Fourth Genre

The Fourth Genre


This course was available in the past and may be presented again as part of the Writer’s Studio curriculum.

Nonfiction is often referred to as “the fourth genre,” but can memoir and personal essays and scientific journalism all really be classified as the same genre? When is considering the traditional distinction between these forms and their conventions helpful to writers and readers (rather than simply to marketing departments) and when is inhabiting the gray space an opportunity for breaking new creative ground?  How can memoir and scientific writing work together? Can personal narrative enhance medical journalism? Is there a place for first person in literary criticism? In class each week, we’ll do a quick generative or revision-based writing exercise, discuss essays and excerpts from writers like Alexander Chee, Jamaica Kincaid, Sarah Smarsh, Patrik Svensson, Lulu Miller Belle Boggs, Esme Weijun Wang, Siddhartha Mukerjee, and Emma Copley Eisenberg, and give workshop-style feedback to student work.


Online registration ends Thursday, June 8 at 5 pm CT.