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Introductory | This session explores creative nonfiction with an emphasis on literary journalism, one of the most popular and versatile writing genres today. Combining analysis with creativity, literary journalism blends reportage with a personal narrative or angle. We will explore this genre through a combination of discussion, a reading handout, and a writing exercise. You will leave the session with an essay topic along with research strategies. We will also discuss application of this genre in journals, magazines, newspapers, and online publications.
Gail Folkins often writes about her deep roots in the American West. She is the author of two creative nonfiction books from Texas Tech University Press: a Pacific Northwest memoir titled Light in the Trees (2016), and Texas Dance Halls: A Two-Step Circuit (2007), which was a popular culture finalist in ForeWord Review’s 2007 Book of the Year Awards. Folkins’ essay “A Palouse Horse” was a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2010. Her essays and poetry have appeared in publications such as River Teeth Journal - Beautiful Things, North Dakota Quarterly, Wisconsin Life, Texas Highways, and Wildflower Magazine. She has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, St. Edward’s University (Austin), and Austin Community College.
Teaching philosophy: My goal is to further understanding of craft while also encouraging expression of students’ unique voices. Students have praised my workshop format and student-centered approach. Students learn to not only share a narrative, but to also explore their experiences and discoveries. I encourage students to read as writers, meaning focusing on elements of craft in addition to literary themes.
Writers I return to: Edward Abbey, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Kim Barnes, Rick Bass, Dennis Covington, Louise Erdrich, Ernest Hemingway, Pico Iyer, and Jhumpa Lahiri.
Favorite writing advice: Find the extraordinary in the everyday.