The Creative Writing Program Mission & Vision

The mission of the Creative Writing Department & Program is to advocate for and support the use of writing as a means for students to inquire and learn, to express their viewpoints, and to communicate with others.

Our vision is to provide a rigorous and innovative curriculum of creative and critical instruction that impacts every student–those seeking creative writing majors or minors, those meeting College Composition requirements, and those engaged in writing for any course, project, or major–who will use writing to shape ideas for a variety of purposes and for diverse audiences.

You may achieve your Bachelor of Arts degree with a major or minor in Creative Writing. Both paths immerse students in the innovative and the traditional, the creative and the critical. While focusing on at least two different genres from the three we offer (Fiction, Creative Non-fiction, and Poetry), students explore the possibilities and challenges in creating original work, as well as some of the techniques for reading and responding to the work of peers and contemporary authors. A parallel study of English literatures further enhances an understanding of themes, narrative styles, influential authors and literary times.

The Creative Writing major leads students through the combined study and practice of both writing and literature with a breadth of experience in various genres and professionalism that culminates in a capstone senior portfolio, while the minor permits students with a strong interest in writing to combine this interest with study in other fields. The minor gives the student an opportunity to write extensively in a variety of genres that culminates in a capstone senior portfolio.

Faculty

Full-time
Catina Bacote, MFA
Gary Hawkins, MFA, Ph.D.
Rachel Haley Himmelheber, MFA, Ph.D. (Department Chair)
Alain Park, MFA (Beebe fellow)
Julie Wilson, Ph.D.

Part-time
Vievee Francis, MFA
Janet Hurley, MFA
Margee Husemann, Ph.D.
Justine McGhee, Ph.D.
Matthew Olzmann, MFA
Erin Sebelius, MFA

Visiting Faculty

Through the Writer-In-Residence program, Warren Wilson invites poets and writers of fiction and creative nonfiction for a week’s stay on campus. Recent guests have included Rick Barot, Kevin “Mc” McIlvoy, Madeleine Blais, Erik Reece, Janisse Ray, and Dominic Smith.

Faculty who have come for readings and/or workshops include Diane Gilliam Fisher, Pedro Ponce, Laura Newbern, Joni Tevis, and Clarissa Sligh.

 

Student Research

Capstone Course

In their capstone course, students complete a 40-page manuscript of poems, stories, essays or novel excerpts, accompanied by a critical introduction to their work.

Creative Writing Internships

All Creative Writing majors are required to complete an internship before graduation (for students in the minor, an internship is optional but encouraged).  Internships can be working with an off campus organization by writing articles for local newspapers; assisting in the editing of literary journals; leading writing workshops for youth programs; or otherwise exploring a writer’s role in the wider community. Alternately, an internship can be an on campus project such as creating an anthology of student work or contributing to one of the College’s publications, such as the art & literature magazine – the Peal, the school newspaper – the Echo, or the alumni newsletter – the Owl & Spade).

Students attend an organizational meeting in the semester before the internship takes place, and then register for the 2-credit course during the internship semester.  Upon completion of the internship, each student writes a self-reflection essay, compiles a portfolio of work completed, and gives a group presentation on their unique process.

Special Opportunities

Through our affiliation with the College’s nationally top-ranked MFA program, students have the chance to work with their capstone semester’s Writer in Residence and to attend the MFA’s 10-day January Residency.

The Creative Writing department promotes several publications in conjunction with The Writing Center that include an arts & literary magazine, the Peal and the Auspex: an Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research. The program hosts several campus events during the year related to the written, spoken, or drawn out word.