CQUniversity Unit Profile
WRIT11025 Creative Nonfiction
Creative Nonfiction
All details in this unit profile for WRIT11025 have been officially approved by CQUniversity and represent a learning partnership between the University and you (our student).
The information will not be changed unless absolutely necessary and any change will be clearly indicated by an approved correction included in the profile.
General Information

Overview

This unit provides students with an introduction to the practice and craft of Creative Nonfiction writing. This emerging genre offers nonfiction writers the opportunity to incorporate literary devices such as description, dialogue and development of scenes. The student will be introduced to the concept of reportage, examine the work of creative nonfiction luminaries such as Joan Didion, Truman Capote and Helen Garner, the ethics of nonfiction writing and research, and develop their literary essay writing skills with practical writing activities in a range of subgenres including the personal essay, review writing and food and nature writing.

Details

Career Level: Undergraduate
Unit Level: Level 1
Credit Points: 6
Student Contribution Band: 10
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load: 0.125

Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

There are no requisites for this unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Offerings For Term 2 - 2021

Online

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Class and Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Class Timetable

Bundaberg, Cairns, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville
Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

Assessment Overview

1. Written Assessment
Weighting: Pass/Fail
2. Written Assessment
Weighting: 55%
3. Written Assessment
Weighting: 45%

Assessment Grading

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%). Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades.

Previous Student Feedback

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Feedback from Unit Evaluation

Feedback

Some more exemplars may have been helpful to provide some more direction

Recommendation

Exemplars are provided but more samples will be integrated to enhance learning.

Feedback from Unit Evaluation

Feedback

There were inconsistencies with assignment submission dates

Recommendation

The 2021 unit will be revised with particular emphasis on clarifying due dates for assessments.

Feedback from Unit Evaluation

Feedback

Lack of announcement of live zoom sessions

Recommendation

While regular Zooms were held (and announced beforehand) an email will be sent to all students reminding them of its occurrence.

Unit Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
  1. Draft and effectively redraft a sustained piece of creative nonfiction writing
  2. Research and write creative nonfiction writing using ethical practice
Alignment of Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Graduate Attributes
N/A Level
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Professional Level
Advanced Level

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes

Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2
1 - Written Assessment - 0%
2 - Written Assessment - 55%
3 - Written Assessment - 45%

Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes

Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
9 - Social Innovation

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes

Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Written Assessment - 0%
2 - Written Assessment - 55%
3 - Written Assessment - 45%
Textbooks and Resources

Textbooks

Prescribed

Writing true: the art and craft of creative non-fiction, 2nd (2014)

Authors: Perl and Schwartz
Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781133307433
Binding: Paperback

Additional Textbook Information

If you prefer to study with a paper text, you can purchase one at the CQUni Bookshop here: http://bookshop.cqu.edu.au (search on the Unit code).

IT Resources

You will need access to the following IT resources:
  • CQUniversity Student Email
  • Internet
  • Unit Website (Moodle)
Referencing Style

All submissions for this unit must use the referencing style: Harvard (author-date)

For further information, see the Assessment Tasks.

Teaching Contacts
Stephen Butler Unit Coordinator
s.butler@cqu.edu.au
Schedule
Week 1 Begin Date: 12 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Introduction

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘Why creative non-fiction’, pp. 3-18

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 2 Begin Date: 19 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Notebook & Research

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘The power of the notebook’, pp.19-31;
- Perl & Schwartz, ‘The role of research’, pp.132-148.

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 3 Begin Date: 26 Jul 2021

Module/Topic

Memoir plus Drafting

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, 'Memoir', pp.10-11;

- Perl & Schwartz,‘Ten ways to a draft’, pp.32-55;

Reading: memoir

- Perl & Schwartz, Alice Walker, ‘Beauty: when the other dancer is the self’, pp.169-175;
- Perl & Schwartz, Lee Martin, ‘Never thirteen’, pp.175-185;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 4 Begin Date: 02 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Memoir plus Shaping

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘Taking shape’, pp.32-55;

Reading: Memoir
- Perl & Schwartz, Lisa D Chavez, ‘Independence Day: Manley Hot Springs, Alaska’, pp.186-192;
- Perl & Schwartz, Nora Ephron, ‘A few words about breasts’, pp.193-199;
- Perl & Schwartz, Tony Early, ‘Somehow form a family’, pp.199-207;

Events and Submissions/Topic

The Pitch: proposal for creative nonfiction piece Due: Week 4 Friday (6 Aug 2021) 11:45 pm AEST
Week 5 Begin Date: 09 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Personal essay plus Finding voice

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘Finding voice’, pp.56-70;

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Brian Doyle, ‘Being Brians’, pp.209-215;
- Perl & Schwartz, EJ Levy, ‘Mastering the art of French cooking’, pp. 215-223;
- Perl & Schwartz, Scott Russell Sanders, ‘Under the influence’, pp. 223-234;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Vacation Week Begin Date: 16 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 6 Begin Date: 23 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Personal essay plus Work-shopping a draft

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘Work-shopping a draft’, pp. 75-92;

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Kandi Tayebi, ‘Warring memories’, pp. 235-239;
- Perl & Schwartz, Dudley Clendinen, ‘The good short life’, pp. 239-242;
- Perl & Schwartz, Rebecca McClanahan, ‘Book marks’, pp. 242-255;

Events and Submissions/Topic


Week 7 Begin Date: 30 Aug 2021

Module/Topic

Portrait plus Revision

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, 'Portrait', p. 12;

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘The craft of revision’, pp. 93-113;

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Charles Simic, ‘Dinner at Uncle Boris’s’, pp. 257-260;
- Perl & Schwartz, Jill Lapore, ‘Poor Jane’s Almanac’, pp. 260-262;
- Perl & Schwartz, Max Apple, ‘Roommates’, pp. 262-264;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 8 Begin Date: 06 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Portrait plus Exploring new media

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘Exploring new media’, pp. 114-131;

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Alice Steinbach, ‘The Miss Denis School of Writing’, pp. 264-269;
- Perl & Schwartz, Susan Allen Toth, ‘Going to the movies’, pp. 269-271;
- Perl & Schwartz, Jerald Walker, ‘Before grief’, pp. 271-274;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Reflective CNF Journal Due: Week 8 Friday (10 Sep 2021) 11:45 pm AEST
Week 9 Begin Date: 13 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Essay of place plus the ethics of creative non-fiction

Chapter

- Perl & Schwartz, ‘The ethics of creative non-fiction’, pp. 149-163;

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Pico Iyer, ‘Chapels’, pp. 275-281;
- Perl & Schwartz, Yunte Huang, ‘Southern hospitality, but not for newcomers’, pp. 281-283;
- Perl & Schwartz, Gretchen Legler, ‘Moments of being an Antarctic Quintet’, pp. 283-291;
- Perl & Schwartz, Dagoberto Gilb, ‘Living al Chuco’, pp. 292-293;
- Perl & Schwartz, EB White, ‘Once more to the lake’, pp. 293-298;

Events and Submissions/Topic


Week 10 Begin Date: 20 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Narrative journalism

Chapter

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Richard Selzer, ‘Four appointments with the discus thrower’, pp. 300-302;
- Perl & Schwartz, Susan Orlean, ‘Meet the Shaggs’, pp. 303-313;
- Perl & Schwartz, George Orwell, ‘A hanging’, pp. 313-317;
- Perl & Schwartz, Tracy Kidder, ‘from Among schoolchildren’, pp. 317-321;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 11 Begin Date: 27 Sep 2021

Module/Topic

Stories of craft

Chapter

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Patricia Hampl, ‘Memory and imagination’, pp. 323-335;
- Perl & Schwartz, Kim Stafford, ‘The writer as professional eavesdropper’, pp. 335-343;
- Perl & Schwartz, Sue Miller, ‘A lecture on revision’, pp. 344-355;
- Perl & Schwartz, Colin Rafferty, ‘Ten year reunion: writing ‘Boys least likely to”’, pp. 355-358;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Week 12 Begin Date: 04 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Short shorts

Chapter

Readings
- Perl & Schwartz, Bailey White, ‘Buzzard’, pp. 359-360;
- Perl & Schwartz, Sven Birkerts, ‘Every Day’, pp. 360-361;
- Perl & Schwartz, Kathleen Norris, ‘Rain’, p. 362;
- Perl & Schwartz, Amy Butcher, ‘Still things’, pp. 362-364;
- Perl & Schwartz, Judith Kitchen, ‘Only the dance’, p. 364;
- Perl & Schwartz, Stephen Dunn, ‘Locker room talk’, pp. 365-366;
- Perl & Schwartz, Maureen Stanton, ‘Water’, pp. 366-369;
- Perl & Schwartz, Norma Elia Cantó, ‘Tino & Papi’, pp. 369-370;

Events and Submissions/Topic

Creative Nonfiction Piece Due: Week 12 Friday (8 Oct 2021) 11:45 pm AEST
Review/Exam Week Begin Date: 11 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Exam Week Begin Date: 18 Oct 2021

Module/Topic

Chapter

Events and Submissions/Topic

Assessment Tasks

1 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
The Pitch: proposal for creative nonfiction piece

Task Description

Explanation

As any writer will tell you, if you want to get a CNF piece published, editors expect a pitch BEFORE the main piece is sent. This is the case in most publishing: writing a book first and then trying to get a publisher can be a dangerous waste of time. So writers produce a pitch first and then go ahead once the editor has agreed (preferably with a signed book contract). For shorter works, editors will still expect a pitch. This not only saves time but gives the editor the opportunity of suggesting changes to the focus or tone of the piece. Senior writers who work for The Atlantic or The New Yorker may be able to pursue their own writing, but if general commentary is anything to go by, even they have to pitch for approval. So the pitch (or proposal) is good practice and an essential part of the creative non-fiction genre.

Assessable component

Chose a genre of creative nonfiction: portrait, essay of place or narrative journalism (note: not a memoir or personal essay). Write a 300-400 word pitch for a written piece in this genre to myself as ‘editor’.You are required to write a creative nonfiction piece for your major piece of assessment. This assignment has two parts: the pitch (or proposal) (pass/fail); the CNF piece itself (45%). This first part is pass/fail only. This means that you are required to complete the pitch (on which you will receive feedback), but this does not contribute to the overall grade percentage. Why? Because it is a prelude to the major piece of assessment which is graded.

NOTE: Creative non-Fiction pieces submitted WITHOUT a prior pitch being received in Week 4 may be penalised. Late assignments may receive a grade but no feedback.


Assessment Due Date

Week 4 Friday (6 Aug 2021) 11:45 pm AEST

Proposals are due in Week 4 but may be submitted earlier


Return Date to Students

Week 5 Friday (13 Aug 2021)


Weighting
Pass/Fail

Assessment Criteria

This assessment will be examined to the degree that it demonstrates:

  1. Overall coherence and interest of the Pitch;
  2. Understanding of key purposes, forms and techniques of the selected genre of creative nonfiction;
  3. Clarity of expression including spelling and grammar and appropriate referencing.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Upload to Moodle

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Research and write creative nonfiction writing using ethical practice


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Ethical practice

2 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Reflective CNF Journal

Task Description

Students are expected to keep a CNF Journal during term. The purpose of the CNF Journal is to provide students with an intellectual space where they can consider and record their reflections on the reading, concepts, ideas and activities that are examined in this course.
Assessable component

  • You are expected to respond to the weekly activities/questions from weeks 2-8 as listed on the course Moodle website (one only), and to submit these electronically as a single a word document through the Moodle website by the due date;
  • Each reflection/answer should be no less than 350 words and no longer than 500 words;
  • You are expected to post these answers to the relevant Moodle discussion forum and to participate in the weekly discussions;
  • Your reflections/answers should be thoughtfully considered and demonstrate evidence of reading and research (including from the set text).

NOTE: Late assignments may receive a grade but no feedback.


Assessment Due Date

Week 8 Friday (10 Sep 2021) 11:45 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Week 10 Friday (24 Sep 2021)


Weighting
55%

Assessment Criteria

This assignment will be marked using the following evaluation criteria:

  1. The extent to which the CNF Journal engages with the ideas and concepts explored in the course (including the set text);
  2. Clarity of expression including spelling and grammar and appropriate referencing.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Upload to Moodle

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Draft and effectively redraft a sustained piece of creative nonfiction writing
  • Research and write creative nonfiction writing using ethical practice


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Ethical practice

3 Written Assessment

Assessment Title
Creative Nonfiction Piece

Task Description

You are required to write a creative nonfiction piece (based on the Pitch submitted as part of the pass/fail Assignment #1).

Assessable components

- A proofread and polished piece of creative nonfiction (no less than 2000 words);
- A critical reflection that gives an account of the creative process from pitch to piece (no less than 400 words).

NOTE: Late assignments may receive a grade but no feedback.


Assessment Due Date

Week 12 Friday (8 Oct 2021) 11:45 pm AEST


Return Date to Students

Exam Week Friday (22 Oct 2021)

The CNF Piece will be returned as soon as practicable after the end of term.


Weighting
45%

Assessment Criteria

The assignment will be marked using the following evaluation criteria:

  1. The overall connection with the ideas developed in the pitch;
  2. A revealing, ‘truthful’ and in-depth CNF piece using the techniques of the selected CNF genre;
  3. Clarity of expression and flawless referencing.


Referencing Style

Submission
Online

Submission Instructions
Upload to Moodle

Learning Outcomes Assessed
  • Draft and effectively redraft a sustained piece of creative nonfiction writing
  • Research and write creative nonfiction writing using ethical practice


Graduate Attributes
  • Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Ethical practice

Academic Integrity Statement

As a CQUniversity student you are expected to act honestly in all aspects of your academic work.

Any assessable work undertaken or submitted for review or assessment must be your own work. Assessable work is any type of work you do to meet the assessment requirements in the unit, including draft work submitted for review and feedback and final work to be assessed.

When you use the ideas, words or data of others in your assessment, you must thoroughly and clearly acknowledge the source of this information by using the correct referencing style for your unit. Using others’ work without proper acknowledgement may be considered a form of intellectual dishonesty.

Participating honestly, respectfully, responsibly, and fairly in your university study ensures the CQUniversity qualification you earn will be valued as a true indication of your individual academic achievement and will continue to receive the respect and recognition it deserves.

As a student, you are responsible for reading and following CQUniversity’s policies, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure. This policy sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of you to act with integrity, examples of academic integrity breaches to avoid, the processes used to address alleged breaches of academic integrity, and potential penalties.

What is a breach of academic integrity?

A breach of academic integrity includes but is not limited to plagiarism, self-plagiarism, collusion, cheating, contract cheating, and academic misconduct. The Student Academic Integrity Policy and Procedure defines what these terms mean and gives examples.

Why is academic integrity important?

A breach of academic integrity may result in one or more penalties, including suspension or even expulsion from the University. It can also have negative implications for student visas and future enrolment at CQUniversity or elsewhere. Students who engage in contract cheating also risk being blackmailed by contract cheating services.

Where can I get assistance?

For academic advice and guidance, the Academic Learning Centre (ALC) can support you in becoming confident in completing assessments with integrity and of high standard.

What can you do to act with integrity?