Instructors: Jonah Willihngamz, Shannon Pufahl
Winter 2020, Wed 3:00-5:50
4 units, WAYS-CE
More and more of the best American fiction, plays, and even comics are being created out of documentary practices such as in-depth interviewing, oral histories, and reporting. Novels like Dave Eggers’ What is the What, plays like Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, and narrative journalism like Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, all act as both witnesses and translators of people’s direct experience and push art into social activism in new ways. In this course students will examine the research methods, artistic craft, and ethics of these rich, genre-bending works and then create documentary fictions of their own. Readings will include works by Truman Capote, Dave Eggers, and Lisa Taddeo, as well as Katherine Boo, author of the award-winning Behind the Beautiful Forevers, who will visit the class. No prior creative writing or journalism experience required. Note: First priority to undergrads. Students must attend the first class meeting to retain their roster spot.