Workshop: Creative Non-Fiction (Visiting Writer) (CW)

and Persuasion” Creative Non-Fiction Writing Workshop

In this creative
non-fiction writing workshop, participants will identify their
“passion”; that which they care deeply about and wish to express in
ways that will “persuade” others to also care, to take action, to
consider a point of view, to accept a counter narrative, to be engaged, to be
outraged, to be entertained.


Creative Non-Fiction as a
relatively new designation will be discussed in relation to the
“realness” of such divisions as fiction versus non-fiction;
journalism versus literature, reportage versus narrative, and the
“nature” of art, creativity and craft. A range of non-fiction genre
will be explored such as essay, memoir, documentary film, blog, along with a
variety of media and venue beyond traditional publishing such as performance,
multimedia, social media, graffiti, installation art, body art, individual and
collective protest. The rhetorical tools of persuasion will be identified with
attention paid to understanding and reaching target audiences.


Workshop participants will
be presented with examples of creative non-fiction by such authors as Cheryl Strayed,
Diana Abu-Jaber, Binyavanga Wainaina, Kei Miller, Lidia Yuknavitch, Anne Keala
Kelly, Terese Svoboda, Arundhati Roy. Participants will also bring examples of
favorite creative non-fiction and we will discuss the strategies, forms,
tropes, signifiers, etc. behind the ways in which something may or may not
successfully persuade. For example as a global campaign, are Eve Ensler’s V-Day
Activities persuasive? To Whom? Why? Was the recent One Billion Rising campaign
which had people (mainly women) all over the world dancing to the same song a
successful approach? What relation does this approach have to earlier forms of
protest and are they replicable across social justice issues?


In addition to discussions
of how to craft messages and which medium to use, this workshop will focus on
writing and performance exercises that allow participants to explore,
experiment with and hone a range of styles and genre. Each participant will
choose a personal project for the semester, and the group will also decide on a
group project – this might be a collection of individual projects that are made
available to the public, or might be a collaborative process where participants
work together to produce a final product.


“Passion and
Persuasion” is taught by Esther Figueroa, an independent film maker,
writer and socio-linguist who is a specialist in discourse analysis, and who
has spent decades producing “propaganda” that attempts to create
counter narratives, spark awareness, give people tools in their struggles, acts
as a form of protest and documents so as to bear witness while creating an
archive for current and future generations. As part of the discussion process
Figueroa will share some of her film work and writing with participants.