Books by Graduates
The Nonfiction Writing Program is broadly devoted to literary nonfiction and serves the purposes principally of people who aspire to become writers. But it serves equally well persons who imagine themselves teaching writing or in a job that emphasizes strong writing and editing skills. Although as many as half the required hours may be taken as electives in other graduate courses -- for what a writer may need to know is open ended and entirely beyond prescription -- work in the essay and on prose style is a fundamental feature of the program. Applicants come with varied (and often professional) experience as freelance writers, journalists, and teachers. Normally it takes three years to complete the program.
For further information, students may contact Robin Hemley, Department
of English, University of Iowa, 308 English Philosophy Building,
Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1492.
Application: Persons must submit the following items:
- A completed Application for Admission to the Admissions Office
(to ensure that minimum Graduate College requirements are met),
or, if already a graduate student at The University of Iowa,
a Change of Objective form. [See Graduate College Admissions.]
- A brief statement (no more than 500 words) explaining the
applicant's reasons for choosing this particular degree program.
- Writing sample(s), which may represent any form of literary
nonfiction, such as personal essays, cultural commentary, in-depth
portraits, interviews, memoirs, and feature stories. Given the
limited number of admissions available each year, we seek applicants
with distinctive writing ability from a variety of backgrounds.
- Three letters of recommendation.
Deadline: Applications must be approved by the Admissions Office,
completed with all supporting materials, and received by the
Department of English by January 1. (Please note that this date
is earlier than that established for general admission to the
Graduate College.) The department no longer has spring admission
for this program.
January 1: For admission in June or August
Contact Vicky Dingman,
Secretary for Graduate Studies, by e-mail to request an application.
Course Requirements: In conjunction with an advisor, each student plans a coherent (and typically very individual) program of study. The degree requires a total of 48 semester hours. At least 30 of these hours must be earned in residence at Iowa; 24 must involve work in program-designated courses, with from 4 to 8 of those hours committed to the thesis.
Electives: Within the requirements specified above, students may choose widely among courses not only in English, but in any other department of the university, so long as it is for graduate credit and the student satisfies whatever prerequisites a particular course may require. As many as 24 of the total 48 hours may be in course work outside the Nonfiction Writing Program. Programs like the Writers' Workshop and the Iowa Center for the Book offer courses attractive to many of our students. Or it may serve you well to study geology, for example, if you wish to write of earthly matters. On the other hand, students often find at least equal advantage in taking more than the minimum amount of work in nonfiction writing courses.
Thesis: All students within the program are required to write a thesis. The thesis may be a single, extended piece of nonfiction or a collection of essays. In either case, we seek work finished to the point of being ready for submission for possible publication. A proposal for the thesis is submitted to the thesis director for approval before the student registers for the required thesis credit. After completing the work, the student must pass an oral defense conducted by the thesis committee and receive the committee's approval of the completed thesis.
Books by Graduates
Marilyn Abildskov, Wide Love in a Narrow Place, forthcoming, University of Iowa Press, 2004
Faith Adiele, Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun in Thailand, forthcoming, W.W. Norton, 2004
Jon Anderson, City Watch: Discovering the Uncommon Chicago, University of Iowa Press, 2001
Julene Bair, One Degree West: Reflections of a Plainsdaughter, Midlist Press, 2000 (Winner of Midlist Award for Creative Nonfiction)
Jo Ann Beard, The Boys of My Youth, Little Brown, 1999
John D'Agata, ed. The Next American Essay, Graywolf Press, 2003
John D'Agata, Halls of Fame, Graywolf Press, 2001
Robert Eaton, The Lightning Field: Travels in and Around New Mexico, Johnson Books, 1995
Hope Edelman, Mother of My Mother: The Intricate Bond Between Generations, Dial Press, 1999
Hope Edelman, ed. Letters from Motherless Daughters: Words of Courage, Grief, and Healing, Delta, 1996
Hope Edelman, Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss, Addison Wesley, 1994
Kate Gleason, co-author with Janusz Bardach, Surviving Freedom: After the Gulag, University of California Press, 2003
Kate Gleason (with Bardach), Man Is Wolf to
Man, University of California Press, 1998
Joelle Fraser, The Territory of Men: One Woman's Trespass,
Villard Books, 2002
Brian Lennon, City: An Essay, University of Georgia Press, 2002 (Winner of the Associated Writing Programıs Award for Creative Nonfiction, 2001)
Brian Lennon, Dial Series One, Potes & Poets Press, 2000
Greg Lichtenberg, Playing Catch with My Mother, Bantam, 1999
Carolyn Lieberg, Little Sisters, Circulus Publications,
Wildcat Canyon Press, Berkeley, 1998. German translation, 1999
Carolyn Lieberg, Calling the Midwest Home, Wildcat Canyon Press, 1996.
Carolyn Lieberg, Suriname, Grolier Publications, Children's Press, Chicago, 1995
Elmar Lueth, No Such Country: Essays Toward Home, University of Iowa, 2002
Tom Montgomery-Fate, Beyond the White Noise, Chalice Books, 1997
Donald Nichols, Currency of the Heart, University of Iowa Press, 2002.
Donald Nichols, The Personal Investor's Complete Book of Bonds, Longman's Financial Services, 1989.
Donald Nichols, The Income Investor, Longman's Financial Services, 1988.
Donald Nichols, ed. The Handbook of Investor Relations, Irwin Profesional Publications, 1988.
Donald Nichols, Dow Jones Irwin Guide to Zero Coupon Investing, Dow Jones Irwin, 1986.
Donald Nichols, Live Cycle Investing, McGraw Hill, 1985.
Donald Nichols, Starting Small, Investing Smart, Dow Jones-Irwin, 1984
Dan Roche, Love's Labors: Memoir of a Young Marriage and Divorce, Riverhead Books, 1999.
Martin Roper, Gone, Henry Holt, 2002
Annie Tremmel Wilcox, A Degree of Mastery: A Journey Through Book Arts Apprenticeship, New Rivers Press, 1999.