"I can never get enough of knowing about other people's lives," said William Maxwell. People love to read biography in many forms: fat books, short obituaries, newspaper feature stories, and magazine profiles. This class will explore the writing of short biography, how you can capture the spirit and shape of a person's life in a few hundred words. We will read a variety of writers, from Sigrid Nunez and Oliver Sacks to Janet Malcolm, Henry Louis Gates, and Lawrence Weschler, to discover tools and methods. Students will write (and rewrite) four assignments, ranging from short personal snapshots to detailed book reviews to an interview-derived essay. We will discuss research techniques and ethical issues.