A free eight-week writing workshop for Allegheny County students in grades 9-12 who are interested in writing true stories about difficult topics.

It’s hard to be a teen any time, but maybe even more so this year. Writing about challenges—whether personal or political, big or small—can help.

During this multi-week workshop you’ll have the opportunity to share and reflect on the writing process, and specifically on how writing about difficult topics gives you the opportunity to investigate your life and take ownership of your experiences.

In this workshop, you will…

  • Be part of a special cohort of writers working together
  • Learn the basics of creative nonfiction, such as crafting scenes and characters, finding your audience, and revising your work
  • Receive training on how to prepare a portion of your work to be performed aloud
  • Participate at a final (online) “graduation” event.

Workshops will be led by Sarah Shotland, the author of the novel Junkette and a playwright whose work has been produced nationally and internationally. She is cofounder and Program Director of Words Without Walls, which brings creative writing classes to jails, prisons, and drug treatment centers in Pittsburgh. Her work has been funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and her essays have been published or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Baltimore Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University.


What is creative nonfiction?
Simply put, creative nonfiction is true stories, well told—factually accurate, artful prose about real people and events. "Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these." -- Lee Gutkind. Learn more about the genre here.

Who should apply?

Any resident of Allegheny County in grades 9–12 who has a story to share. All applicants must be available to join an online meeting on a reliable wifi connection— preferably on an actual computer with a camera rather than a smartphone or tablet. Meetings are scheduled to run from 6 PM until 8 PM each Thursday.

Applications are due by January 15th, 2021.

 Do you have an idea for a literary timeline? An opinion about essential texts for readers and/or writers? An in-depth, working knowledge of a specific type of nonfiction? Pitch us your ideas; Creative Nonfiction accepts query letters for the following sections of the magazine:

 AFTERWORDS is the final page of the magazine. We're open to just about any idea that can be presented completely in one page, though we are more inclined toward pieces that take a lighter look at the genre, craft, and/or industry. Examples: First sentences from first books (#38); The ever-expanding nonfiction subtitle (#39); Side gigs for the nonfiction 99% (#45).

 BETWEEN THE LINES focuses on the business of writing and the contemporary publishing landscape. This section is reserved for more serious, newsy (in a general way) topics.
Examples: The future of literary magazines in America (#38); A defense of navel-gazing (#39); The line between documentation and exploitation (#44).

 REQUIRED READING catalogues and explores essential texts for nonfiction readers and writers. Pieces can be as simple as a list or as complex as a lyric essay.
Examples: David Shields' inspirations and recommendations (#38); Norman Mailer's indispensible nonfiction, as recommended by his biographer (#39).

 THEN & NOW tracks significant developments in the genre and can include timelines or other creative comparisons.
Examples: A history of the genre (and the magazine) from 1993 to 2009 (#38); Environmental writing since "Silent Spring" (#44); Our longstanding obsession with true crime (#45).

 LIFE ONLINE provides a unique perspective of what the literary life is like online. Examples: The virtual realities of online advice columnist Sugar (#42); Of online anger, puppy dogs and ice cream (#43); Is online publishing permanent enough/ (#44).

 UNDER THE UMBRELLA explores one subset or type of writing that falls under the creative nonfiction umbrella--dad memoir, extreme travel writing, as well as lesser-known kinds of creative nonfiction--and the patterns that connect these types of writing.
Examples: CNF's Armchair Guide to Stunt Writing (#38); Family History Narrative (#41); Sex Worker Memoirs (#45). 

 WRITER AT WORK offers an analysis of or an in-depth look into a specific writer's writing process.
Examples: Gay Talese's approach to composition (#39); E.B. White's use of literary effect in "Death of a Pig" (#41).

  Note: Nothing increases your publishing chances more than a familiarity with the magazine; we recommend you become a subscriber, but a working knowledge of our recent issues is a great place to start, too.

 Queries only. Please do not send completed pieces. Please do not send attachments. Please send brilliant, original ideas and a solid plan for turning those ideas into brilliant pieces of writing.

SEEKING EXPERIMENTS IN NONFICTION

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking fact-based writing that is ambitious, pushes against the conventional boundaries of the genre, borrows forms, plays with style and form, and makes its own rules. Send us your prose poems, your hermit crabs, your word collages, your speculative nonfiction. Surprise us!

4,000 word maximum; please include a word count on the first page of the essay and a cover letter with complete contact information and a brief bio. 

Submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm on Monday, January 11, 2021.

There is a $3 convenience fee for online submissions. Subscribers to CNF/TS never pay a reading/convenience fee of any kind when submitting. Ever. Not a subscriber? Choose the discounted subscription add-on when uploading your submission.

****Please do not submit to this category if you are not a current Creative Nonfiction or True Story subscriber.***
If you are not a subscriber, would like to become a subscriber, or extend your subscription please submit using this category.

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking fact-based writing that is ambitious, pushes against the conventional boundaries of the genre, borrows forms, plays with style and form, and makes its own rules. Send us your prose poems, your hermit crabs, your word collages, your speculative nonfiction. Surprise us!

4,000 word maximum; please include a word count on the first page of the essay and a cover letter with complete contact information and a brief bio. 

Submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm on Monday, January 11, 2021.

NEW NONFICTION BY OLD(ER) WRITERS

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking submissions of new nonfiction work by older (60+) writers. We’re looking for personal essays/memoir, experimental work, science writing, profiles, historical nonfiction, lyric essays … any kind of lively fact-based writing. Your work might directly address issues related to age/aging, but there is absolutely no requirement that it do so. 

4,000 word maximum; please include a word count on the first page of the essay and a cover letter with complete contact information and a brief bio. 

Submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm on Monday, February 22, 2021.

There is a $3 convenience fee for online submissions. Subscribers to CNF/TS never pay a reading/convenience fee of any kind when submitting. Ever. Not a subscriber yet? Choose the discounted subscription add-on when uploading your submission.

****Please do not submit to this category if you are not a current Creative Nonfiction or True Story subscriber.***
 If you are not a subscriber, would like to become a subscriber, or extend your subscription, please submit using this category.


NEW NONFICTION BY OLD(ER) WRITERS

Creative Nonfiction is currently seeking submissions of new nonfiction work by older (60+) writers. We’re looking for personal essays/memoir, experimental work, science writing, profiles, historical nonfiction, lyric essays … any kind of lively fact-based writing. Your work might directly address issues related to age/aging, but there is absolutely no requirement that it do so. 

4,000 word maximum; please include a word count on the first page of the essay and a cover letter with complete contact information and a brief bio. 

Submissions must be uploaded by 11:59 pm on Monday, February 22, 2021.

Creative Nonfiction