Creative Nonfiction

with Nicole Baute


Be yourself on the page


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.




May 6 to June 12

Six-week course
(Only 3 spots remaining)

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 course is for you if:

  • You secretly sense your writing lacks depth, honesty or intensity

  • You’ve taken the Story Course or the Story Intensive but haven’t yet ventured into creative nonfiction

  • You’re eager to strengthen your voice and bring a new freshness to your work in all genres

  • You’d like to write about experiences from your past or issues you’re grappling with in the present

  • You’re curious about the world and believe in the power of asking difficult questions

You can expect to:

  • Discover a new way of writing that draws equally from head and heart

  • Craft unique, engaging personal essays that you can submit for publication and/or use for learning and self-growth

  • Uncover the subjects you care about most, unlocking countless possibilities for future projects

  • Surprise, delight and impress yourself with what you really have to say 

The Details

This is a six-week course beginning on Monday, May 6, 2019, and running until Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Class is in session Monday through Wednesday; students are encouraged to visit the classroom at their convenience during each week’s three-day window.

Although we will focus on the personal essay, this course will also give you the confidence to pursue related forms such as memoir or prose poetry. It is a foundational introduction to creative nonfiction for writers looking to expand.

Features include master classes from well-established essayists, in-class video exercises, a guided reflection to calm you down during any freak-out moments, and a live getting-to-know-you group video call.

Cost: $575 USD

Space for only six students
(only 3 spots remaining)


“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”

–Brené Brown –

Course Overview:

    • Week 1 – The strange power of CNF: exploring a game-changing genre
    • Week 2 – To try, to wonder, to question: getting started with the personal essay
    • Week 3 – Storytelling and the slippery truth: bringing your stories to life
    • Week 4 – Busting out, reining in: focus, research, and point of view
    • Week 5 – Experimenting with form: playing with extraordinary storytelling structures
    • Week 6 – Wrap-up: integrating creative nonfiction into your writing life

Each week you’ll read a few 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 500 words building off that week’s lesson. At the end of the course you’ll have a chance to finish a longer (1,200-word) essay or experiment with an alternative essay form.

  • “I would have been happy if it had gone on forever! ”

  • “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.”

  • “I learned so much, and grew so much as a writer in those weeks.”

  • “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.”

  • “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!”

About Nicole Baute:

Nicole spent three years as a reporter at Canada’s largest newspaper, the Toronto Star, before seeking another way to tell the truth. Her short stories and essays have been published by Joyland, River Teeth, carte blanche, Cleaver, Wigleaf and elsewhere. She won the 2018 Pinch Literary Award for her short story “You Will Be Extraordinary” and placed third in Wigleaf’s Mythic Picnic Fiction Prize the same year. Nicole has taught for Sarah Selecky Writing School since 2016. She believes honesty is the key to a full and happy life—and kicking ass on the page.

You can find Nicole at