Creative Writing | College of Arts

Creative Writing

creative writing title

The School of English and Theatre Studies, which has on its faculty some of Canada’s most recognized and respected creative writers, will launch a creative writing major for undergraduate students in the Fall 2022 term. The School will continue to offer a minor in creative writing as well. The school also offers The University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA program, which is one of the best known and admired graduate creative writing programs in the country and which is located of the University of Guelph-Humber campus in suburban Toronto. Many of our MFA graduates have gone on to establish themselves as published writers, scholars, teachers and public intellectuals.

Housed in the School of English and Theatre Studies, the undergraduate creative writing major will focus on writing that explores issues of social justice and the environment.

Studying creative writing at the University of Guelph taught me the importance of storytelling, and bearing witness to the stories of others. I learned how to craft my own experiences and present them persuasively, write with intention, and build a world with my words. These are skills I carry with me everywhere I go.

As part of my undergraduate degree, I participated in the memoir writing workshop class hosted by the University of Guelph through the Walls to Bridges Collective. This invaluable learning experience gave me the opportunity to learn about myself as I developed as a scholar and gave me insight into the complexity and compassion present in the world at large. My experience in creating writing was a cornerstone of my undergraduate experience and will be one I will surely be drawing upon for many years to come. I highly recommend taking creative writing classes at the University of Guelph.

The experience of studying creative writing at the University of Guelph shaped who I am as a writer, scholar and person. I learned more than how to write memoirs, stories and poems: I developed my capacity for language and honed a skill set that helps me move through the world with compassion, consideration and cognizance I don’t think I could have acquired otherwise.

Dr. Hill's creative writing class unlocked a part of me. I write with new confidence and a sharper point of view. I learned to critique other students' work and my own with generosity rather than judgment. And I gained a realistic understanding of the industry through writer and publisher visits. I read widely and I wrote often, and I loved it.

Every Fall term, the Gryphons Read organizing committee stages an annual common reading program at the University of Guelph. It engages a Canadian writer to visit with undergraduate students, graduate students and the general public to discuss their featured book. The university purchases hundreds of copies of a book by the visiting. Writer, and gives them to students who sign up for friendly book club discussions about the book in question. In previous years, the university has brought the following writers to campus to speak about a work that hundreds of students have enjoyed reading.

These writers have each been featured as the annual Gryphons Read author, and have come to campus (virtually or in person) to give talks and to visit with classes of undergraduate and graduate students:

Zoe Whittall (The Best Kind of People)
David Chariandy (Brother)
Eden Robinson (Son of a Trickster)
Shyam Selvadurai (Funny Boy)
Vivek Shraya (The Subtweet)

In 2022, the featured writer will be Silmy Adbullah, author of the short story collection Home of the Floating Lily.

In the fall 2019 term, in conjunction with the Walls to Bridges program, Professor Hill taught a third year, undergraduate memoir writing workshop inside a federal penitentiary in Kitchen named Grand Valley Institution for Women. Eleven “outside” students who were enrolled in studies as traditional U of Guelph students entered the prison once a week with their professor, and took part in a 12-week creative writing workshop alongside “inside” (incarcerated) students. Both groups of students spent the term writing memoirs and sharing them with each other. Corrections Canada suspended university education inside federal penitentiaries during the pandemic, but the Walls to Bridges program – which brings professors and university students into courses of study with incarcerated people across Canada -- may be reinstated if public health allows.

Creative writing MFA students have created HELD, a fabulous online literary journal: www.heldmagazine.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

about the undergraduate creative writing major and minor, contact Professor Lawrence Hill, Chair of the undergraduate creative writing committee, at: lhill03@uoguelph.ca.