Creative non-fiction

Course Dates: 24/09/19 - 03/12/19
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Paul Laffan

Explore practical and imaginative approaches to creative non fiction, including travel writing, life writing and the essay. Analyse published work, produce your own pieces, and benefit from detailed feedback.


What is the course about?

The course offers a variety of practical and imaginative approaches to creative non fiction, including travel writing, life writing and the essay. Craft issues will be examined in detail, with published writers analysed to determine how and why their work succeeds. The different genres of creative non fiction will be explored through in-class exercises and weekly assignments.

Students say: "I enjoyed the range and diversity of work that we looked at"; "The feedback on my writing was really useful"; "I liked the in-class writing exercises, being workshopped, and the assigned reading"; "I felt very inspired by what we read and talked about in class."

The Tutor: Paul Laffan is the author of four novels, a book of reportage and has ghosted several works of autobiography. His most recent publication: The Fabricated Christ was published in June 2019. He holds a BA in English Literature from Oxford and an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English from Florida State University in America. He taught writing and literature for six years at Florida State, and has also taught at Birkbeck, Morley College, the Mary Ward Centre and Lambeth College.

Build reserves the right to change course tutors from those advertised in this outline. In line with our refund policy we are unable to grant a refund on the grounds of a change of tutor.

What will we cover?

- Exploring ways to approach non-fiction in creative and innovative ways
- Thinking critically about creative non-fiction through analysis of successful writers
- Exploring some of the leading genres of creative non-fiction such as travel-writing, life-writing, the essay, historical writing, and writing which crosses all the barriers of genre.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Think critically and with understanding about creative non-fiction.
- Feel confident about making your own experiments in creative non-fiction writing.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

No formal requirements except a good standard of literacy and a love of reading.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

- Analysis of short pieces in class through group discussion.
- Regular individual short writing exercises discussed and evaluated in class.
- Formal instruction from the teacher combined with group discussion.

All writing courses at Build will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.

For classes longer than one day regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Writing materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Build offers a range of non-fiction creative writing courses, including Autobiographical writing and Biography writing.

All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for Build writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Customer Reviews 7 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Much emphasis on one's own writing.Combined with setreading it helps one think on greater depth about one's own writing
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 16/03/2019)
This is a really interesting course that explores many very different aspects and styles of non-fiction writing. It also gives the group a chance to test out their own writing skills in a helpful and non-judgemental environment - great fun and I learned a huge amount.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 15/03/2019)
Do it! Or do any Citylit course, I hear good things about all of them!
Course Rating
Review by Lara / (Posted on 14/03/2019)
This is an exceptional course. The tutor is knowledgeable and interesting, the reading material is fascinating, and the workshopping of our own work is constructive and invaluable.

I imagine the course varies depending on the students - our group were friendly and engaged and I loved reading my colleagues' writing.

I will miss our weekly discussions!
Course Rating
Review by Aspiring writer / (Posted on 14/03/2019)
Go for it!
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Review by Andrew / (Posted on 09/12/2018)
This course is inspiring for those who value positive feedback on their writing. It has prompted me to edit a travel journal I drafted many years ago, and the exemplary pieces provided by the tutor and the essays from other students, which cover such a wide range of topics, are both inspirational and rewarding.
Course Rating
Review by Angela / (Posted on 21/11/2018)
I took this course in January 2017. The course consists of writing assignments and group appraisal, and some discussion of classic texts. We had an interesting group all serious about writing, and the tuition was well up to expectations. I learned a lot, especially about how to assess a piece of writing and by extension, how to assess my own writing.
Course Rating
Review by Duncan / (Posted on 19/11/2017)
Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: HW310

Please choose a course date 

Tue, day, 24 Sep - 03 Dec '19

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £209.00
Senior fee: £209.00
Concession: £84.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

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Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2717

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.

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