Creative writing: “literary nonfiction”


In collaboration with Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Nordic House invites you to an evening filled with literary nonfiction and creative writing. Entrance is free!

Xu Xi: What we write when we say we write “literary nonfiction”

When it comes to “literary nonfiction,” what are we really writing and why do we write what we write? In the U.S. and U.K., where the majority of English language writing is published, as well as in other English language markets, the memoir remains a very popular form. But if you’re not a celebrity or somehow notorious, or have lived through trauma or catastrophe of some kind, or were witness to or involved in important sociopolitical, historical or scientific events, do you really have a story anyone wants to read?

Is nonfiction about storytelling or is it something else? In this lecture, Xu Xi will discuss writing “literary nonfiction,” a genre that is by definition not-fiction, but is also not necessarily academic writing or straight journalism, two forms that are clearly nonfiction. She will share her own experience of grappling with content and form for her three-and-a-half essay collections and one memoir, and talk about the traditions in literature that influenced her thinking and approach.

The program of the evening: 

14:30-16:00 Lecture/Discussion: Xu Xi (NF) Nordic House auditorium
16:00-17:00 Reading & discussion: Runar Helgi Vignisson and Jason Grunebaum Nordic House auditorium Moderator: Xu Xi
17:00-17:30 Break  
17:30-19:00 Dinner & talk: Chef Sveinn Kjartansson/Icelandic food culture Aalto Bistro
19:00-20:30 Dessert & Closing Event with VCFA and Icelandic MFA students Nordic House auditorium: Readings by VCFA and U of I students


The event starts at 14:30 and the entrance is free. Everyone is welcome as far as there is room. The seminar will be in English.

AALTO Bistro in the Nordic House is open for dinner guests between 17:30 to 19:00. Aalto Bistro  offers a delicious dinner menu and light meals, all made with first-class ingredients. During the break it is possible to enjoy light refreshments from AALTO Bistro. Dinner is not included in the program. Please reserve a table by contacting AALTO Bistro directly at or by phoning 551-0200.