A Basic Definition of Creative Nonfiction

Another nugget from the MediaBistro Toolbox, this time a basic explanation of creative nonfiction courtesy of Lee Gutkind.

My favorite part of his statement is this:

“And there are two types of stories. One type is one’s own story. The other type is telling the stories of others.”

Got that? Sometimes it seems to me that some writers believe “creative nonfiction” is synonymous with (and limited to) “memoir.” It isn’t! Back in the day some of us learned about “creative nonfiction” as “literary journalism.” Sure, there are plenty of wonderful memoirs/first-person essays out there, and I certainly enjoy reading them. But please, let’s not forget that there’s more to creative nonfiction than memoir.

Look to hear more about nonfiction (specifically, “narrative nonfiction”) from me in a few days. I’m volunteering at the 2005 Nieman Narrative Conference in Boston. I spent four hours last night preparing folders, and there’s another folder-preparation session in store for me before I get to the actual event on Friday. But it’s all going to be worth it–what a line-up they’ve got….

Just a Reminder: Deadline Approaching!

This is just a reminder that Monday, September 19 is the postmark deadline if you’re planning to submit work to the Gwendolyn Brooks Center 2005 Literary Awards (previously mentioned in our July Practicing Writer newsletter). These annual awards in creative writing and criticism are offered in conjunction with the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers’ Conference, which will take place this year October 19-22 at Chicago State University. Seven prizes in poetry, fiction, script writing, and literary criticism will be awarded as part of the Center’s “continuing efforts to encourage writing that explores, explicates, embraces, and celebrates the richness of Black World Culture.” See the website for specific descriptions of each award, including information on eligibility and honoraria. NO ENTRY FEE INDICATED.