FICTION and NON FICTION (Learning to Write Well and Read Better)

by  Hank Fincken: A National Theatre Company of One

Program image

Hank Fincken has published some thirty short stories, essays, and a book of plays. Each reflects Hank's love of language, structure, and ideas pertinent to our times. In this discussion/performance workshop, students will discuss the differences between writing fiction and non fiction and then depending on the specific needs of the student audience, Hank will give a dramatic reading of his work. During the reading itself, Hank points out specific word choices and imagery that helps the listener experience the story or essay. A discussion follows in which Hank encourages students to debate the author's goals and how issues or conflict were or were not resolved.

For younger students, Hank has stories based on Andean myths, tall tales, and fables. For older students, Hank reads stories that deal with cross cultural experiences, high school, and life itself.

When the focus is on non-fiction work, Hank will read from some of his published essays. His subjects are most often biographies, contemporary issues, and satire.

Teachers should discuss with Hank their educational goals before requesting the program. Hank will customize the program content to each teacher's needs.

Here are two evaluations from two eighth grade teachers who were doing a unit on writing biographies:

"Mr. Fincken's love for writing was palpable. What a great role model for students! He is a true writing expert. He gave wonderful information and he was very motivating and encouraging. Finally, he did a fabulous job of tailoring the program to the students' needs. Thanks Hank!"

"Hank helped me to better design my lesson plans and instructional strategies. Hank's enthusiasm and knowledge brought a fresh and professional prospective to our biography unit."

Program Rating

   based on 21 evaluation(s).
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About This Program


By Request: $200.00

Hank will provide a discount for multiple sessions requested on the same day from one school.


45-60 minutes (length will depend on teacher's needs)

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Adult LearnersPublic Library: Library Patrons Retirement Communities

Minimum participants:

I would go one on one if that fits your need.

Maximum participants:

There is no maximum but under 50 is best.

Primary Disciplines

Character Education, Fine Arts, Foreign/World Languages, Gifted & Talented, Language Arts/English, Performing Arts, Reading, Social Studies/History, Special Education, Writing

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)

Booking Information

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Sites canceling the program within 72 hours notice will be charged half the regular fee unless the cancelation is weather related. Please remember I lose a full day whenever you cancel. Thank you.

About This Provider

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Hank Fincken: A National Theatre Company of One

Indianapolis, IN
United States

                                   SO YOU KNOW

I’m still performing, but I’ve had to adapt. At this point, no
one is booking in-person live Theatre. So, I do virtual
presentations. To keep it exciting, I perform an excerpt from each
play, discuss the research, and answer your questions. It’s a
performance, a workshop, and an adaptation to your unique interests.

GOOD NEWS FOR YOU: It’s cheaper. Since I usually work through
CILC, I give them a block-booking discount. That discount is for
you. And there’s another discount if you book a second
presentation the same day. Call it the family discount. That means
it’s your turn to do the dishes.

CILC is a virtual learning network. I have received 8 of their
national Pinnacle Awards. The judges are customers from the previous
year, 7 questions that must result in at least a 95% OUTSTANDING
evaluation. My mother never endorsed me with such a score.

LET’S TALK NITTY-GRITTY: I can perform in English and Spanish.
For years, school, colleges, and libraries have said they want
programs that appeal to their Latinx students. So, why didn’t they
call me? Either they found me too expensive or too white. This past
July I taught Theatre in Spanish in Ecuador for the fifth year in a
row. Am I a native speaker? No, but my Spanish is good enough to
tell bad jokes and get the job done. I inspire. In addition, I
lived in Peru and Costa Rica for 6 years.

LET’S TALK DIRTY: All my characters are controversial. That’s
why I chose them. I wanted to have meaty discussions about things
that matter. I will not be preaching simple answers, but I will help
you better understand complex questions. For example, if you think
Christopher Columbus and Francisco Pizarro are horrific men, then you
are simplifying the past the same way White America used to do. If
you want complex history, book me. If you want comfortable history
with easy to identify good guys and bad, please don’t. Don’t you
want to know the “whys” behind their behavior so you don’t
replicate their footsteps?? Hey, CC is not your lazy
brother-in-law! You can also see here that I refuse to let humor
with all its destructive powers creep into my program.

WHAT HASN’T CHANGED. My research is excellent. All my scripts
have been fact-checked by college professors, not college students.
I will present the most accurate history I can (and disregard faddish
history when possible), which provides soul-searchingful insight
about the past and hope for the future. I encourage thought-provoking
questions and will try to avoid only demonizing and stereotyping.

DON’T BELIEVE ME: Ask a tough question. Give me your best shot.   

Hank’s grandfather
used to say, “Go Back far enough and every successful family begins with a
horse thief. “ Then let’s take it as a given: All historical characters have
serious flaws, just like you and me.  Hank’s
goal in representing famous people from history is not to explore a rosy past
but rather to better understand mistakes while keeping in mind noble intentions
and achievements.  Of my eight original
one-man historical plays, six are appropriate for your venue. 

For thirty
years, Hank has presented historical plays with a bite.  He wants the audience to understand that the
past was as complex as the present and the only way to improve this inherited
culture of ours is to honestly discuss virtues and flaws.   No two performances are the same because all
Hank’s plays are interactive, and they evolve according to the interests of
each audience.  In one play, the main
character says, “The History you get depends on the questions you ask.”

provides award-winning study guides.  If
the audience (student or adult) comes prepared, Hank can go deeper into the
material.  Hank interprets prepared
students as a sign that the teacher is as committed to the success of the
presentation as he is.  Hank speaks to a
venue representative long before he arrives to make sure he covers the issues
that the teachers and/or audience think are important. 

Hank has added a new STEM component to all his plays. Details
about this, and how his programs meet state standards, are available upon


Indiana Arts Commission gave him the title of Master Artist, and the Indiana
Theatre Association gave him its Service Award for promoting Theatre throughout
the state.  He has performed all across
this nation and in Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, and Spain.  In the summer of 2019, Hank received his
seventh national Pinnacle Award for his teaching of History and Creative
Writing through video conferencing.  

Hank Fincken

Program Details


Everything depends on the teacher's needs.

1.I begin my talking about my work.
2. I ask students to talk to me about their concerns in the writing process.
3. I read my own work.
4. We discuss this work. Students are encouraged to criticize my ideas in positive ways.
5. We discuss expectations, techniques of writing, and the importance of rewriting.
6. We conclude with teacher questions.


Participants will:
*Understand the role the senses play in writing
*Appreciate the importance of word choices to create mind pictures
*Compare and contrast fiction and non fiction
writing techniques
*Compare and contrast the author?s perspective
with that of the teacher and students
*Explore the relevance of literature to every day

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.[

Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.