Creative Writing: Advanced Nonfiction Prose

English 4520
Crafting the Essay Collection
Section 1
Gwendolyn Edward
Middlebush 206

What exactly is an essay collection? The answer may seem obvious—several essays bound together as one book, of course—but the inquiry is more complex that it appears; asking what an essay collection “is” also implies questions about its construction and publication. Does there have to be a thematic link? An over-arching narrative? A cohesive form? How does an author decide what essays to include and which to exclude? Additionally, how does one go about trying to publish a collection, and how might an editor’s or agent’s feedback affect the author’s content, structure, and organization of an essay collection? In this course we’ll seek to investigate these questions, and we’ll advance our knowledge of forms, the theory of nonfiction, and the current discussions in the nonfiction community and about representation and marginalization. While discussing published work—individual essays and essay collections—we’ll be working on creating our own essay collections. In this class, emphasis will be placed on generating material and our work will culminate in a book proposal/agent pitch.