Travel Writing

This Summer 2014 course is now closed. Please join our mailing list to find out more about our Summer 2015 course offerings.
WRIT S4320
2 points
June 3 - 20
T, R  5:30 - 7:40 PM
Instructor: David Farley

How does the traveler become the travel writer? What makes good travel writing? And why does it matter today? This four-week course examines and breaks down the very specific craft of travel writing.

Simply because we like to travel, does it qualify us to write about it? Everywhere has been written about, so how do we find something fresh to say about… Paris, or even Patagonia? We both dispel, and prove, some of the myths of travel writing.

Students learn to find an angle in order to uncover destinations anew and make them personal— it’s in the personal that the universal is revealed. From crafting a compelling lede, and understanding the need for a strong “nut graph,” to knowing the value of dialogue in propelling the story forward, and then finding the ideal kicker to send the reader away satisfied, students dissect published stories and are sent out into “the field” (of New York City) to craft their own.

Travel writing is more than, “I went here, I did this, I ate that.” From front of book and service pieces, to destination features, we discuss magazine and newspaper travel writing in depth, as well as touch on longer form travel writing. And finally, through exercises and assignments, students learn to craft a compelling pitch in order to approach editors.

Guest lecturers – some of today’s most successful travel writers and top editors – may lend a practical voice to the discussion.
Tuition & Fees
Summer courses are offered at the standard Continuing Education tuition rate of $1,512 per point ($3,024 for a 2-point course, $4,536 for a 3-point course and $9,072 for a six-point intensive). For more detailed information, please see "tuition and fees":

Materials Fee: $20

About the Instructor

David Farley

David Farley is the author of the travel memoir/narrative history An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oddest Town (Penguin, 2010), which was recently made into a documentary by National Geographic. He's a Contributing Editor at AFAR magazine and frequently contributes to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit and National Geographic Traveler. His stories and articles have been anthologized numerous times, including in The Best American Travel Writing 2013.
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.