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Inward Bound: The Art of Travel Writing

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

How do we translate our experiences of new places--and new worlds--into a form that we can share with others? When we learn to use the tools of fiction like character, narrative, and description to address topics from the real world including our personal experience and topics that are of interest to us, our writing immediately becomes more powerful. This course provides techniques for students who are interested in improving their lab reports, history papers, critical essays, and even novels.

How do you evoke the wonders of place and the magic of travel? How can you make the past come alive and the distant seem accessible? “Inward Bound” offers students an introduction to the world of creative non-fiction and will revolutionize the way they think, write, and even see. Drawing from a wide array of masterful travel writing from the likes of Paul Theroux, Geoff Dyer, Rebecca West, Robert Kaplan, and Ryszard Kapuscinski, students will encounter techniques of observation and description that apply to all forms of writing. They will be exposed to exciting research methods that will transform their next trip to the library. Additionally, they will learn approaches to interviewing that will guarantee that they get the information they want in the form they need. Highlights of the course include peer-editing, field trips, spontaneous writing, and guided film-viewing. This course will provide experience in the special challenges of writing non-fiction that engages all of the reader’s senses. Students will work both collaboratively and individually to develop and refine short writing exercises, to edit them based on student and instructor feedback, and to incorporate them into a class travel guide. Whether you hope to write for the New Yorker or simply want to ace your next term paper, this is the class for you.

Students will learn techniques for gathering basic factual information, including interviewing, effective journaling, and note-taking. They will become familiar with writing capsules, short and long-form newspaper articles, as well as the personal essay. To achieve graceful, grammatically correct prose, students will learn procedures for editing and rewriting, as well as how to follow “in-house” style guidelines.

Students should be confident in their writing and speaking abilities, and familiar with geography and current events.