About the Nonfiction Concentration
Led by director Wendy S. Walters, the Nonfiction concentration in the Writing Program at Columbia University School of the Arts includes full-time faculty Hilton Als, Lis Harris, Leslie Jamison, Margo Jefferson, Richard Locke, and Phillip Lopate. The adjunct nonfiction faculty members include Michael Greenberg, Eliza Griswold, Alana Newhouse, Lynn Sharon Schwartz, Benjamin Taylor, and Brenda Wineapple. Recent visiting writers include Meghan Daum, Geoff Dyer, Vivian Gornick, Patricia Hampl, Laura Kipnis, Wayne Koestenbaum, Patricia Marx, Lia Purpura, Stacy Schiff, and John Jeremiah Sullivan.
The concentration offers instruction in a full range of subgenres, from memoir and personal essay to science writing, criticism, humor, research methods, profiles, food writing and lyric essay. All students engage with a range of nonfiction prose, from the Ancients to the most cutting-edge contemporaries. They leave the program able to practice more than one type of nonfiction.
Writing Nonfiction Online Q&A:
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Our nonfiction program offers our students an exciting and supportive community, led by a faculty composed of literary luminaries and passionately committed teachers drawn from the tremendous network of writers and editors based in New York City. Our courses cover a diverse array of genres—including personal essays and memoir, literary reportage, literary and cultural criticism—and our program encourages hybridity, rigor, and experiment.
Leslie Jamison, Assistant Professor
The Art of the Essay
Alumna Kao Kalia Yang '05 Publishes 'Somewhere in the Unknown World' and 'The Most Beautiful Thing'
Somewhere in the Unknown World (Metropolitan, 2020)—a collective refugee memoir—and The Most Beautiful Thing (Carolrhoda Books, 2020)—a picture book based on Yang's own experience as a young Hmong refugee.read more
Five Alumni and Faculty Finalists for 2021 PEN America Literary Awards
The PEN America Awards, which seek to recognize both debut writers and those whose work has made a lasting impact, will distribute over $380,000 in total to award winners.read more