Literary Non-Fiction

WRIT 295/3.0

This online writing course is a study of the essay as a literary form, including analysis of readings as well as a series of writing assignments. Complementing the assignments is a mandatory Grammar and Style component.


Literary nonfiction is a broad term describing a range of writing genres, all of which have two simple things in common: they are written in prose (as opposed to poetry) and they deal with nonfictional subject matter (as opposed to novels or short stories). In a sense, literary nonfiction is the documentary film of the literary world,and as with documentaries, literary nonfiction essays and books represent a vast range of styles and subject matter. WRIT 295 offers students an opportunity to study the essay as a literary form. Through the readings and exercises, students will develop a greater sense of how the essay can work as a creative form of writing as well as an academic one. Further, through various writing assignments, students will be able to explore both creative and academic essay writing.

Learning Outcomes

In WRIT 295/3.0 students will:

  • engage the essay as a literary form.
  • encounter a range of contemporary writers working in a variety of fields (travel writing, biography, personal essay, etc.).
  • examine some of the stylistic and mechanical aspects of literary non-fiction writing.
  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the writing they come across.
  • explore some of the similarities and differences between literary and academic writing.
  • experiment with both literary and academic modes of writing through course assignments.

Through these experiences students will:

  • improve their critical reading skills through close readings of course texts.
  • improve their writing skills by creating original literary and academic essays and by participating in dialogue with their markers/instructors through feedback, e-mail, etc..
  • gain greater insight into the breadth and potential of non-fiction writing, both as readers and writers.


Evaluation is based on five assignments and student participation in the WRIT 295 exercises and forums in the Moodle environment. The assignments include creative and academic writing projects. This course does not have a final exam.


5 Assignments (see below for more details)80%
5 Grammar Exercises5%
5 Style Exercises5%
Forum Participation10%

Instructional Schedule

1Literary and Academic Writing500 words10%
2First Academic Response Paper750-1000 words15%
3Proposal and Rough Draft Submission500 words (+ 700 for draft)10%
4Second Academic Response Paper750-1000 words15%
5Original Essay Submission1000-1250 words30%


  1. Starting Out: Literary and Academic Writing -- Two Short Takes on a Theme
  2. Where We Are: Writing about Travel & Place
  3. Who We're With: Writing about People
  4. What We're Doing, How We're Doing It: Form Follows Function
  5. Who We're Becoming: The Personal Essay

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 10-12 hours per week on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s are 1 April (for May summer term), 1 June (for July summer term), 1 August (for fall term), and 1 December (for winter term). All documents must be received by the 15th of the month following the deadline. You can register for a course up to one week after the start of the course. See also Dates and Deadlines.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.