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Open Creative Nonfiction

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Open Creative Nonfiction

Vanessa Gennarelli's picture
Course organiser: Vanessa Gennarelli
About the Course Organiser: 

Vanessa Gennarelli,

Vanessa Gennarelli is a Project Manager at Flat World Knowledge, where she edits open-source textbooks for courses in higher education.  She received her B.A. in English and Gender and Women’s Studies from Grinnell College, where she facilitated the student-run writers’ group Prozac and Cornflakes.  She’s workshopped at Ragdale Writer’s Colony, the American University of Paris, and the University of Iowa.  Her original poetry can be found at Poor Posture.

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Course Status: 


Vanessa Gennarelli's picture
Aeryk Pierson's picture
Jason James's picture
Hari Chengalath's picture
Jeremy Gordon's picture
Gena Radcliffe's picture
Tsipora Nemes's picture
Todd Ide's picture
Interested in recounting your life events? Can we even capture ourselves in narrative? How do physical spaces affect that story?


This course will assume an understanding of basic writing structures—point of view, conflict, plot, and style. (If you are unfamiliar with such terms, see Wikipedia and The Open Fiction Project ( as two places to start learning.)

The course will resemble a workshop, with participants writing and critiquing peers, over the six weeks.  The point of the course is to encourage peer-to-peer interaction and feedback on one another's work.  As such, respect, tact and trust are of supreme importance for the success of the course, so participants should possess and exhibit those traits.

Lastly, memoir can be a gristly task.  We will be reading disability narratives, sobriety stories and pieces that address sexuality.  Come prepared to wrestle with discomfort.

Click here to read more about the Course Theme, Terms and Class Structure.

Reading List: