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Normal School

The Normal School’s Creative Nonfiction Workshop and Publishing Institute

Course dates

July 16 to July 29, 2018

Application deadline

THE APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR THIS COURSE HAS BEEN EXTENDED! Please contact the Course Coordinator for information.

  • This course combines craft-intensive writing workshops and mentoring with seminars on the dos and don'ts of literary publishing from industry leaders.
  • Participate in intensive writing workshops in creative nonfiction, memoir and the essay.
  • Receive one-on-one mentoring from award-winning, renowned writers, publishers and editors.
  • Attend seminars on literary publishing led by industry leaders.
  • Gain exposure to diverse and dynamic faculty and students in a positive and a supportive writing community.
  • Present your work in a public showcase reading.


Undergraduate: ENGL 422, 3 units
Graduate/post-baccalaureate: ENGL 622, 3 units




Some background in creative nonfiction writing (memoir, literary journalism, and/or essays) will be helpful, but not necessary to be successful in the course. Students of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


  • Submit a brief artist biography (150 words maximum), a short cover letter (1 to 2 pages) detailing your reasons for taking the course, and a 10- to 15-page writing sample in creative nonfiction, memoir, or personal essay.
  • Submit/upload the materials listed above when you apply online by May 14, 2018.


Professor Steven Church

Guest Artists

Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello –

Elena Passarello holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her essays have appeared in Oxford American, Creative Nonfiction, Gulf Coast, Slate, Iowa Review, and The Normal School. New essays are forthcoming this year in the anthologies "After Montaigne" and "Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong."

Elena is an assistant professor of English at Oregon State University; she also worked for a decade as an actor and voice-over performer. Her first book, "Let Me Clear My Throat" (Sarabande, 2012), was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She is currently at work on a collection of essays, "Animals Strike Curious Poses." Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, she lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

Angela Morales

Angela Morales -

Angela Morales is a graduate of the University of Iowa's nonfiction writing program and the author of "The Girls in My Town," a collection of personal essays. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays 2013, Harvard Review, The Southern Review, The Southwest Review, The Los Angeles Review, Arts and Letters, The Baltimore Review, The Pinch, Hobart, River Teeth, Under the Sun, Puerto del Sol, and The Indianola Review.

She is the winner of the River Teeth Book Prize 2014 and is a MacDowell Fellow. Her book won the PEN Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.

Dinty W. Moore

Dinty W. Moore -

Dinty Moore is author of "The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir"; the memoir "Between Panic & Desire"; and many other books. He has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Arts & Letters, The Normal School, and elsewhere.

Dinty has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, and lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions.

Ander Monson

Ander Monson -

Ander Monson is the author of six books, three of nonfiction ("Neck Deep and Other Predicaments," "Vanishing Point," and "Letter to a Future Lover"), two poetry collections ("Vacationland" and "The Available World"), and a novel, "Other Electricities." A finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Award for "Other Electricities" and a NBCC in criticism for "Vanishing Point," he is also a recipient of a number of other prizes, including a Howard Foundation Fellowship, the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, the Annie Dillard Award for Nonfiction, the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award in Nonfiction, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He edits the magazine DIAGRAM (, the New Michigan Press, Essay Daily (, and a series of yearly literary/music tournaments: March Sadness (2016), March Fadness (2017), and March Shredness (2018). He directs the MFA program at the University of Arizona.

Kristen Radtke

Kristen Radtke -

Kristen Radtke is the author of "Imagine Wanting Only This" (Pantheon, 2017). She is the art director and New York editor of The Believer magazine.

Beth Bich Minh Nguyen

Beth Bich Minh Nguyen -

In regular life, she goes by the name Beth. She is the author of three books, all with Viking Penguin. "Stealing Buddha's Dinner," a memoir, received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center and was a Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year. It has been featured as a common read selection within numerous communities, schools, and universities. "Short Girls," a novel, was an American Book Award winner in fiction and a Library Journal best book of the year. Her most recent novel, "Pioneer Girl," is about the mysterious ties between a Vietnamese immigrant family and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Beth’s work has also appeared in publications including The New York Times and the FOUND Magazine anthology. She is at work on a series of essays about high school, music, and the Midwest, called "Owner of a Lonely Heart." She has also coedited three anthologies, "30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years;" "Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: I & Eye"; and "The Contemporary American Short Story."

Justin Hocking

Justin Hocking -

Justin Hocking served as executive director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) from 2006 to mid-2014 and is highly active in creative community-building, small-press publishing, and the increasing synthesis of book arts with literary pursuits. His memoir, "The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld," won the 2015 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction.

"Wonderworld" was also a Barnes and Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection, a Library Journal "Best Books of 2014" pick, and one of "Ten Brilliant Books That Will Grab You From Page One" in The Huffington Post and Kirkus Reviews. He is a recipient of the Willamette Writers' 2014 Humanitarian Award for his work in publishing, writing and teaching, and was named as one of "Ten Writers Who Made Portland" by Willamette Week. His nonfiction and fiction have appeared in the Rumpus, Orion magazine, The Normal School, Portland Review, The Portland Noir anthology, Poets and Writers magazine, Swap/Concessions, Rattapallax, and elsewhere.

Special Guests:  Jeffery Gleaves of The Paris ReviewDan Smetanka of Counterpoint Press and Soft Skull Press, Jon Roemer of Outpost19 Booksand Kate Gale from Red Hen Press, along with CSU Summer Arts alums, Carole Firstman and Armen Bacon. 

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