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.
The English literature-creative writing major requires a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 courses. (ENG-110 does not count toward the major.).
The program of study must include 280, 481, at least two 200-level literature courses, and at least two 300-level literature courses. Two literature courses (either 200-level or 300-level) must focus primarily on materials before 1800 (designated pre-1800), and two literature courses (either 200-level or 300-level) must focus on materials after 1800 (designated post-1800). The creative-writing component of the major requires a minimum of four creative-writing courses, including at least two at the 300-level and courses in at least two genres.
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.
Major Student Learning Objectives - In addition to the outcomes noted in the English literature section, Students graduating with an English Literature-Creative Writing major from Agnes Scott College will be able to:
- analyze and interpret works from at least two creative genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic writing) with an understanding of process, language, and form;
- engage in a creative process that incorporates research, revision, and attention to form, audience, language, and context;
- write with insight, proficiency and originality in at least two creative genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic writing);
- respond to peers’ creative works with thoughtful criticism that supports the writer’s process of revision; incorporate thoughtful criticism in the process of revising creative work;
- apply understanding and knowledge gained from the study of creative writing to other disciplines, problems, and contexts.
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.