University of Iowa

"Cut These Words and They Bleed": A Nonfiction Writing Intensive

Weekend July 13 to July 14 2019

Nonfiction is the most flexible of writing genres, encompassing essays, memoir, articles, op-eds, columns, letters. When any of these forms are done well, the execution of craft brings factual writing to the level of art. “Cut these words and they bleed,” Ralph Emerson said of Montaigne, whose essays were so lucid they pulsed with life. This will be a hands-on class for nonfiction writers wishing to stretch their capacities. There will be examples, exercises and feedback, with an eye on elevating our craft—to a point where editors find it hard to resist. This course is led by a longtime disciple of William Zinsser, someone uniquely capable of transmitting the teachings of one of America’s great nonfiction gurus.


In this workshop we will generate new writing through guided exercises and prompts; provide feedback on writing you bring from home or produce in our weekend.