Sarah Gerard

BA, Hofstra University. MFA, The New School. Sarah is the author of the essay collection Sunshine State; the novel Binary Star, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times first fiction prize; and two chapbooks, most recently BFF. She teaches writing at Columbia University and for independent workshop series, including Catapult, Sackett Street, and Brooklyn Poets. Her short stories, essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in The New York TimesGranta, The BafflerViceBOMB Magazine, and other journals, as well as in anthologies. She writes a monthly column for Hazlitt and is currently at work on several books, including a novel about love and a nonfiction book about a murder. SLC, 2018–

Previous Courses

Nonfiction Craft: Experiments in Form


Creative nonfiction is a fusion of genres that uses elements of fiction such as dialogue, scene, character, and metaphor. Creative fiction also employs the tools of poetry, journalism, memoir, and even visual art to tell its stories. In this class, we’ll see how this open field of possibility allows us to venture into new kinds of expression, style, and form. We’ll see how those newly crafted modes uniquely position us, as writers, to be agents of social and political change and to practice finding the universal in our personal stories. To this end, we’ll discuss the use of research: how to conduct it, its ethical boundaries, and how to balance it with personal content. We’ll also explore the possibilities of point of view, tense, and voice—and practice using them as tools of storytelling. This class will involve assigned readings, in-class discussions, sharing and discussion of student work, written responses, and writing prompts to help you find the voice and shape of your creative nonfiction. Among our readings will be works by Hilton Als, Leslie Jamison, Patty Yumi Cottrell, Wayne Koestenbaum, Kelly Sundberg, Italo Calvino, Durga Chew Bose, Mary Ruefle, Anna Journey, Elena Passarello, Emily Witt, Justin Taylor, Margo Jefferson, Lidia Yuknavitch, Diana Spechler, T. Kira Madden, Jacqueline Woodson, and John Jeremiah Sullivan.