Since the gonzo stylings of Hunter S. Thompson, Joan Didion, and Truman Capote disrupted once and for all the false notion of “objective” reporting, many journalists and literary nonfiction writers have utilized one another’s tools to get closer to the truth of their stories.
This workshop will focus primarily on the craft of interviewing and/or conducting research to support building a nonfiction essay into a personal journalism experiment. Come with an idea for a 1000-word or less story (or a draft of an essay) that can be reported out within a few days.
We’ll focus on reading great pieces of literary reporting, read interviews and discuss interview technique, do daily writing exercises that incorporate interviews and relevant research, and get feedback from one another as well as myself. Class discussion will assume a knowledge of essay writing and craft, but no journalism experience is necessary.
I will follow-up with each student after the course has ended with a detailed email providing feedback on your piece and publishing recommendations.
Thomas Page McBee is the author of the memoir Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness, and Becoming a Man (City Lights), which was the recipient of a LAMBDA literary award and named a best book of 2014 by NPR Books and BuzzFeed. His writing and reportage on gender appear in the New York Times, Playboy, Glamour, VICE, The Rumpus, and the Pacific Standard, where he writes the column, "The American Man." He lives in New York, where he is editor and director of growth at Quartz (Atlantic Media).