Writing in Greece: Travel Writing Forms

Major Discipline(s):
Summer Session I (May 29 - June 24, 2017)


Through creative nonfiction the course will use Greece as a lens to examine the ways writers draw on Greece’s rich myths, history, and literary traditions. It will explore questions that arise when writing about place and travel. In what ways do our expectations and our actual perceptions merge into a narrative? And how do outsiders’ perspectives contribute to the literary composition and creation of place? Students will work on crafting and analyzing nonfiction prose that is reflective, lyrical and/or investigative, and that borrows rhetorical elements from fiction and poetry.

We will explore various questions that arise when writing about place and travel: the ways our expectations and our actual perceptions merge into a narrative and the ways in which outsiders' perspectives might contribute to the literary composition and creation of place. Though our focus will be primarily on creative nonfiction, we will occasionally examine fiction and poetry that addresses such issues.

We will work on crafting and analyzing nonfiction prose that is reflective, lyrical, and/or investigative and borrows rhetorical elements from fiction and poetry. We will examine the way writers use driving questions to focus and propel their narratives and explore the way all good creative nonfiction exhibits an emotional and intellectual distance traveled. We will explore ideas of intimacy and honesty and how to strike an effective balance between discretion and revelation, as well as how to relate our personal stories as not only examinations of certain events but also of the emotional experiences and intellectual connections that those events might generate. As the writer Vivian Gornick has said, “You are the instrument of your own illumination.” Finally, we will explore the difficulties that arise when writing about people and places and how we might do so with honesty, integrity, and intellectual rigor.

Course Objectives

  • To gain an understanding of the genre of creative nonfiction, particularly as it relates to the exploration of a place, whether through memory, travel, or investigation.
  • To explore and study the conventions of “travel writing” and to apply its techniques to our own writing
  • To study some of the writers who have written about Greece, either as outsiders or from a more permanent place within its borders, and from a perspective that is naïve, informed, or somewhere in between
  • To produce creative, complex, analytical, and artful essays about travel and place of various lengths, a portfolio of work composed while abroad
  • To analyze the ways in which nonfiction writers use various strategies, often borrowed from the traditional “creative” genres of fiction and poetry, to articulate their experiences, and to examine the ways that while the writing is creative it is also deliberately crafted
  • To hone skills at critical self-assessment and reflection on the process of writing, as well as to develop skills for critiquing and responding to peer work. 


This course requires a minimum enrollment of 15, with a maximum enrollment of 24.
CYA reserves the right to cancel any course that fails to achieve minimum enrollment by April 1.  Students are advised not to purchase non-refundable airline tickets before early April.


60 contact hours

Fee Discounts:
Students who submit their application for admission with full payment postmarked on or before March 1, receive a reduction of $100.
Students who enroll and participate in more than one CYA summer course receive a reduction of $100 per course.

Essential Information

Enrolled students will have access to detailed information prior to departure that will include directions to the Academic Center and other practical information about residing in Athens. CYA recommends the following websites for general information about Athens and Greece: and  For information on the island of Poros:

Housing / Facilities: Students are housed within walking distance of the CYA Academic Center in either CYA student apartments located in the Pangrati neighborhood of central Athens or in hotel accommodations arranged by CYA. CYA apartments are simply furnished and equipped with a full kitchen and air-conditioned bedrooms. Towels, linens and housekeeping service will be provided. Hotel accommodations will be in simple 2- or 3-star hotels, double- or triple-occupancy, in air-conditioned rooms with breakfast included.

The CYA Academic Center is located next to the Athens Marble Stadium and houses classrooms, the library, the student lounge and cafeteria, computer facilities (including wireless access for those students who choose to bring laptop computers), laundry facilities, and administrative offices. The Academic Center is accessible Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday 5:00-9:00 p.m.

A full mid-day meal will be served weekdays in the CYA cafeteria between the hours of 12:00-3:00 p.m. On Poros, a mid-day meal will be served at the hotel or a local taverna on weekdays. A welcome and a farewell dinner are also included.

Arrival: Monday, May 29
9:00 a.m.: Check-in begins at the CYA Academic Center. Pick up information folder from Student Affairs and course materials from the Librarian.  Transport to CYA apartments or to CYA-arranged hotel accommodations.

6:00 p.m.: Orientation session at the Academic Center followed by an open house offering students the opportunity to meet their Professor and fellow students.

Tuesday, May 30 - Class begins

Wednesday, June 7: Bus transfer to Nauplion. Overnight in Nauplion at Hotel Victoria  (2 nights).
June 9: Visit Epidaurus archaeological site.  Transfer to Poros and check in at 7 Brothers Hotel  
Last Day:  Friday, June 23
Final Examination
Farewell dinner

Departure:  Saturday, June 24
Student housing available until 12:00 noon.  Ferry tickets to Piraeus.