Creative Writing

Program Requirements and Courses

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Additional Program Information

Why study creative writing?

The ability to think creatively and write persuasively are among the most prized skills a young person can possess when she begins to pursue a career, and the study of creative writing is an ideal way to develop and refine those skills. Creative writing — along with the study of literature — also enables students to develop their analytical skills and offers a means of considering important cultural and psychological questions about the self and society and the place empathy and moral responsibility have in our lives.

Why study creative writing at Sweet Briar?

At many colleges accomplished authors work primarily with graduate students. Here at Sweet Briar, novelists John Gregory Brown and Carrie Brown — award-winning authors of 11 books — mentor students from the beginning to the end of their four years of college. These writers offer small, intimate workshops that enable students to work closely with their professors and with their classmates in an environment that is both challenging and supportive. And the creative writing faculty work one-on-one with each senior major as she completes a portfolio of her best work.

As part of an annual series, visiting writers offer readings and visit classes throughout the academic year. Visitors have included Natasha Trethewey, Azar Nafisi, Lee Smith, Beth Macy, Salman Rushdie, Yiyun Li, Derek Walcott and Ha Jin. Outside of the classroom, Sweet Briar’s creative writing students have many opportunities to pursue their love of writing. Students publish a literary magazine, Red Clay, and organize literary salons and service projects. Annual awards offer cash prizes for the best student stories, poems and creative essays.

What can you do with a creative writing major?

Sweet Briar’s creative writing majors have received fellowships to many of the country’s most distinguished graduate creative writing programs, including Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Pittsburgh, while others have pursued graduate degrees in literature, education, communications, law and library science. They have become journalists and opened art galleries; they have led nonprofit organizations and worked as editors and teachers.