Creative Writing and the English Major

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           Although there is no Creative Writing major at the University of Scranton, the Depart­ment of English & Theatre offers courses in Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing, Play Writing, Creative Non-Fiction, and Writing for Solo Performance.  Our fiction writers and our poet have published stories, essays, and poems in prestigious journals like The Gettysburg Review, Glimmer Train, RiverTeeth, and the Times Literary Supplement; our resident playwright has had original work staged at regional theatres and in Los Angeles.  Over the past decade, students who have studied creative writing at the University of Scranton have been accepted into out­standing M.F.A. (Master of Fine Arts) programs at Florida State University, the University of Texas, San Diego State University, and the University of Maine.

          Once or twice every semester, the department’s University Reading Series brings up-and-coming poets, fiction writers, performance artists, and memoirists to campus.  These writers spend time working with the students in our writing classes before giving public readings in the evenings, and they frequent­ly socialize with our students and writing faculty after the day’s work is finished.  The department also provides technical support and faculty advising for Esprit, the literary magazine published by University of Scranton students.  One former managing editor of Esprit is currently an acquisitions editor for W.W. Norton in New York City, & another was currently named managing editor of the literary magazine at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia (where she is also a student).

          So why don’t we have a Creative Writing major? First, we believe that anyone who wishes to produce truly outstanding creative work over the long run must begin by reading widely and well.  Everyone in our depart­ment who teaches creative writing also teaches literature courses.   If you plan to take creative writing courses at the University of Scranton, you should plan to do some serious reading as well.

          Second, we recognize that in today’s cultural and economic environment, the odds are very steeply against any individual who hopes to make a living as a creative writer. Like our students (and their parents), we understand that young people no longer have the luxury of finishing four years of college and finding themselves only marginally more employable than they were when they first arrived on campus.  We see our program in Creative Writing as a way of helping our students not just to become writers, but rather to become doctors who write poetry, teachers who write stories, and lawyers who write not just for the courts and the law journals but for the small literary journals as well.

For more information, please contact Prof. Jay Hill at hillj1@scranton.edu or 570-941-7427.