I had such an inspiring time at UC Berkeley’s “East Meets West” journalism conference that I’m still thinking about it a month later.

I taught a workshop on “Fiction Techniques for Nonfiction Writers,” in which we read Jo Ann Beard’s ever-astonishing and instructive personal essay “The Fourth State of Matter” and analyzed her way with 1) controlled release of information, 2) character vs. narrator point of view, 3) zoom out to external or “cosmic” POV, 4) image, 5) organic form and–the big driver of all these–6) theme.

I sent the workshop participants a list of recommended further reading–essentially, a shortlist of the books and articles that had informed my teaching–and it now occurs to me that I might as well also post it here. In brief:

Rachel’s recommended reading:

Charles Baxter, “The Art of Subtext” (book)

Peter Turchi, “You and I Know, Order Is Everything”:

Ellen Collett, “Inflection and the Narrative Voice: The LAPD Teaches Creative Writing”:

Eileen Pollack, “What We Talk about When We Talk about Theme,” AWP Writers Chronicle, May 2010 (email me if you would like a PDF)

Vivian Gornick, “The Situation and the Story” (book)

And finally, Peter Turchi’s excellent list of resources:

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