Understanding and Evaluating Literary Nonfiction

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13861

Literary nonfiction is a method of presenting factual information artistically. This lesson will help you understand, analyze, and evaluate these types of texts.


Comprehension, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • What do you think of when you think about nonfiction texts?

Jot down the first five words or phrases that come to mind.


  • What is the mood or tone of the words you chose?
  • Do you think of nonfiction as creative, artistic, or expressive?

Today, you'll explore a type of nonfiction that may have you thinking just that. It's called literary nonfiction.

Keep reading to find out more!

Literary Nonfiction

Literary nonfiction merges fiction and nonfiction writing to tell a true story with creative elements. In fact, it is often referred to as creative nonfiction.

Things like life stories (autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, diaries), histories, historical documents (letters, speeches, proclamations), and literary journalism (telling a news story through narrative form) are all types of literary nonfiction.

Literary nonfiction utilizes narrative structures like plot, setting, tone, and theme. It makes characters of the people in the narrative by showing who they are as people with whom the reader can empathize (or not).

Sometimes, it will include the literary techniques that make fiction and poetry so artistic, like metaphors and other types of figurative language.

To learn more, watch What is Creative Non-Fiction? from The Writer's Workshop:

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Quick Review: Literary Devices

Review a few of the most common literary devices with this quick quiz.

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  • How did it go?

If you feel comfortable with the concept of literary nonfiction and common literary devices, you're ready to move on!

If you think you might need additional support, review 10 Important Literary Devices in Prose: Examples & Analysis by Sean Glatch for Writers.com.

When you're ready, click through to the Got It? section.

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