Travel Writing

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Session I: May 26 - July 2
T, R 5:30 - 7:40 pm
Instructor: David Farley
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Session II: July 6 - Aug 14
M, W 5:30 - 7:40 pm
Instructor: Rachel Friedman

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How does the traveler become the travel writer?  What makes good travel writing? Why does it matter today? This 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?
In this course, 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. Finally, through exercises and assignments, students learn to craft a compelling pitch in order to approach editors.

Tuition & Fees
Most summer courses are offered at the standard Continuing Education tuition rate of
$1,570 per point ($4,710 for a 3-point course).
For more information on tuition and course fees, please refer to our Tuition & Fees page.

Materials Fee: $20
For questions about School of the Arts course content, please write to our summer team at For all other Summer Program questions, including admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Continuing Education summer team at, or 212-854-9666.

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. more
Rachel Friedman
Rachel Friedman is the author of the travel memoir The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure (Random House, 2011). It was chosen as a Target Breakout Book and selected by Goodreads’ readers as one of the best travel books of 2011. more
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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.