It is my absolute pleasure to offer Nicole Baute’s course to our writers again this year. This course filled very quickly last time, and it’s no surprise: Nicole is a gifted writer and a generous teacher, with a deep knowledge of craft and respect for form. Her students adore her, and we feel very lucky to have her working with our school.
Have you ever read a beautiful passage in a novel or memoir and felt immediately in your gut that it was true? Not true as in factual, but true as in raw and real. True as in you feel an instant connection with the writer. You trust them. You believe them. You want to spend more time in their world.
It doesn’t take superhuman skill or extraordinary life experiences to write in this way. It takes permission.
Our creative nonfiction course, created and taught by Nicole Baute, will help you give yourself permission to write things that astonish you.
This is an eight-week course beginning on Monday, June 29, 2020, and running until Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Class is in session Monday through Wednesday; students are encouraged to visit the classroom at their convenience during each week’s three-day window.
We will focus primarily on the personal essay, a form that allows us to explore a wide range of subjects through memory, observation, research, and/or collage, and we’ll also discuss how to conceptualize and structure a life story or memoir. This is a foundational introduction to creative nonfiction for writers looking to expand.
Features include master classes from established writers, in-class video exercises, a guided reflection to help you re-centre when you feel uncertain, and a live getting-to-know-you group video call.
Each week you’ll devour essays that demonstrate the power of creative nonfiction and teach us how to write it. You’ll read lecture notes, join a group discussion online, and participate in timed writing exercises. You’ll be asked to write and share 600 words building off that week’s lesson. At the end of the course you’ll have a chance to finish a full length essay or memoir excerpt (1,200 words).
“I would have been happy if it had gone on forever!”
— Diana Deans
“It was exciting to be part of a group of writers who were so fearless about sharing intensely personal experiences — and I know that our comfort in doing so was a direct result of Nicole's empathetic and encouraging teaching style.”
— Kern Windwraith
“I learned so much, and grew so much as a writer in those weeks.”
— Stephanie Keddy
“The readings were diverse and gave me new resources to continue learning about creative nonfiction, as well as readings that allowed me to see how powerful this genre can be when well done.”
— Lisa Provost
“I didn't realize how much about creative nonfiction I did NOT know until I took the course ... I appreciate the wide pasture I was given: a space in which to explore personal storytelling with enrichment, writing skills and documentation. I didn't think I had much of a story to tell. Surprise! Nicole is such an exceptional teacher. She listens deeply, comments thoughtfully and her suggestions for improvement are spot on! I wholeheartedly recommend her to any student
considering a class.”
— Karen Florek
“I loved this class and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking to write their personal stories in a way that is fun, intimate, and creative. This class helped me see the myriad of ways creative non-fiction can be approached. Gone are the days of dull, academic essay writing!”
— Candice May
“Nicole’s creative nonfiction class gave me a greater understanding of how to question our lives and engagement with others as we move through it. I have a more contemplative relationship with my writing than I did before. I am thinking more deeply about even the basic things that are happening in my life and realizing that those things are worth examining and writing about.”
— Kerri Goers
“Before this class I had a limited understanding of what CNF was — this despite having written a memoir! I left the course excited to continue, excited to keep reading more CNF and appreciating the craft of CNF in all its forms. Nicole has a sincere and caring approach — focusing on the positives and gently guiding us to keep stretching our skills. She is insightful and shared her perspective in a generous, authentic way.”
— Pam Johnson
“Taking the CNF course was a turning point in my writing practice. Up until that time, I had been writing more traditional nonfiction and just felt like something was off. I recently published a piece that I drafted in this course and haven't stopped writing creative nonfiction since!”
— Sonia Ruyts
Nicole Baute grew up on a farm in southwestern Ontario and has since lived in Toronto, Vancouver, Ghana, and India. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Forge, Prairie Fire, carte blanche, Cleaver, Wigleaf and elsewhere, and in 2018 she won the Pinch Literary Prize for Fiction. Professional highlights include three years as a reporter at the Toronto Star and teaching creative writing online at Sarah Selecky Writing School since 2016. Nicole currently lives with her partner and well-travelled cat in Hong Kong, where she is an assistant lecturer and writing coach at the University of Hong Kong.
You can find Nicole at nicolebaute.com.