Writing Literary Journalism

Professor: Simon Lewsen
Course code: WRR312H1
Format: Lecture/Discussion/Tutorial

About this course

This course introduces students to works by some of the most influential literary journalists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Classes will be devoted to individual literary-journalistic genres: the personal essay, the profile, the polemic, the memoir, literary reportage, and cultural criticism. Students will look closely at key writers who worked across these genres: George Orwell, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates. Over the semester, students will develop and write a feature-length work of literary journalism in a genre of their choice, to be refined through peer workshop and instructor feedback.

What you’ll learn

  • Experience plants and trees up close through local field trips.
  • Learn how plants enable us not only to survive but thrive.
  • Trace humans’ changing understanding of and interactions with plants over time and place.
  • Analyze and write about plants from different perspectives — rhetorical, aesthetic, and political.

Course highlights

If you’re interested in different ways to think, write, and talk about the environment, especially plants, then this course will speak to you. Whether you are a science student seeking a fresh view of plants or a humanities or social science student interested in paying closer attention to the natural world, you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of and a renewed appreciation for plants. You will deepen your knowledge about plants and the environment, and develop your ability to communicate that knowledge through a research project of your own choosing.

A personal note from your instructor

Good to know

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Have a question?

Need more info? Want to discuss if the Writing & Rhetoric Program is right for you? Looking for help in choosing courses? Jannie Chien, the Innis College academic program coordinator, can help!