Program Overview | College of Arts

Program Overview

creative writing title

Humans are story-telling creatures. Narrative and lyric modes are how we make meaning, and how we discover ourselves and the world. At this fraught moment of ecological peril, amid the ongoing need to address systemic forms of racism and social and political injustice, creative writing offers students essential skills for making meaning and gaining knowledge of the world as they imagine and describe their place and the place of others in it. The study of creative writing offers a range of widely transferable skills: heightened literacy, facility in narrative arts, the ability to listen to and collaborate with others.

As of the Fall 2022 term, the School of English and Theatre Studies offers a direct-entry, undergraduate honours major in Creative Writing in the Bachelor of Arts program that provides aspiring writers with a four-year creative educational experience.

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In the Creative Writing major, with a focus on environmental awareness and social justice, students will learn to frame discussions and perspectives about the changing world in which they live through an exploration of a range of imaginaries. The program’s focus on social justice and environmental awareness will provide students with an enriched global understanding of issues affecting society and the environment, while encouraging students to engage with their communities for dialogue and change. In the lectures and readings of their literature and creative writing courses, students will learn to identify and understand the elements of storytelling and poetics, thereby gaining enhanced literacy skills and a broadened, culturally diverse sense of literary and cinematic possibility. Through workshop discussions, written assignments and peer critiques, students will gain critical and creative thinking skills as they analyze the techniques of creative craft and form in their writing classes and analyze how a text creates meaning in their literature classes. Through the workshop method of self- and peer-editing and evaluation, students will learn how to evaluate the application of the techniques of craft and form in creative work. In terms of communication, students will apply their understanding of these elements in the four-year formation of an extensive body of creative work, including writing exercises, short creative pieces, revisions, and a portfolio. By the end of the major, students will be able to create original, compelling creative work by achieving a breadth and understanding of the elements of storytelling and linguistic precision across genres.

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The major offers students the opportunity to explore three writing genres, gain expertise in two, and create a polished creative portfolio in one. A portfolio and a broader, more expansive artistic repertoire prepare students for further study at the MFA level, which often requires applicants to submit a portfolio that shows literary skill in one genre and competency in another. The sustained writing practice gained in the major, accompanied by an ongoing, culturally diverse reading practice, prepares students for a variety of careers in which narrative and story-telling skill, linguistic facility, and empathetic awareness of an inclusive range of points of view are valued.