Writing in English: Creative Non-Fiction in English

Course content

This is a course for students from any disciplinary background and institute who are interested in exploring what it means to read and write creative non-fiction in the present moment. We will be looking at several aspects and sub-genres of creative non-fiction – from the personal essay, to memoir, to literary journalism and beyond – with an eye for their respective ways of responding to the challenges of a current moment, not least: 1) the construction of nature, 2) current political challenges from asylum law to race politics in the US, 3) the dynamics of gender, 4) the possibility of empathy/difference.

We will be reading both longer and shorter texts by masters of the craft – stand out figures in the worlds of nature writing, literary journalism, and the essay as polemic – alongside essays by celebrated writers. However, this course is also about the mechanisms of writing. We will be developing our own pieces of creative non-fiction in tandem with looking at the course-texts with an eye for their delivery of narrative, the issues both raised by the text and the craft involved in making them readable/true/reliable/controversial. In practicing this aspect of writing, you will be thinking about questions like: how do you position yourself as a narrator? For what kind of audience? How do journalistic topics work to generate and sustain interest?

The class structure is divided between lectures or talks by visiting writers, critical discussion on the assigned texts and writing prompts to explore to explore specific techniques, look at how the writers we read use them, and share work with each other. The lectures will be held either by Lupton or Grøn, both published writers, or by a visiting writer who will share their practiced perspective on writing nonfiction. Visitors in the past have included writers like Sarah Moss, Kirsten Tranter, Lisa Abend, Kevin Brazil and Hakon Mosbech as well as leading literary scholars. In 2024, we expect to host Moss again, as well as writer and literary scholar Harry Stecopoulos. There will also be four intensive writing workshops, deep diving into a specific technique/topic or way of approaching creative non-fiction. These are usually held at venues outside of campus. In previous years, these have ranged from cultural institutions like Thorvaldsens Museum, to a workshop on writing other people’s stories with Menneskebiblioteket.

Classes will emphasize student involvement, writing, and discussion.

We will read an array of cross-genre creative non-fiction from established writers like Robin Wall Kimmerer, Deborah Levy, Hilton Als and Isabel Wilkerson, as well as instructive chapters on craft. Longer books this coming year include Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Marchelle Farrell’s Uprooting

Kurset udbydes som en del af studiemønstret Writing in English, samt som KA-tilvalg.
Studerende indskrevet på Kandidatuddannelsen i engelsk kan desuden bruge kurset til Frit Emne 1, 2 og 3.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Portfolio, A joint portfolio uploaded in digital exam: Deadline June 6th 2025
Type of assessment details
The 15 ECTS class will be examined by a portfolio exam of 21-25 standard pages consisting of two piece of creative non-fiction (or academic prose), one 5-6 pages to be handed in at the end of Easter break (12th April 2024 at midnight) and one 8-10 pages to be handed in at the portfolio deadline, as well as 4 x 1-2 page pieces linked to the workshops to be handed in over the course of the semester and included in the portfolio with feedback.
Criteria for exam assessment

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • English
  • 409,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

See schedule
Study board of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Helene Grøn   (12-6e6b726b746b346d78756b74466e7b7334717b346a71)
Saved on the 04-04-2024

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