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COURSE NAME: "Creative Writing Workshop: Travel Writing"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Summer Session II 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Daniel Connelly
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MTWTH 1:30-3:20 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN110 with a grade of C or above

This creative nonfiction workshop explores the long tradition of travel writing, fostered by the keen observation and thoughtful documentation of landscape and culture that travel inspires. Students will gain exposure to several subgenres encompassed by the term travel writing including, but not limited to, the travel memoir, the travel essay, guidebooks, and food and humor pieces that tandem as travel writing. The course offers instruction in the research and mechanics of travel writing aimed at the generation of articles and essays for newspapers, magazines, guidebooks, the Internet, as well as how to begin drafting ideas for longer-form works.

Classes move between writing workshops and peer reviews, traditional lectures, discussions of the assigned readings, in-class writing exercises, and occasional class outings or field trips. Readings will correspond to the genres and topics covered and will help create a foundation for the writing assignments themselves. Assignments will often take students out of the classroom and will connect directly with the course objectives. Dedicated to the philosophy that all writing benefits from careful critique and thoughtful revision, the workshops will help students develop critical thinking and editorial skills, while fostering an aesthetic sensibility about their own writing, the writing of their peers, and ultimately a more thorough understanding of the various components of travel writing.


Students will be familiar with the writing techniques employed when generating ideas and producing their own travel pieces. Students will also have gained writing exposure to the editorial skills necessary to offer critique and self-edit, while taking their own work through various stages of revision. 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Lonely Planet Travel Anthology: True stories from the world's best writers (Lonely Planet Travel Literature) Don George (ed.) Lonely Planet; 1 edition (1 Nov. 2016)978-1786571960 This book is available at Almost corner Bookstore in Trastevere

Participation & PreparednessParticipation is the active engagement in the class -- simply showing up and remaining awake does not equal participation. The use of cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices during class will be considered the same as being absent on that day. 15%
Writing Assignments, Readings & HomeworkSpecific Assignments TBA; this may include a travel journal or blog. Evidence of not having completed the assigned readings will greatly lower your grade. Late assignments will drop one letter grade for each day they are late. Assignments that are more than two weeks late will not be accepted. All work must be formatted according to MLA or other specifications or it will drop a half letter grade for each infraction. Papers/ Work with more than 12 errors in grammar, spelling, or syntax will automatically receive an "F" as grade. Proofreading is of the utmost importance BEFORE submitting work.15%
Peer Reviews & Conscientiousness of EditingA large portion of the class will include "workshop" wherein you are responsible for written and oral critique of the work being generated by your colleagues. This is a crucial element of the class and will require as much organization, preparation, and participation as the writing of your own pieces. You will be required to submit a copy of your comments to both the writer being reviewed and to me for each workshop.15%
Conscientiousness of Self-Editing & Process AnalysisOne of the most crucial elements of writing prose is learning how and when to approach the editing process. You will be taking your work through various revisions and drafts and this should be evident when you submit revised work, in particular the final portfolios. Each revised assignment will require you to write a "process analysis" noting the stages you worked through, the elements (strategies) you employed, and a statement about the "readiness" or level of polish you feel the particular draft embodies. 15%
Final Portfolio The Final Portfolio is the sum total of your work over the course of the semester. You will not receive letter grades on your writing drafts until you submit the pieces in the final portfolio. The portfolio should, therefore, contain only polished work. Detailed guidelines about the requirements and format will be handed out in class. No late portfolios will be accepted, no exceptions. Portfolios are due on the last day of the semester.40%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You are allowed two skips, no questions asked. Thereafter, each skip will cost you a 1/2 grade from your final. 
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


This schedule is subject to change and is not the definitive course calendar.

Specific dates, guidelines, readings & assignments will be made available in class & on Moodle.

Week One: Topics Covered

Course Introduction: A brief overview of the history of travel writing

Travel Writing – fiction vs. nonfiction

--The tools of the trade, Generating Ideas, Travel Journals

--Style, Substance, and Sensitivity to Landscape

--Writing in Brief – Guidebooks, Micro-travel Stories & Blog Posts

Week Two: Topics Covered

--Travel Magazines:  The Changing Shape of the Travel Essay

--Cross Cultural Excursions

--Research Before & After the Trip, Interviewing techniques

--Writing on the Road (photography, notes, memory cues, etc.)

--Workshop micro-essays

Week Three: Topics Covered

-- Finding subjects locally

--Internet-based travel writing & Incorporating Photography & Setting up a Blog

--Dinner is the Destination: Integrating the culinary into the journey


Week Four: Topics Covered

--Writing the personal; the travel memoir & longer travel narratives

--Editing: how to use the same piece for different length assignments

--The question of voice & using humor in travel writing

--Pitching stories

Workshop of longer travel memoir pieces

Week Five:  Topics Covered

Workshop continued & Final Portfolios Due

Please note that no late portfolios will be accepted, no exceptions.

We will meet during the final exam period (TBA) and offer final critiques