NWP Master Classes

October 28, 2017 - 10:00am to 4:00pm
201 Becker (BCSB), University of Iowa

MFA students in the Nonfiction Writing Program will offer two-hour Master Classes focused on writing craft on October 28th and November 4th. These free courses are open to undergraduate writers and the wider community. To participate, interested students can register for classes online at https://nwpmasterclassesfall2017.eventbrite.com.


Drop It Like It’s Plot: Experimental Prose

Pump your prose with alternative and sustainable fuels.  

Saturday, October 28th, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., 201 BECKER

How does a story function without a sequence of events? Let’s observe the narrative contortions and backflips that storytellers have used to bypass the traditional arc of rising and falling action. Students will write as they witness how emphasis on language, structure, voice, and ideas, can generate new and vital sources of momentum. You will leave with a number of innovative techniques for driving a story forward. Given that true stories rarely unfold with coherence, this class is especially valuable to writers of nonfiction.

Instructor: Dina Peone is a graduate student in the Nonfiction Writing Program who teaches The Art and Craft of Personal Writing.


Fight or Write? Breaking Down the Beauty of Face Punching

“If this life is not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight.” - William James

Saturday, October 28th, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m., 201 BECKER

Why is fighting such a significant part of the human identity? There is no narrative without conflict. From Plutarch to Kendrick Lamar, writers have been reflecting on the importance of hand-to-hand combat for centuries…and now it’s your turn. In this class, we will enter the ring with some of the most celebrated names in combat sports literature and discover ways to use the language of violence for our own writing. We will watch footage and listen to interviews from famous fighters and analysts about the emotional and physical cost of what it means to lay it all on the line, as we spar with ways to write the beauty behind breaking faces. By the time you leave, you will have both a vocabulary of violence and writing techniques to attack the page as you tap into your inner word warrior with a new appreciation for conflict.

Instructor: Julie Kedzie is a fight analyst, trainer, and former UFC fighter with over fifteen years of professional experience in combat sports. She is pursuing an MFA in Nonfiction, can take a punch, and continues to work as a color commentator in Mixed Martial Arts.


Punk Rock to Pokemon: Writing Your Subculture

Show the ins and outs of your cliques and cults

Saturday, October 28th, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m., 201 BECKER

We all have that one weird interest. Maybe you love beekeeping, or are fascinated by Korean soap operas. We know that subcultures -- groups of people bound together by shared interest -- have their own languages. But what else sets them apart from a culture at large? What are the rituals, beliefs, and behaviors that make a subculture worth engaging in? From rappers, ravers, and role-players, to bronies, beatniks and bodybuilders, we’ll study some of the best writing about subcultures, and generate our own writing about human passion, infusing our fascination and skepticism with empathy and generosity as we go.

Instructors: Taney Kurth has written about everything from American Sign Language to antique consignment stores to video games tournaments. Robert Peck is an avid birder, a Redditor and a Pokemon master. His writing has appeared on Cracked.com and in newspapers from California to Connecticut.


Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Corey Campbell in advance at corey-campbell@uiowa.edu.