This course provides an introduction to the craft of travel writing. Students will consider the skills required to write compelling, engaging nonfiction: character sketches, concrete and vivid detail, point of view, narrative drama, and scene construction. We will read and discuss essays about countries on our voyage written by the world’s greatest travel writers, including Paul Theroux, Pico Iyer, Lawrence Durrell, D.H. Lawrence, Bill Bryson, and others. Writing assignments will include short essays written about our ports of call, which will be read and discussed in a supportive, respectful, yet challenging workshop.
Field WorkCountry: Spain
Day: 2 - Cadiz - Sunday, 5 October
This field lab will take place on Sunday, 5 October. The class will travel to the nearby park of Los Torruños. The park is located right on the coast, next to marshes, salt plains and full of local wildlife. After exploring the park, we will board our boat and travel out to La Covacha nature reserve. Students will be travelling with local experts and a member of the Salarte Association, the people in charge of protecting and fomenting La Covacha nature reserve. Disembark and explore the reserve, learn about its history and functions. Board the boat and continue to La Esperanza salt marshes. Here you will meet the rough diamonds that are the workers of the salt plains. Watch them perform a “Despesque” (artisanal net fishing in the water channels) and join them as they prepare your lunch with what they have caught. Your fish will be barbequed and smoked over heather & brush fires. While you are lunching there will be the option of birdwatching and mixing with some of the Cádiz locals who personify this special area of Andalucia. Academic Objectives:
- To visit a protected nature reserve renowned for its salt lakes and protected ecosystem, where they will meet members of the association that is fighting to protect and restore the reserve to its former glory. They protect bird colonies, farm crabs, shellfish & other foods for local restaurants, produce salt and give employment in a time of economic crisis.
- They would spend the morning with some members of the association, receive a talk in Spanish and then interact with them during the morning. Watching them perform despesque (artesanal net fishing in the ocean channels), talking and eating with the workers of the salt plains will give students a chance to really get under the skin of the culture.
- To use this experience as the inspiration for and basis of a travel essay that will be shared and discussed in class.