True Story: Teen Creative Nonfiction

True Story: Teen Creative Nonfiction

True Story: Teen Creative Nonfiction happens in either a span of 4 weeks (NYC, Zoom), or 6 weeks (NYC, Zoom, Online). The course includes a mixture of lectures and exercises. It’s open to students age 13-17. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

They say truth is stranger than fiction…and it’s often more interesting. Especially if you can translate that truth into fascinating pieces by learning the craft that goes into creative nonfiction.

Here you will gain an introduction to six major forms of creative nonfiction— memoir, personal essay, feature articles, profiles, reviews, and college essays. You’ll learn what they are and how to create them. Each class is taught by a teacher adept at helping young writers discover and develop their unique voices.

Better writers produce stronger college applications, and an extracurricular writing class is an impressive addition to any profile. When you know how to express yourself well with words, you’ve got a special power.

About True Story: Teen Creative Nonfiction
True Story: Teen Creative Nonfiction

This course is a well-taught, friendly class in which you learn many important writing skills.

Marina Chen



For NYC and Zoom, this course is offered as a 6-week class (with 3-hour sessions), and also as a 4-week class in the summer (with two 2-hour sessions per week).

Upcoming Classes

Masks are not required, but we’ll provide masks for those who want them. We are no longer requesting proof of vaccination.

More Covid details
  • You can still enroll in this class.
    Starts Tuesday, July 16
    Online, anytime
    6-Week Class
  • Starts Tuesday, August 6
    Zoom, 2pm – 4pm ET
    4-Week Class


Registration fee $25, paid once per term



This course lets you explore types of creative nonfiction, and the techniques that go with them. Course components:
     Writing exercises

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Week 1
Memoir: An aspect of life. Mining your memory. Telling a real-life story.

Week 2
Personal Essay: Any topic goes. Make it personal and universal. Shape and voice.

Week 3
Feature Articles: Telling a journalistic story. Feature structure. Feature ingredients.

Week 4
Profiles: Selecting someone to write about. Interviewing. Capturing a person on the page.

Week 5
Reviews: Purpose of a review. Facts and opinion. Playing to your audience.

Week 6
College Essays: Finding a fresh topic. Telling a good story. Enticers—opening, details, scenes.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


Rachel Simon
Rachel Simon

Rachel Simon is the author of the narrative nonfiction book Pickleball for All: Everything But the "Kitchen" Sink (Harper Collins/Dey Street Books). Her essays, features, and opinion have appeared in in the New York Times, magazine, Shondaland, InStyle, Glamour, Vulture, Refinery29, and NBC News. She has constructed crossword puzzles for the New York Times and New York magazine's Vulture. Previously she's been the deputy editor of HelloGiggles, entertainment-news editor for Bustle, and wellbeing editor for Mic. She holds a BA from Emerson College.

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Shahnaz Habib
Shahnaz Habib

Shahnaz Habib is the author of the nonfiction book Airplane Mode (Catapault, forthcoming), and the translator of the novel Jasmine Days, for which she and the author Benyamin won the JCB Prize, India's most valuable prize for literature. Her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker online, Creative Nonfiction, Agni, Brevity, The Guardian, and Afar. She has been awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, and her work has been cited in the Best American Essays series. She holds a BA from Mahatma Gandhi University, an MA in English Literature from the University of Delhi, and an MA in Media Studies from the New School.

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