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Help CNF Help Writers!

In late October, in the raw days after a gunman walked into a synagogue a couple of miles away from Creative Nonfiction’s Pittsburgh office, our staff—like the rest of our city—watched too much news, went to vigils, and struggled to make sense of the kind of event that defies logic.

And then we went to work figuring out how we could help, as an organization.

One of our stellar instructors, Jessica Handler, volunteered her time to lead a free webinar about “writing the tough stuff,” an opportunity for 500 writers to spend time together trying to put their feelings into words. The spots quickly filled with people not only from Pittsburgh, but from around the world; it turns out lots of people are interested in writing the tough stuff, and lately, there’s been plenty of tough stuff to write about.

You might think of Creative Nonfiction primarily as a publisher—and certainly we consider Creative Nonfiction and our other publications to be among our most visible and essential programs—but the heart of our mission is inspiring and supporting writers of true stories. And here at the end of 2018—when political, cultural, and economic divisions are deepening, when hateful rhetoric is on the rise, when the very notion of objective truth itself often seems under attack—we take this mission more seriously than ever.

Creative nonfiction is about making sense of the world, sharing what we’ve experienced and thought and learned. It is literature, but it is also a way to bear witness. Personal stories have expanded the range of journalism and law and medicine and even science policy, helping those fields become more expansive and empathetic, and more responsive to individuals as well as the general public.

And yet, certain stories and voices are still heard more than others. As we round into 2019, the Creative Nonfiction Foundation is committed to helping make sure that writers of all backgrounds and experiences have access to inspiration and resources that can help them tell their true stories more effectively and artfully.

In the past few years, with support from local foundations, we’ve been able to offer programs such as “Writing Away the Stigma,” a series of free workshops (most recently for teen writers) focusing on writing about mental illness. The participants worked hard to shape and revise their stories, and then, through a series of public events, shared their work with audiences around Pittsburgh.

In 2019, with support from individuals like you, we hope to offer more programs like “Writing Away the Stigma” and the “Writing the Tough Stuff” webinar—programs at the same high standard of our tuition-based programs, but open to anyone, anywhere, with a story. To do that, we'll need to upgrade our technology to increase access to parts of our onsite offerings, and to offer larger online courses in addition to our small, intensive courses.

Can we count on your help?

Give by mail:

Creative Nonfiction Foundation
5119 Coral Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Or donate online now: