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A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel


A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For centuries writers have used participatory experience as a lens through which to better see the world at large and as a means of exploring the self. Considering various types of participatory writing as different strains of one style—immersion writing—Robin Hemley offers new perspectives and practical advice for writers of this nonfiction genre.

Immersion writing can be broken down into the broad categories of travel writing, immersion memoir, and immersion journalism. Using the work of such authors as Barbara Ehrenreich, Hunter S. Thompson, Ted Conover, A. J. Jacobs, Nellie Bly, Julio Cortazar, and James Agee, Hemley examines these three major types of immersion writing and further identifies the subcategories of the quest, the experiment, the investigation, the infiltration, and the reenactment. Included in the book are helpful exercises, models for immersion writing, and a chapter on one of the most fraught subjects for nonfiction writers—the ethics and legalities of writing about other people.

A Field Guide for Immersion Writing recalibrates and redefines the way writers approach their relationship to their subjects. Suitable for beginners and advanced writers, the book provides an enlightening, provocative, and often amusing look at the ways in which nonfiction writers engage with the world around them.

A Friends Fund Publication.

About the Author

Robin Hemley is a professor of English at the University of Iowa and director of the Nonfiction Writing Program. He is author or editor of eight books including Do-Over! and Turning Life into Fiction and is editor of the magazine Defunct.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

An Introduction to Immersion Writing:

Its Similarities and Diff erences from the Traditional

Memoir and Traditional Journalism 1

In Defense of the Vertical Pronoun 1

Forms of Immersion 8

Chapter One: Immersion Memoir 11

The Reenactment 20

The Experiment 26

The Infi ltration 34

The Investigation 42

The Quest 50

Exercises 52

Chapter Two: Immersion Journalism 55

The Investigation 65

The Reenactment 72

The Quest 76

The Experiment 79

The Infi ltration 83

Exercises 93


Chapter Three

Travel Writing 95

The Infi ltration 105

The Quest 117

The Reenactment 125

The Investigation or Forensic Journey 132

The Experiment 139

Exercises 143

Chapter Four: Ethical and Legal Considerations 146

Ethics 156

Writing about Family and Friends 158

Writing about Others 160

Exercises 166

Chapter Five: Legwork 168

The Proposal 168

Magazine Proposals 178

A Few Words on the Interview 179

The Proposal Reconsidered 181

Exercises 183


Say What You See 185

For Further Reading 189

Product Details

Hemley, Robin
University of Georgia Press
Composition & Creative Writing
Composition & Creative Writing DONTUSE <div>New and engaging ways to think about and practice participatory writing</div>
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Reference » Featured Titles
Reference » Rhetoric
Reference » Writing » General
Reference » Writing » Nonfiction
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Product details 192 pages University of Georgia Press - English 9780820342559 Reviews:
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