English Literature - Creative Writing

The English department believes that the study and practice of creative writing elevates the mind, opens new avenues to the understanding of literature and language, enlarges our capacity to understand and communicate, and integrates liberal learning. Our creative writing curriculum has introductory courses, advanced workshops, and independent studies in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and in conjunction with the Departments of Theatre and Dance, dramatic writing and screenwriting. Because good readers make good writers, the English Literature-Creative Writing major includes a strong foundation in literature; students choose from courses in British, Irish, American and postcolonial literatures; film; and the history and structure of the language.

Creative writing courses combine the writing and revising of original works with critical reading of published model texts. All courses conduct frequent workshops in which students learn to productively critique writing—their own and others. Many creative writing courses culminate in a public reading in which students perform the best of their writing for the campus community. The literature component of the creative writing major exposes students to a variety of ways of reading, understanding, and writing about literature, and the requirements for the major ensure that each student will have a grounding in literary history, as well as many opportunities to choose courses that reflect and develop her particular interests. All English majors take a foundation course, Perspectives on Literature (ENG 280), usually taken by the sophomore year, and a capstone course taken during their senior year. In the capstone course for creative writers, Senior Research Seminar in Creative Writing (ENG 481), students produce a substantial original work: examples include a poetry chapbook, a collection of essays or stories, a short novel, a play or screenplay, or a work that combines or transcends genres. Prospective English literature-creative writing majors should enroll in 200 level (introductory) creative writing courses as early as their first year and should take Perspectives on Literature by the end of their sophomore year.

Each spring the English department hosts the annual Writers’ Festival, inviting internationally known writers (including alumnae writers) to campus for two days of public readings, the culmination of a statewide creative writing contest for undergraduates and graduate students, and publication of the festival magazine. The Writers’ Festival is an important part of the co-curriculum for English majors, and students interact with the visiting writers in workshops and informal gatherings. Agnes Scott creative writers are often finalists and first prize winners in the Festival contest.

Students may supplement their English Literature-creative writing majors in ways that develop their personal and professional interests. English Literature-creative writing majors are encouraged to take one or more fine arts courses outside the department as a way of developing their creativity and understanding creative works in context. Many English literature-creative writing majors take advantage of internship opportunities in the Atlanta area at magazines, newspapers, publishing houses, theaters, public relations firms, and radio and television stations. English majors often work on the staffs of the student newspaper The Profile, the student creative writing magazine Aurora, or the Center for Writing and Speaking, a peer tutoring organization affiliated with the English department. 

A major in English literature-creative writing prepares students for almost any career in which creativity, analysis, writing, reading, research, and communication skills are important. Many of our graduates go on to do graduate work in creative writing: some recent admissions have included

  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • The University of Wisconsin
  • Goucher College
  • University of Maryland

Our English literature-creative writing majors choose careers as writers and work in related fields such as publishing, journalism, technical writing, public relations, or corporate communications.