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Department of

English

“The best way to learn the art of writing poetry is to read as much of it as possible.”  ~ Ted Kooser

What’s a typical week in the life of a Washington College English major? On Monday, your seminar might analyze and discuss work by a famous novelist. On Tuesday, you’ll immerse yourself in the literature of the Harlem Renaissance, in preparation for a field trip to New York City. On Wednesday, you’ll participate in primary source research of a map of Shakespeare’s London. On Thursday, you’ll talk about the writing life with a visiting author then attend a public reading at the Rose O’Neill Literary House. On Friday, you’ll go to a student-led workshop or a literary-themed party, held by members of the Writers’ Union. And over the weekend, you’ll brainstorm ideas for your senior thesis project. 

At Washington College, small class sizes allow English majors to work closely with award-winning English faculty. The Creative Writing minor, open to students of all majors, offers intensive workshops focusing on the craft of writing across several genres. 

The English department oversees the Sophie Kerr Prize: the largest undergraduate writing prize in the nation ($61,382 in 2014). All students benefit from the Sophie Kerr Fund, which helps to fund scholarships and visits by literary luminaries such as Mark Doty, Justin Torres, and Alice McDermottThe Rose O’Neill Literary House provides free programming, paid internships, and classes in literary editing and publishing. Students can join the staff of Cherry Tree: A National Literary Journal @ Washington College, study the art of letterpress printing, or attend book launches of new publications from the Literary House Press.

Our students go on to prestigious internships, top-tier graduate schools, and careers in writing, editing, teaching, law, advertising, and marketing. At Washington College, students learn how to think, write, and communicate effectively, becoming creators of artful language and makers of knowledge.

Recent Stories

  • Image previewTo help get to know the five Sophie Kerr Finalist of 2013, we asked them to answer four questions. Here is what they wrote.
  • Image previewThe event that names the winner of the nation’s largest undergraduate writing prize, this year valued at $62,900, returns to Chestertown on Friday, May 15. Delivering the keynote  will be 1982 winner Peter Turchi, an author known for his elegant, complex books and anthologies on the writer’s craft.
  • Image previewKudos to Julie Armstrong, Val Dunn, Ariel Jicha, Paige Kube, Sydney Sznajder, and Alex Vidiani. The winner of this year’s prize, worth $62,000, will be announced Friday, May 15, at a special event in Decker Theatre.

 

SOPHIE KERR LEGACY 

The gift Sophie Kerr bequeathed the College over 40 years ago the gift enables us to bring to campus a succession of the nation’s top writers, editors and scholars and to award the nation’s largest undergraduate literary prize.

Recent Photos