Nonfiction Writing Program

Statement of Solidarity from the English Department Faculty

Courses

Note that sections at the intermediate and advanced levels will frequently have themes. Please see Courses at Brown for current offerings.

For English concentrators: 0900/0930 do not count toward the concentration. Only TWO courses at the 1000 level that deal primarily with writing can count toward the English concentration, although you’re certainly welcome to take more Nonfiction classes as extra courses. These two writing courses will count as electives for English concentrators.

For English concentrators not on the Nonfiction track: 0900/0930 do not count toward the concentration. You must take at least three courses in Nonfiction at the 1000 level, at least two of which must be at the advanced (11XX or above) level. Therefore, only one course at the 10XX intermediate level can be counted towards the English nonfiction track concentration. English nonfiction track concentrators tend to take more than the three nonfiction courses required, however, and you are welcome to do so, too.

Introduction:
ENGL 0900, Critical Reading and Writing I: The Academic Essay (no prerequisites)
ENGL 0930, Introduction to Creative Nonfiction (no prerequisites)

Intermediate:
ENGL 1030, Critical Reading and Writing II: The Research Essay (no prerequisites)
ENGL 1050, Intermediate Creative Nonfiction (no prerequisites)
ENGL 1050G (fall), 1050H (spring), Journalistic Writing (no prerequisites)

Advanced:
ENGL 1140, Topics in Literary and Cultural Criticism
ENGL 1160, Special Topics in Journalism
ENGL 1180, Special Topics in Creative Nonfiction
ENGL 1190, Special Topics in Nonfiction Writing
ENGL 1200, Independent Study in Nonfiction Writing

Overview
The Nonfiction Writing Program, unique to Brown University in its scope, teaches the writing of nonfiction in its predominant modes: the academic essay, creative nonfiction, and journalism. The Program attracts students from disciplines across the campus, who fulfill the one requirement that Brown’s charter mandates—that students take two writing courses in their educational sojourn here. In the Program, you might encounter a course that asks you to learn about and practice writing biography; or to explore the rich, multidisciplinary archives at the Hay Library; or to contemplate the intersection of the visual and textual arts; or to write as an activist for social change and equity; or to compose specifically for a digital audience; or to learn how best to interview and write to deadline for newspapers and magazines. Our track prepares students to speak for themselves, in writing, in their personal and professional lives.

Most of our classes are conducted as small seminars, with some innovative online courses as well. Please see our current offerings and sign up for our Nonfiction News Group, which uses your Brown email to alert you to opportunities and other announcements.  

Curriculum Map and Description 

Students will learn to:

 

Beginning 
Acquiring

ENGL 0900
ENGL  0930

Intermediate 
Practicing 

ENGL  1030
ENGL  1050

Advanced 
Deepening

ENGL 1140, 1160, 1180, 1190
ENGL 1200
ENGL 1993, 1994 

Knowledge

(e.g., technical skills, traditions, formal devices, rhetorical strategies)

 

 

Identify historical precedents and the evolution of the genre, including a range of nonfiction subcategories

Identify and understand distinguishing characteristics of specific subgenres

 

Identify and understand innovations in contemporary practice

 

Name rhetorical strategies and understand their uses

 

Apply different rhetorical strategies to different purposes

 Apply rhetorical strategies appropriate to a nuanced understanding of different purposes and audiences

Identify different audiences and purposes for writing

Differentiate audiences and purposes for writing tasks or projects

 Assess effectiveness of different writing strategies in subject areas and subgenres 

 Read “like a writer” not only for content but to analyze and interpret authorial choices

Analyze and interpret texts through multiple perspectives

Evaluate reading as an advanced writer in order to discover effective writing practices

Attitudes

(e.g., intellectual curiosity, persistence, critical thinking, discernment)

 

 

Recognize the importance of revision and multiple drafts

Differentiate between the different stages of the writing process 

 Develop and use effective self-assessments and revision strategies

Listen to peer feedback

Use peer and instructor feedback effectively

Provide constructive feedback to peer work

Recognize the value of persistence when facing writing challenges (e.g., “writer’s block”)

Develop intellectual curiosity to follow new paths and possibilities

Deepen capacities for self-reflection and internal motivation and sustain inquiry over multiple revisions

Practices

(e.g., habits of writing, developing topics, research, revising, pitching/submitting)

 

 

Write/collect journals, notebooks, or other caches of ideas

Prepare compelling writing ideas and inquiries in subject areas and subgenres

Build original research topics or questions

 Identify current popular venues where writers might find and read contemporary nonfiction

Discover venues where writers might encounter contemporary practice within subgenres

Discover and demonstrate familiarity with the work of current practitioners

 Understand basic research practices— how and when to incorporate outside texts/voices

Differentiate the purposes of various kinds of source materials and how to use them effectively

Develop appropriate and specific list of varied sources as context/research

 Recognize the role of publishing (peer review, editing, marketing, etc.) in contemporary nonfiction

Explain the basics of the editorial and publishing process

Describe where writer’s own writing fits in current landscape

Link to Founders Statement

Department Officers

Emily Hipchen

Director, Nonfiction Writing Program

Jonathan Readey

Associate Director, Nonfiction Writing Program

Kate Schapira

Nonfiction Honors Advisor

Faculty

Mary-Kim Arnold

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 213
Phone: (401) 863-3726
[email protected]

Tracy Breton

Professor of the Practice, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 216
Phone: (401) 863-3744
[email protected]

Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

Senior Lecturer in English,
Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 311
Phone: (401) 863-9454
[email protected]

Ed Hardy

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 211
Phone: (401) 863-9175
[email protected]


Emily Hipchen

Senior Lecturer in English and Director, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 402
Phone: (401) 863-3624
[email protected]


Austin Jackson

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 416
Phone: (401) 863-3744
[email protected]

Jonathan Readey

Senior Lecturer in English,
Associate Director, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 334
Phone: (401) 863-9263
[email protected]

Elizabeth Rush

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 401A
Phone: (401) 863-9298
[email protected]

Kate Schapira

Senior Lecturer in English, Nonfiction Writing Program and Honors Advisor, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 204
Phone: (401) 863-3622
[email protected]

Lawrence Stanley

Distinguished Senior Lecturer in English
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 330
Phone: (401) 863-3623
[email protected]

Michael Stewart

Senior Lecturer in English, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 401A
Phone: (401) 863-9298
[email protected]

Robert P. Ward

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Nonfiction Writing Program
Office: 70 Brown St., Rm. 206
Phone: (401) 863-3727
[email protected]