English 143N

Prose Nonfiction: Food Writing

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2019 Stevenson, Max
TuTh 2-5 246 Dwinelle C

Book List

Reichl, Ruth: The Best American Food Writing 2018


This eight-week summer class centers on workshopping your own literary nonfiction, helping you draw on the distinctive forms and techniques of the personal essay, memoir, travel writing, cultural criticism, and journalistic reportage to speak to, on, about, through, or with food. 

Writing thoughtfully about eating presents several peculiar challenges, from the basic difficulty of representing taste through language to the subtle trick of using the ubiquitous and quotidian to shape a distinct and individual voice. In addition to our assigned text (The Best American Food Writing 2018, edited by Ruth Reichl), readings that will help you meet those challenges in your own prose will include pieces by M. F. K. Fisher, Chang-rae Lee, Anthony Bourdain, Jhumpa Lahiri, Fuchsia Dunlop, Gabrielle Hamilton, John McPhee, and a range of other classic and contemporary writers who’ve worked in the genre. Berkeley itself occupies a special place in the history of American food culture, and so we will also draw on its gastronomic resources (read: restaurants, markets, and kitchens) when and wherever possible. 

Assignments will include workshopped and revised essays, a series of more informal written exercises, and careful and considered feedback on the work of your peers. 

Note that while during fall and spring semesters admission to 143N requires an application process, no application is needed to register for the summer version of the course.

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