Creative Nonfiction


Group of poeple writing and talking Overview:
“No maps or anything, just words. But words leading precisely to what I searched for.”
–Odysseas Elytis

Creative nonfiction is the catch-all term for any form of prose that uses the techniques of poetry and fiction to tell true stories. The genres of fiction and nonfiction share more than they separate, and this interactive workshop is designed to explore where they overlap.

Sharing your writing and commenting on your peer’s work is an integral part of this workshop. You will receive tailored written feedback from the tutor on the pieces you write throughout the course.

Target audience:
This course is for anyone who wants to see how much more is possible within nonfiction prose.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this course, you will have:

  • explored subjects that interest you for where they lead in creative nonfiction
  • learned how to examine a creative nonfiction for its structural elements: how the genre works and why
  • learned how to give and receive constructive and positive feedback
  • gained an understanding of the importance of editing and revising your work.

Course outline:
Over eight sessions, you will explore what draws your attention when looking through a different lens. Each week a new writing prompt is given to provoke and inspire. Topics for the weekly writing prompt may vary, but could include:

  • Que sais je?: The familiar essay
  • Flash nonfiction: Tiny sharp stories
  • The lyric essay: Singing is being
  • Travel writing: Anywhere but here
  • Borrowed forms: The hermit crab finds its house
  • Collage: Sans glue?
  • Nature writing: The world as meditation
  • The prose poem: Border country

This workshop gives you the freedom and opportunity to explore your own ‘voice’. It is not intended as an instructional course on how to write creative nonfiction, which is a diverse genre.

In class you will receive constructive feedback from the tutor and your peers that will allow you the opportunity to develop and expand your writing. Examples of different prose styles are considered, with an attention to craft and language. Discussion and participation are at the heart of this writing workshop.

In addition to group workshopping and outside of class time, the tutor will also provide you with tailored written feedback on the pieces you write throughout the course.

You will need to set aside time for reading and writing between classes.

Tea and coffee are provided at the start of each session. You are welcome to bring your own refreshments if you wish.

Class limit:
This course is limited to a maximum of 12 participants, so please enrol early.

Diane Comer is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been publishing creative nonfiction for more than 20 years. Her book The Braided River: Migration and the Personal Essay was published in 2019 by Otago University Press. She lectures at Victoria University of Wellington for the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies.

“Diane facilitated very powerful learning for each of us, as writers”, Writing the Personal Essay (2019)

“This course improved my writing and that's the finest compliment that I could give to a writing course. Flat out excellent.”, Writing the Personal Essay (2019)

“I thoroughly enjoyed this course. I found Diane an insightful, encouraging and inspiring tutor. I found her an authentic and sensitive guide throughout the writing process - both in herself (as a model) and in the feedback she gave to the class.” Writing Memoir (2019)

Relevant links:
International Institute of Modern Letters

For further information:
Continuing Education, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140.
Phone 04 463 6556,  Email:

Please note: Courses need a minimum number of enrolments to go ahead. If your course doesn’t reach the number required, we’ll have to cancel it. If this happens, we’ll contact you by phone or email about a week before the scheduled start date and arrange a full refund. Please check your emails regularly.