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Writers' Center

Eastern Washington University

Creative Writing

Figurative language, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and more

Creative Nonfiction

Within the world of creative writing, the term creative nonfiction encompasses texts about factual events that are not solely for scholarly purposes. Creative nonfiction may include memoir, personal essays, feature-length articles in magazines, and narratives in literary journals. This genre of writing incorporates techniques from fiction and poetry in order to create accounts that read more like story than a piece of journalism or a report. The audience for creative nonfiction is typically broader than the audiences for scholarly writing.

Origin

The term creative nonfiction is credited to Lee Gutkind, who defines this genre as “true stories well told.” However, the concept of literary nonfiction has its roots in ancient poetry, historical accounts, and religious texts. Throughout history, people have tried to keep a record of the human experience and have done so through the vehicle of story since the invention of language. For more about the origins of the term creative nonfiction, see the article What is Creative Nonfiction?

Examples

Search for Marvin Gardens By John McPhee

Once More to the Lake by EB White

Why Women Smile by Amy Cunningham

How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua

Nonfiction Anthologies

Inland Northwest Center for Writers

EWU has a master's of fine arts degree in which students can focus on the craft of writing literary nonfiction. Learn more about literary events in the Spokane area at their website.