Writing 3 s.h.

Close work with faculty and peers on advanced creative nonfiction writing projects. Requirements: one 2000- or 3000-level CNW course. Same as ENGL:4735.

CNW:4690 Undergraduate Project in Nonfiction Writing arr.

CNW:5375 Teaching in a Writing Center 3 s.h.

Seminar/practicum to prepare graduate students to teach in the University of Iowa Writing Center or similar settings; seminar component on writing and reading processes, tutoring strategies, English-as-a-second-language issues; practicum experience tutoring in the Writing Center. Same as RHET:5375.

CNW:6400 Nonfiction Writing Program Salon 4 s.h.

Contemporary issues in the field of literary nonfiction, including discussions of genre, hybridity, and facticity; occasional generative writing exercises; periodic discussions and questions and answers with visiting writers and scholars from around campus. Requirements: must be taken in the third year in the Nonfiction Writing Program without exception.

CNW:6600 Teaching Nonfiction 3 s.h.

Theories and practices of teaching nonfiction writing; writing workshop approaches, strategies to encourage response and revision, connections between reading and writing, diversity of form, language, and assessment.

CNW:6610 Essay Writing Workshop 3-4 s.h.

CNW:6620 Nonfiction Writing Workshop arr.

Intensive workshop focusing on student work; students will have an essay critiqued and a conference with the advisor; wide-ranging discussion dealing with various aspects of this multi-faceted genre and new trends in contemporary nonfiction.

CNW:6630 Graduate Thesis Workshop 4 s.h.

Thesis work in supportive workshop environment. Prerequisites: CNW:6610 and CNW:6620.

CNW:6650 Readings in Nonfiction 3 s.h.

CNW:6651 A History of the Essay 3-4 s.h.

Survey of the roots of the creative essay and its development through literary history; periodic lectures, discussion, and class presentations on the ways cultures have employed the essay throughout that history, and the formal innovations that have been introduced to the genre along the way. Requirements: must be taken in the first year in the Nonfiction Writing Program without exception.

CNW:6654 Forms of the Essay arr.

CNW:6656 Approaches to Nonfiction 3 s.h.

Investigation into forms of nonfiction writing.

CNW:6660 Twenty-first-Century Nonfiction arr.

CNW:6666 Performance and Profession 3 s.h.

Making and maintaining a writing career, with lessons on navigating the writer's job market; developing cover letters and curriculum vitaes, interviewing, finding an agent, negotiating with publishers, handling social media, and delivering a reading.

CNW:7073 Ethnographic Methods, Theories, and Texts 3 s.h.

Practical and theoretical background for conducting ethnographic field studies in literacy, schooling, language, or a field of student's choice; methods, methodologies, and perspectives from anthropology, sociology, folklore, journalism, literary criticism, cultural, critical, and composition theory; read historical and contemporary ethnography, consider ethnographic forms of expression (films, graphics, fiction, poems); roles, responsibilities, and ethics of writer, reader, viewer, and informant; tools, methods, and writer's techniques to develop an ethnographic portfolio. Prerequisites: PSQF:7331 or EDTL:7070 or CSED:7338 or EPLS:7373. Same as EDTL:7073.

CNW:7900 Special Project in Nonfiction Writing arr.

CNW:7950 Thesis in Nonfiction Writing arr.