Theory and Craft of Writing

W680 — Spring 2022

Walton Muyumba
Days and Times
3:00 - 4:15p TR (3-4 CR.)
Course Description


Topic: Forms of Transition - Essayism and Creative Nonfiction

In this workshop/seminar we’ll explore the essay, essay collections, and works of creative nonfiction. A major portion of our effort will include writing and workshopping essays. Each student will workshop a collection in miniature (including a personal essay, a piece of arts criticism, and a hybrid, lyric, or craft essay) or an extended piece of creative nonfiction.

Another part of our study will include reading individual essays, parts of books, or whole collections. We’ll also examine chapters from several guidebooks concerning writing processes, narrative shapes, and essayism. Working in teaching teams, workshop members will lead and guide our discussions of the assigned readings.

Some of the writers and works we will take up include . . .


  • James Baldwin, No Name in the Street
  • Alex Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
  • Jaquira Diaz, Ordinary Girls
  • T Fleischmann, Time is the Thing a Body Moves Through
  • Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals
  • Cathy Hong Park, Minor Feelings
  • Christina Sharpe, In the Wake

Craft and aesthetic theory

  • Jane Allison, Meander, Spiral, Explode
  • Jenny Boully, Betwixt and Between: Essays on the Writing Life
  • Brian Dillon, Essayism
  • David Mura, A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing
  • John McPhee, Draft 4.: On the Writing Process
  • Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonizing the Mind

While this course presupposes students have a basic mastery of the writing craft, it doesn’t require that they have already written literary essays, fashioned an essay collection, or completed books of creative nonfiction. This course is open to all writers, including poets, fiction writers, critics, and scholars.

Students in the Creative Writing Program please contact Bev Hankins, to enroll. Other students, please email Walton Muyumba ( a note describing your qualification and experience as an essayist or nonfiction writer.