Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

English

Creative Writing

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 poets and fiction writers in the country.

Each year, thanks to the endowment of the Sophie Kerr Fund, the College brings to campus a succession of distinguished writers, editors, and literary scholars. Jane Smiley, Billy Collins, Joyce Carol Oates, William Kennedy, Heather McHugh, Li-Young Lee, Robert Creeley, Charles Baxter, Eamon Grennan, Jayne Ann Philips, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Tim O’Brien 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 $64,243 in 2010 the largest undergraduate literary prize in the country), as well various student publications that spring from the imaginations of students who find a welcoming and creative environment in the Rose O’Neill Literary House.

The minor in creative writing can be achieved through the successful completion of five courses—Introduction to Creative Writing (students who previously completed Introduction to Creative Writing may continue to count them) and then any combination of four 300/400-level creative writing courses including those indicated below, as well as additional “special topics” courses.

ENG 103. Introduction to Creative Writing

A workshop introducing new writers to several forms of creative writing, specifically poetry and fiction. Students will use classic and contemporary literature as models for their own efforts. In the fall semester, this course is only open to first-year students. In the spring semester, beginning writers from all years may enroll in ENG 103.

ENG/DRA 351. Playwriting I

Analysis and practical application of techniques and styles employed in writing for the stage.

ENG 352. Forms of Poetry

This course explores the rich literary tradition of received forms in English and American verse. By studying a wide range of formal poems students will discover the adaptability of fixed forms like the sonnet, villanelle, and sestina. Class assignments will include both critical writing and creative �experiments� in poetic forms. Students are strongly encouraged to take Forms of Poetry in preparation for the “Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry.”

ENG 353. Contemporary American Literature: Living Writers

This course focuses on the study of American poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from 1945 to the present. (The course alternates among the genres of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction.) Emphasis includes an examination of the work of major American writers of the last half-century. The course is structured in a way similar to a traditional offering in literature with this difference: some of the writers whose work is studied in class will at some time during the semester come to campus to visit the class, discuss their work with participants, and give a public reading.

ENG/DRA 451. Playwriting II

An advanced workshop in writing for the stage. Prerequisite: ENG 351 Playwriting I.

ENG 452. Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction

Prerequisite: Introduction to Creative Writing. (Students who completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing in previous years are also eligible to register.) Primarily intended for juniors and seniors.

ENG 453. Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry

Prerequisite: Introduction to Creative Writing. (Students who completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing in previous years are also eligible to register.) Primarily intended for juniors and seniors.

ENG 454. Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction

This course will use a workshop approach for students who are interested in developing their skills in a kind of writing which combines elements of journalism, such as the feature article, with elements of the literary, such as the personal essay. In addition, students will also develop their essay skills in the form of the personal narrative and travel writing. In essence this course treats the various forms of the essay with a special emphasis on the creative ways the genre can be interpreted and rewritten. Readings of representative essays will be included. Prerequisite: Introduction to Creative Writing. (Students who completed Freshman Creative Writing or Intermediate Creative Writing in previous years are also eligible to register.) Primarily intended for juniors and seniors.