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10 cp from 100-level Creative Writing, Communication or Literature unit


ENGL230 Creative Non-Fiction

Unit rationale, description and aim

This is an advanced unit in the Creative Writing minor sequence. Skills around non-fiction writing are key to numerous professional creative writing contexts such as travel writing, journalism, memoir, and literary essays. Students need to be able to understand and apply the conventions and techniques associated with these genres in order to operate in this environment.

Students will study the deployment of literary techniques of composition in a variety of genres of creative non-fiction in conjunction with the practical production of their own non-fiction pieces. The unit will proceed by analysing a range of examples of non-fiction writing, engaging with critical material and workshopping the production of students' own work. Students will be required to develop an ethics of non-fiction writing, including a commitment to accuracy, an ethical approach to the ownership of story and to fair representation, particularly with regard to minority groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The unit aims to develop practical skills in creative non-fiction writing.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - understand the perspective of a range of people including minority groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (GA1, GA5) 

LO2 - maintain an ethical understanding of the functions and power of non-fiction (GA1,GA3,GA4,GA5)  

LO3 - carry out relevant research integrated with self-generated ideas and opinions (GA5, GA8,GA10)   

LO4 - create engaging and informative works of creative non-fiction (GA4,GA5, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may be drawn from amongst the following:  

  • interpretive and theoretical approaches to non-fiction; 
  • the ethics of non-fiction;  
  • critical evaluations of creative non-fiction;  
  • the practice of memoir,  
  • reportage,  
  • feature writing,  
  • profiles,  
  • human interest pieces,  
  • reviews and/or online writing.  

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit engages students in active learning activities, such as reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content in the context of workshop classes. The learning and teaching strategies in this unit will help students to develop core skills in the creation of non-fiction pieces across a range of literary styles. The lecturer will work closely with students to enable the creation of engaging and informative non-fictions works. A workshop approach will be adopted so that students have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of non-fiction forms and a diverse range of contexts. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes of the unit. In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall score of 50% or more. The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practise their skills and receive feedback. 


1.Critical Reflection: 

The purpose of this assessment is to help students become familiar with various styles of non-fiction writing, as well as develop their ethical understandings. It will provide students with the opportunity to describe and reflect on new modes of writing. Students will be required to demonstrate their skills in research, their preparedness to generate ideas, and their ability to understand the perspective of others, including minority groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Tasks can include a reading journal, reflection, analysis, blog, online journal, or oral presentation. 


2.Writing Proposal and Draft 

The Writing Proposal is designed to begin the process leading to the production of the creative nonfiction writing for Assessment 3. In this task students will propose a topic for the final creative nonfiction writing task, identify potential ethical problems and outline some preliminary research (including details and descriptions of three relevant sources).  


3.Final Draft and Reflection 

The purpose of this assessment is for students to develop a more sophisticated approach to the writing of non-fiction pieces by building on the knowledge gained in the Critical Reflection and in the Proposal and Draft process. It is designed to help students learn from the feedback received in the second task so that they can create a more professional piece or short collection of pieces in their second attempt.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1.Critical Reflection 

This task familiarises students with elements of non-fiction writing through consideration of textual modes, content and ethical reflection.   


1, 2 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5 

2.Writing Proposal and draft 

This task requires students to formulate a proposal for a writing project, research the topic and plan the work 


2, 3 


GA5, GA8, GA10

3.Final Draft and reflection 

Working from feedback, the production of a developed non-fiction text integrates ethical and technical elements of the writing process. 


1, 2, 3, 4 

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Cline, S., & Gillies, M. Literary Non-Fiction: A Writers' and Artists' Companion: Writing About Everything From Travel to Food to Sex. London: Bloomsbury, 2016. 

Garner, Helen. Joe Cinque's Consolation: A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law. Sydney: Picador, 2008.  

Hartsock, J. C. Literary Journalism and the Aesthetics of Experience. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016. 

Heiss, Anita. Dhuuluu-Yala: To Talk Straight – Publishing Indigenous Literature. Aboriginal Studies Press, 2003.  

Hemley, Robin. A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel. Athens: U of Georgia P, 2012.  

Hollars, B.J., ed. Blurring the Boundaries: Explorations to the Fringes of Nonfiction. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2013.  

Janke, Terri. More than Words – Writing, Indigenous Culture and Copyright in Australia. Sydney: Australian Society of Authors, 2009.  

Maftei, M. & Tansley, L. (Eds.). Writing Creative Non-fiction: Determining the Form. Canterbury, UK: Gylphi, 2015. 

Miller, Brenda, and Paola, Suzanne. Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012.  

Shields, David. Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. New York: Knopf Vintage, 2010.  

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