Travel Writing for Travelers (Not Tourists)

ENGL 281

Whether you’re getting ready to study abroad, preparing for an international internship or independent travel, or just imagining the places you’ll visit one day, this course will give you writing strategies for recording what your camera or a brief Facebook post can’t capture.

While facts, statistics and dates are quickly forgotten, vivid written images are not. Your job as a traveling writer and student is to collect and record images in your writing. In The Situation and the Story, Vivian Gornick writes:

“A memoir is a work of sustained narrative prose controlled by an idea of the self under obligation to lift from the raw material of life a tale that will shape experience, transform event, deliver wisdom. Truth in a memoir is achieved not through a recital of actual events; it is achieved when the reader comes to believe that the writer is working hard to engage with the experience at hand. What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened. For that the power of writing imagination is required. As V. S. Pritchett once said of the genre, ‘It’s all in the art. You get no credit for living.’”

Course Curriculum and Features

We’ll explore strategies for travel writing and documenting the imagery and narrative of travel experiences. You’ll read travel-related literature and writing produced by students abroad.

Designed For

Those interested in travel, studying abroad, international studies and creative writing.


Shawn Wong
Professor, Department of English

Dates & Times

Aug 21–Sep 14, 2018

UW Seattle
9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.