The English Department at Washington University is constantly seeking to expand the opportunities for undergraduate creative writers, through course work, an array of on-campus events, and community outreach. Our undergrads have gone on to study in some of the most prestigious graduate creative writing programs in the country, found exciting jobs in publishing and teaching, placed work in prominent literary journals and published their first books. See below for some testimonials from former students in our creative writing classes.
Undergraduate creative writers will find a supportive, vibrant writing community at Washington University, where they will have opportunities to read their work at events such as the department's biannual Pushmower Series, an undergrad open-mic founded by members of the MFA Program. Campus publications such as Spires provide a forum for students eager to see their work in print, and the MFA Program Reading Series allows our creative writers to hear the work of some of the most important writers working today.
Faculty and Courses
Creative writing classes at Washington University are taught by our MFA Faculty, our second-year MFA students, and a core of devoted lecturers working hard to meet the needs in this expanding field. In the last several years, we've added nonfiction courses at the 200, 300 and 400 levels, as well as theme and craft oriented courses in fiction and poetry to supplement and complement our already successful introductory (200 level), intermediate (300 level) and advanced (400 level) courses in poetry and fiction. Courses such as The Short-Short, Sudden Fiction and Microfiction, Literary Journalism, and Stories From the Suburbs have become popular new additions, and our goal is to keep expanding. Students enrolled in any level creative writing course can expect to be challenged to become better readers as well as writers. The analysis of published contemporary literature is a vital component of all these courses, along with the critical process known as "workshopping", where fellow students share work and learn to become incisive, sensitive, and helpful critics.
"I took my first undergraduate fiction course more or less on a whim, then pretty quickly found myself taking workshops more seriously than anything else I was doing. For me those classes were such eye-opening experiences. The reading recommendations, the writing assignments, the feedback from instructors -- all so much more than I could have expected. Before I knew it I was on a slippery slope toward graduate school. It's hard to overstate the importance of those undergraduate workshops though. While I was working toward my MFA, I kept finding myself thinking back to lessons I learned in those first classes. And now, in the courses I teach, I'm still doing it, pulling out little bits of wisdom I picked up then and passing them off as my own -- though I try to give credit when I can."
Daniel O'Malley BA, Washington University in St. Louis, 2005 MFA University of Florida, 2008