Creative Writing Minor
Budding writers find the creative writing community at Washington College inviting and full of opportunities to practice their craft. The minor in creative writing offers a carefully planned curriculum designed to foster the young writer’s creative expression—guidance that is significantly enhanced by exposure to the voices and visions of some of the finest writers in the country. Each year, thanks to the endowment of the Sophie Kerr Fund and the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the College brings to campus a succession of distinguished writers, editors, and literary scholars. Billy Collins, Junot Díaz, Nick Flynn, Jonathan Franzen, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Groff, Ted Kooser, Li-Young Lee, Colum McCann, Azar Nafisi, Maggie Nelson, Joyce Carol Oates, Claudia Rankine, Jane Smiley, Natasha Trethewey, Colson Whitehead, and Jacqueline Woodson are just some of the writers and literary scholars who have come to campus in the last decade to teach, lecture, and conduct writing workshops.
The Sophie Kerr fund also supports the justly famous Sophie Kerr Prize (at $63,912 in 2019, the largest undergraduate literary prize in the country), as well as student scholarships, library collection development, and professional development for English Department faculty. The Literary House supervises about 50 learning opportunities and internships for students, as well as provides a space where students can explore the letterpress and bookmaking in the print studio.
Sophie Foster's PlanClass of 2024 • Reisterstown, MD • English Major + Creative Writing & Journalism, Editing, and Publishing Minors
Year 1First-Year ExperienceFirst Year Seminar
As a first-year student, I took the Jane Austen FYS with Dr. Katie Charles, which ended up being such a revelatory course for me. Midway into the semester, I became invested in an essay that would grow into my SCE, and it was (and continues to be) so motivating to develop an argument I felt passionate about with the guidance of an Austen scholar as insightful as Dr. Charles. As someone who writes primarily poetry, this was among the first times I felt any enthusiasm regarding academic writing, and the English department has continued to foster and amplify said enthusiasm.
Year 2Learning By Doing Getting Involved
When I moved on campus for my first year in person following a virtual freshman year, I was particularly interested in building community, so I became managing editor of Collegian, a copy editor for The Elm, and secretary of Writers' Union. Something that continues to strike me as profoundly valuable in our literary spaces here is the ease with which anyone can find themselves in the middle of them. I had absolutely no interest in journalism at all coming into college, and now so many of my highlights have stemmed from working with The Elm these past few years.
Year 3Continuing to EngageWithin the Community
My junior year was full of many of the same joys I filled my sophomore year with: I became poetry editor of Collegian, news co-editor of The Elm, and president of Writers' Union. Largely, this year reinforced my firm belief that community sits at the heart of everything I value; Washington College's English and literary faculty continually bend over backwards so my classmates and I can collaboratively pursue everything we're drawn to. There are few colleges that send undergraduates to AWP, and even fewer that pay their student writers and editors. I'm always overwhelmed with gratitude for the dedication of our department to its students.
Year 4Senior Capstone Experience and BeyondPublications and Austen
In my last year here, I'll be splitting my focus between serving as the editor in chief of Collegian, editing the opinion section of The Elm, leading Writers' Union for my second year, and writing my SCE with the counsel of my advisor, Dr. Charles. My thesis, which started in that Austen FYS, is fundamentally a character study of Mary Bennet that positions her as a feminist figure in the text and evaluates the evasion of sexualization and the disempowering of men's attention. Beyond graduation, I'm hoping to pursue an MFA in poetry and eventually work toward a career in publishing.
Joshua Torrence's PlanClass of 2024 • Perry Hall, MD • English & Psychology Majors +Creative Writing, Gender Studies, and Medieval and Early Modern Studies Minors
Year 1First-Year Experience Becoming an English Major
I took King Arthur: From Myth to Modernity with Dr. Rydel as my FYS, and that course, along with Dr. Rydel's support, single-handedly made me an English major. I came into WAC just wanting to major in Psychology, but after going through such a glorious English course based in discussion and close reading, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to take classes like it for the next four years.
Year 2Learning By DoingPublications and the Theater
I became the Copyeditor for Collegian during my sophomore year, and being a part of the college's literary publication sated and increased my need to read and my need to write. It was just wonderful to find community with writers after so long feeling isolated from the pandemic. I also played a role in Percy Mohn's senior thesis production of Twelfth Night, which was incredibly fun and opened me up to the theatre side of campus.
Year 3Continuing OnMore Involvement
During my junior year, I became Prose Editor of Collegian, became the secretary of Writers Union, continued my job as a food service worker in Hodson, played the Shaper in Sophia Rooks' playwriting thesis Grendel, started working at the theatre as a member of Gibson Crew, and was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta.
Year 4Senior Capstone Experience and BeyongSexton, T.S. Elliot, and Smart
I will be writing a combined English and Psychology paper examining how the poetry of Anne Sexton, T. S. Eliot, and Christopher Smart are reflective of the tenets of liberation psychology, a praxis conceived by Salvadoran psychologist Ignacio Martin-Baro that repositions psychology as a relational, inherently political discipline. I will argue that the dialogue between the poets shows a real need to imbed Martin-Baro's theories into how clinical psychologists approach their clients in the 21st century. I am most looking forward to my study abroad journey at St. Andrews, Scotland, as well as pursuing an MA in clinical psychology after undergrad.
Delaney Runge's PlanClass of 2024 •Reisterstown, MD • English Major + Education Studies, Creative Writing & Journalism, Editing, and Publishing Minors
Year 1First-Year ExperienceSeminar
For my FYS, I took Jane Austen Fan Culture with Dr. Charles. I felt that this class strengthened my writing skills, prepared me for the requirements of college essays, and solidified my desire to be an English major.
Year 2Learning By DoingInvolvement
During my sophomore year, I became the Recording Secretary for my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, as well as the Social Media Editor for Washington College's Yearbook, The Pegasus. These roles improved my written communication, note taking, and description skills.
Year 3Continuing to Be InvolvedInternships and On Campus
In my junior year, I worked as an intern for Prestwick House, an English Language Arts publisher out of Delaware, and as the President of Zeta Tau Alpha. Additionally, I was initiated into Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society, and Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society.
Year 4Senior Capstone Experience and BeyondWide Sargasso Sea, Jane Eyre, and Publications
For my SCE, I am writing about Antoinette (Bertha) from Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre, and how these works influence reader's perception of her and her voice. I am looking forward to working on two Washington College publications as a copyeditor for The Elm and as the Editor-in-Chief of The Pegasus. Right now, I am considering going to graduate school following my graduation from Washington College.