smallest hero image

Creative Writing

Budding writers find the creative writing community at Washington College inviting and full of opportunities to practice their craft.

Creative Writing

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 more than $65,000 in 2021, 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. To hear and see Washington College's creative writers in action, watch the 2021 Senior Reading.

The minor in creative writing can be achieved through the successful completion of six courses and attending six Literary Events at Washington College.  ENG 103: Introduction to Creative Writing is required.  After taking Introduction to Creative Writing, students may move on to 300/400-level creative writing workshops including those indicated below, as well as additional special topics courses.  Students may take either three (3) upper-level workshops or two (2) upper-level workshops plus either one 4-credit course that focuses primarily on editing/publishing skill or 4 internship credits (one 4-credit internship, or two 2-credit internships).  To ensure a strong foundation in literary genres, students also take one 200-level Gateway course and one 300/400 level literature course.

Checklist: Creative Writing Minor

Qualtrics form to sign in to literary events for CRW minors

 Courses

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.

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

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.”

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.

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

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.

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.

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. 


Explore the Creative Writing minor!

Check out the Washington College Writers' Union Literary Magazine The Colophon or use the link below to visit Washington College's Rose O'Neill Literary House!

The Rose O'Neill Literary House