Creative nonfiction makes use of the full range of literary techniques and elements employed by writers of other genres, including fiction, poetry, and playwriting. It is not constrained by subject matter, voice, or point of view. Creative nonfiction is an expansive territory that includes the classic essay (Montaigne), personal essay (Lopate), memoir (Terry Tempest Williams, Cheryl Strayed), certain styles of autobiography, biography and criticism (Ozick), some travel and nature writing (McPhee), narrative nonfiction (Hillenbrand), the literary journal (Sarton) and works of literary or “new” journalism: for example, the highly stylized nonfiction of Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Tom Wolfe and Truman Capote.
Although CNF implies a contract with the reader as to the veracity of its prose, its attempt to communicate “real life” must always be viewed somewhat skeptically, in the light of authorial subjectivity and selectivity. Truth in its broadest sense, and not factual accuracy in its narrowest, is the goal of CNF. Our faculty members are expert guides through the unique opportunities offered by this form.
Our creative nonfiction student and alum achievements include books published with top publishing houses. They’ve won major awards. Their articles, columns, and essays have been published in the most prestigious magazines and journals, from the New York Times to The Missouri Review to Vogue. Our CNF alums teach full-time at respected universities. And that’s just the beginning.
Past visiting creative nonfiction writers include some of the most distinguished writers in the field, including National Book Award winner Barry Lopez and award-winning authors Molly Peacock, Phillip Lopate, Terry Tempest Williams, Pico Iyer, and Scott Russell Sanders.
All Spalding MFA students may opt to spend a residency or an entire semester studying a second area of concentration as a way to enrich their craft and expand their understanding of aesthetics.