The Nonfiction Writing Program is one of the oldest—and boldest—nonfiction programs in the nation, located in America's most cherished literary city.

Our faculty are outstanding mentors because they are published working writers, nationally recognized scholars, and pedagogical pathbreakers. Through small workshop-style classes, they will help you hone your creative talent and empower you to tell your stories through essays, memoir, literary journalism, travelogue, biography, and other genres. And you'll have unique opportunities to immerse yourself in writing, from attending readings to editing journals to selecting winners of national awards. 

For the past forty years, the Nonfiction Writing Program has encouraged students to explore new approaches to creative nonfiction while also developing an appreciation for the deep history of the genre.

In small, aesthetically diverse courses such as Forms of the Essay, Readings in Nonfiction, Radio Essays, Literary Journalism, Memoir, Travelogues, and A History of the Essay, the Nonfiction Writing Program strives to create an atmosphere that’s both supportive and challenging, generating discussions and debates in a dynamic community.

During the program’s three years of study, our students receive funding through fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching positions as instructors in writing and literature. They're also eligible for an additional $50,000 in research grants every year to help them pursue their own writing projects.

Occasionally our students travel abroad in a series of overseas writing workshops that are led by the program's faculty, and while on campus they help judge the Iowa Prize in Literary Nonfiction and the annual Krause Essay Prize for innovative essays.

Outside of the classroom, students in the NWP help run a variety of literary organizations, including two highly popular reading series for graduate students, Anthology and Speakeasy. They help read submissions for the national literary magazine The Iowa Review and also edit their own journal The Essay Review.  And finally, they give back, volunteering their time as writing instructors in the Lloyd-Jones Institute for Outreach, through which we offer free and immersive classes in creative writing to people throughout Iowa and beyond.

Krause Essay Prize

Founded in 2006, the Krause Essay Prize is awarded each year to the work that best exemplifies the art of essaying.

Recent NWP News

writer Chris Dennis

Krause Essay Prize Ceremony to Celebrate Chris Dennis

Saturday, March 16, 2024
Nonfiction Writing Program MFA student Spencer Jones

NWP Students Barr and Jones Awarded Marcus Bach Fellowship

Tuesday, February 27, 2024
NEA Creative Writing Fellows page, including NWP alum Marilyn Abildskov

NWP Alumni Abildskov and Taffa Awarded NEA Fellowships

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Congratulations, Bennett Sims, finalist for The Story Prize!

Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Bennett Sims is one of three finalist for The Story Prize.
Writer and NWP student Fi Okupe

NWP MFA student Fi Okupe Founds Nonfiction Award for Nigerian Women

Wednesday, December 27, 2023
NWP student Fi Okupe founded the Abebi Award in Afro-Nonfiction, a new nonfiction award for Nigerian women.
Liv Kane

NWP MFA Student Liv Kane Awarded Magdalena Prize

Tuesday, December 12, 2023
NWP Student Liv Kane wins Magdalena Award for their essay “Feedings,” selected by an alumni judge.
Nonfiction Writing Program bowling champions "Writer's Strike"

The Team "Writer's Strike" Wins the NWP's 116th Annual Bowling Tournament

Thursday, November 9, 2023
Professor Tisa Bryant reports from Colonial Lanes, where the 116th Annual NWP Bowling Tournament drew a crowd on November 4.

Recent Publications by NWP Alumni

Recent Publications by NWP Alumni