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

University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program House

It’s Official! NWP’s New House Opens

Monday, August 21, 2023
At last! On Friday, September 22, the NWP will hold a formal dedication of its brand-new building. The ceremony will feature speeches by the University of Iowa President, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a student representative, and the Nonfiction Writing Program’s Director.

Nonfiction Writing Program Receives New Research Funding

Friday, August 18, 2023
This summer, the NWP received a $450,000 bequest to help start a series of summer fellowships for NWP students.
Writer Brittany Means

The NWP's Upcoming Readings

Tuesday, August 15, 2023
This Fall the NWP welcomes Sarah Viren, NWP alum and author of To Name the Bigger Lie: A Memoir in Two Stories, in September; and essayist Margo Steines, author of Brutalities, in October. Both will give readings at Prairie Lights Books and participate in conversations as part of the Krause Series in Contemporary Nonfiction.
writer Tisa Bryant

NWP Welcomes NEW Permanent Faculty

Tuesday, August 1, 2023
The Nonfiction Writing Program is excited to welcome two incredible artists and thinkers to its permanent faculty: the writers Tisa Bryant and Sarah Minor.
writer Paisley Rekdal

Visiting Faculty News: NWP to Welcome Paisley Rekdal this Spring

Saturday, July 1, 2023
In Spring 2023, the NWP welcomed writer Jordan Kisner, as the 2022-23 Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor. This coming Spring, nonfiction writer and poet Paisley Rekdal will join the NWP in Spring 2024 as the 2023-24 Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor.
writer Chris Dennis

2023 Krause Essay Prize Winner and Nominees Announced

Tuesday, May 30, 2023
The UI Nonfiction Writing Program is pleased to announce the winners and nominees of the 2023 Krause Essay Prize.
UI Krause Essay Prize

Nonfiction Writing Program students help judge Krause Essay Prize

Monday, May 22, 2023
DeafBlind essayist and poet John Lee Clark is the winner of the 2022 Krause Essay Prize, hosted by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.
Bowling team including writer Richard Frailing

Richard Frailing awarded Roxanne Mueller Prize

Friday, May 5, 2023
NWP student Richard Frailing won this year's Roxanne Mueller Award for his essay, "Silver Salt."
Writer Jordan Kisner, photo by Ebru Yildiz

Kisner Named NWP's 2022-23 Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor

Friday, July 1, 2022
Jordan Kisner, the 2022 Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor, will join the Nonfiction Writing Program for Spring 2023.

Recent Publications by NWP Alumni

Recent Publications by NWP Alumni