11 Common Genres of Nonfiction

Nonfiction writing can be categorized into various genres. Each genre has its unique characteristics and purpose. Biographies, for example, focus on a person’s life, while memoirs are personal accounts of the author’s life experiences. Essays are typically short pieces of writing that express the author’s opinion or viewpoint. At the same time, narrative nonfiction tells a true story in a novelistic style. 

History and science writing focus on factual information, while self-help books provide advice and guidance. Overall, nonfiction writing can educate, inspire, entertain, and inform readers.



A biography is a written account of a person’s life. It usually includes information about their childhood, education, career, accomplishments, and significant events or experiences that shaped their lives.

A biography is a powerful tool that can help readers connect with a person’s life and experiences. Some additional contexts to consider when thinking about biographical works include:


  • Biographies can be written about anyone, from historical figures to everyday people.
  • They can take many forms, including books, articles, films, or documentaries.
  • Biographies can be written by the subject themselves or by a biographer who has researched and interviewed the subject and others who knew them.
  • Biographies can also discuss the person’s cultural, social, and historical surroundings. This helps the reader understand the person’s life and impact better.


Whether you’re interested in learning about a famous historical figure or exploring the life of someone closer to home, biographies can offer a rich and rewarding reading experience.



History is the study of past events, particularly in human affairs. It involves analyzing and interpreting the past to understand the present better and make informed decisions about the future.

Having a good understanding of history is essential for several reasons. Here are a few:


  • History gives us a sense of identity and helps us understand our origins.
  • By studying past events, we can learn from the successes and failures of our ancestors and make more informed decisions about the future.
  • History can help us understand how and why specific social, economic, and political systems came to be and how they have changed over time.
  • Understanding the history of different cultures and societies can help us appreciate and respect diverse perspectives and ways of life.

Studying history is essential for gaining a deeper understanding of the world around us and making informed decisions about the future.



Journalism is gathering news and information, analyzing it, and sharing it with the public through print, broadcast, and digital media. It requires doing research, talking to sources, and presenting information fairly, accurately, and morally. Good journalism is vital to informing and shaping public opinion, promoting openness and accountability, and holding those in power responsible for their actions.

No matter what kind of journalism they do, journalists must follow ethical standards and keep their integrity. This involves verifying sources, fact-checking information, and avoiding sensationalism. Good journalism can significantly impact society, shaping public discourse and holding those in power accountable for their actions.


Narrative Nonfiction

Narrative nonfiction is a genre of writing that tells a true story using elements of fiction, such as character development, plot, and setting. It is based on actual events and people. Still, the author uses literary techniques to make the story more engaging and compelling.

Narrative nonfiction is a genre that can be used to talk about many different topics and interests. Whether you’re interested in history, science, or personal stories, there is likely a narrative nonfiction book for you.


Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is a type of writing that combines parts of fiction with accurate information and events. It can include personal essays, memoirs, and news stories. It often gives more weight to style and creativity than accuracy and truth.

Creative nonfiction offers writers a unique opportunity to explore real-life events and subjects in an informative and engaging way.

Creative nonfiction is a flexible and dynamic genre that lets writers explore various topics and themes while sticking to the truth and being accurate. Whether you’re writing a personal essay, a memoir, or a piece of journalism, the key is to find a way to connect with your audience and convey your message in a compelling and meaningful way.


Travel Writing

Travel writing is a genre of literature that describes people, places, and cultures from a traveler’s perspective. It can take the form of a personal narrative, a guidebook, or a memoir.

Travel writers often focus on the sensory experiences of their journeys, such as the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of unfamiliar places. Travel writing aims to share the author’s experiences and insights with readers and inspire them to explore the world themselves.


Science Writing

Science writing is technical writing that uses clear and concise language to explain scientific information. It can include research papers, articles, and reports on scientific topics. Science writing aims to inform and educate readers about scientific findings and their implications. It often requires specialized knowledge, an understanding of scientific principles, and the ability to communicate complex ideas to a general audience.


Technical Writing

Technical writing is a type of writing that gives specific people technical information. It is used to explain complicated ideas or steps clearly and straightforwardly. Technical writers often work in technology, engineering, healthcare, and science. They may write user manuals, instructions, reports, and technical documentation. Good technical writing ensures that products are used safely and effectively and that research and development are adequately documented.


Business Writing

Business writing is the act of communicating in a businesslike way for business or organizational reasons. It can include various documents, such as emails, memos, letters, reports, proposals, and presentations. Effective business writing is clear, concise, and targeted to the intended audience. It can help establish credibility, build relationships, and achieve business goals.

When writing for a business audience, it’s essential to remember your communication’s purpose. Whether you’re writing an email, a memo, or a presentation, you should aim to convey your message clearly and concisely. Here are a few tips for effective business writing:


  • Know your audience: Before writing, consider who will read your communication. Are you writing to a colleague, a client, or a supervisor? Understanding your audience’s needs and expectations will help you tailor your message appropriately.
  • Start with a clear purpose: Your communication should have a clear objective, whether to inform, persuade, or request action. Make sure your goal is evident from the start.
  • Keep it concise: Business professionals are busy, so avoid unnecessary details and get straight to the point. Use short sentences and paragraphs, and avoid jargon and technical terms unless your audience already knows them.
  • Use active voice: active voice is more direct and engaging than passive voice. Instead of saying, “mistakes were made,” say, “I made a mistake.”
  • Edit and proofread: Before sending your communication, take the time to review it for errors and clarity. Ask a colleague to review it as well.

Following these tips can improve your business writing and achieve your communication goals more effectively.


Political Writing

Political writing is any writing that talks about or analyzes government policies, political events, or problems with the government. It can include news articles, opinion pieces, academic essays, speeches, and more. Effective political writing should be informative, persuasive, and backed up by evidence. It should also be written clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon or overly complex language.


Sports Writing

Sports writing is a form of journalism that covers athletic events and competitions. It can include game recaps, player profiles, analysis of team strategies, and feature stories about athletes and their journeys. Good sports writing should be informative and engaging and capture the excitement and drama of the game. It can be a great way to connect with fans and build a community around a particular team or sport.

Sports writing is a crucial component of the media industry, allowing fans to stay up-to-date on their favorite teams and athletes. With the rise of social media, it’s up to sports writers to make content that is informative, interesting, and easy to share. Some tips for producing great sports content include:

  • Getting to know the players: Building relationships with athletes can help writers gain valuable insights into their personalities, training regimens, and game-day routines. This knowledge can be used to create compelling feature stories that resonate with fans.
  • Staying up-to-date on industry news, From trades and signings to coaching changes and rule modifications, the world of sports is constantly evolving. Writers who stay current on the latest developments in their chosen sport can provide readers with informed opinions and analysis.
  • Injecting personality into writing: While sports writing should always be factually accurate, injecting humor or personality into articles can help writers stand out. This can be very helpful when writing about a team or sport with many passionate fans.

Overall, sports writing is a fun and always-changing field that requires knowledge, creativity, and a lot of passion. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in sports journalism.

Nonfiction can be divided into various genres. Each genre has unique characteristics, but all share the common thread of being based on real-life experiences, events, or concepts. The choice of a genre often depends on the author’s purpose and intended audience.

When writing nonfiction, it’s essential to understand the different genres available and what they entail. Ultimately, your chosen genre will depend on your goals as an author and the audience you’re trying to reach. No matter what genre you choose. However, the key is to keep your writing grounded in reality and based on solid research and firsthand experiences.

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