The Nonfiction Writing Program

NWP Expands Its Outreach, from IC to NY to LA

NWP graduate students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York

This spring marks the fifth anniversary of The Nonfiction Writing Program’s popular Outreach program, which sends NWP students into communities near and far to offer free master classes in creative writing.

In the fall, NWP third-years Brittany Borghi, Micah Fields, Dina Peone, and Lucy Schiller visited Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, to teach a full day of classes to undergraduates. “Teaching the undergraduate students was an awesome experience,” says NWP student Brittany Borghi. “It was a thrill and a challenge to plan and co-teach a four-hour master class, and the students were so engaged and excited to work with us—there was so much energy in the classroom. The whole weekend was humbling and deeply fun.”

Closer to home, NWP students also taught free, two-hour master classes open to everyone in the Iowa City community. These master classes are uniquely designed by NWP students, and encompass a wide range of fun and interesting topics. Current students Robert Peck, Taney Kurth, Aracely Mondragon, Tiffany Tucker, Julie Kedzie, M.K. Brake, and Dina Peone all taught undergraduates how to write about everything from MMA fighting to unusual American subcultures to experimental art.

The Outreach program’s master classes are offered by NWP students every semester, free of charge, and have become so popular that they now fill up within a few days of being announced.

“We think it’s important to give back,” says NWP director John D’Agata, NWP ’98. “It’s no secret that Iowa is not a wealthy state, and yet the taxpayers here have continued to make significant investments in creative writing. We want to show our appreciation for that generosity by sharing the talents of our extraordinary students with our neighbors here.”

The NWP’s Outreach program also includes the unique Lloyd-Jones Residency for Versatile Writing, which has served three dozen high school students in rural Iowa since being founded last year. The residency aims to honor the legacy of longtime English faculty member Richard Lloyd-Jones, and was made possible with the support of his widow, Jean Lloyd-Jones.

In all, the NWP estimates that it offers over 110 hours of free classes each year to more than 400 students—an effort that has benefited about 2,000 students over the past five years.

This March, the NWP will offer another weekend of free master classes to the Iowa City community, and will also host twenty high school students from Los Angeles who will come to the UI campus for three days of master classes designed especially for them.

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