Creative Writing

The Creative Writing Concentration in the English major: This concentration allows students to pursue creative writing at a high level in the context of advanced literary study.  The concentration fosters the study of the history and practice of individual genres and of new hybrid forms. Students are offered the opportunity to work closely with the novelist Amy Bloom; biographer Lisa Cohen; novelist and esayist Hirsh Sawney; and fiction writer and poet Tiphanie Yanique. Recent visiting faculty include such distinguished writers as Andre Aciman, Hilton Als, Liz Brown, Matthew Burnside, Clifford Chase, Tonya Foster, Alan Gilbert, Alex Gilvarry, Susan Howe, Erica Hunt, Porochista Khakpour, Paul LaFarge, Lisa Locascio, Douglas Martin, Salvatore Scibona, Brando Skyhorse, Maria Venegas, Danielle Vogel, Jane Windolf and Matvei Yankelevich. Enrollment in creative writing courses in the English Department is not limited to English majors.

Creative Writing in the College of Letters:  Creative writing has long been an important component of the College of Letters curriculum, with an entry-level and an advanced course offered every year and open to students in all majors.  COL majors are encouraged to write creative honors theses. 

The Writing Certificate: The university's certificate in writing is open to students in any field of study who wish to make writing an area of concentration.  Certificate courses include journalism, arts criticism, fiction, poetry, drama, biography, writing on science for non-specialists, and others.  In addition to fulfilling the coursework requirements for the certificate, students create a portfolio of their work and present their writing in public.  The certificate sponsors a number of courses that carry the WRCT designation.  Among recent certificate faculty are novelist Paula Sharp, who taught the senior seminar; and novelist Amy Bloom, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing. 

The Creative Writing Concentration is a competitive program within the English major that is geared toward students who wish to pursue an intensive specialization in creative writing in the context of advanced literary study.

The Creative Writing Concentration supports a rigorous study of contemporary writing practices and their roots, influences, and precursors.  Students learn that writing is a practice that involves an ongoing negotiation of the tensions between creativity and discipline, experimentation and structure, critical analysis and textual production.

In addition to meeting the core requirements for the English major, students must complete four courses within the concentration: 1) a Techniques course or an Intermediate Workshop; 2) an Intermediate or Advanced Workshop; 3) an Intermediate or Advanced Workshop; 4) a Special Topics course or other genre-focused course. (An Advanced Workshop may be repeated for credit.) The Intermediate and Advanced Workshops and some Special Topics courses are enrolled by permission of instructor through an application process explained on the course pages in WesMaps.

Students who intend to concentrate in Creative Writing must complete an Intermediate or Advanced Workshop with a grade of B+ or higher.  They should also be aware that they are not guaranteed a place in Creative Writing permission of instructor (POI) courses and that admission to the concentration is not guaranteed.  A student cannot enroll in more than one Intermediate or Advanced Workshop offered in the same term.

As students pursue the Creative Writing Concentration, they should keep alternative concentrations in mind.  Students who have not been able to successfully complete the four courses required for this concentration - or have not fulfilled the grade requirement in an Intermediate or Advanced Workshop - will find that nearly all the courses they have taken will contribute to the Theory and Literary Forms Concentration.  Please note that students are free to pursue any of the other concentrations.