II - July 21–August 7, 2020
“The professors and students came together as a collaborative, supportive writing community. The professors were very committed to our learning experience and exposed us to an incredible and varied collection of literature that helped us shape our writing styles.” – Allison B. | Los Angeles, California
This workshop is geared toward students who have considerable experience in creative writing or who demonstrate unusual talent. Students read and write free verse poetry, short prose, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction with the goal of developing a final portfolio of revised work.
Two daily workshops expose students to many aspects of the writing process, including generating ideas, writing and revising drafts, and editing. Participants practice their literary craft with an attentive group of their peers, under the guidance of an experienced instructor. They write extensively and participate in candid, helpful critiques of their own work and that of their peers. Students are expected to come to the workshops with an openness to various approaches toward literature and writing.
The workshops are supplemented by weekly one-on-one conferences with instructors and by a daily morning seminar in which participants read excerpts from outstanding works of literature so as to investigate what can be accomplished on the page.
Applicants are required to submit two writing samples, 3–7 pages total (longer submissions are acceptable), consisting of poems, short stories, scripts or creative nonfiction.
Students may choose an optional elective as a supplement to the three required daily class meetings. Please note that participation in an elective will prevent students from partaking in most other midday activities
Comedy Writing: Students spend class time reading, writing, and performing comedy.
Genre Fiction: Students spend class time reading and writing different types of genre fiction, including science fiction, horror, crime, fantasy, and mystery.
Journalism: Students produce a news blog, including but not limited to campus and neighborhood news, book/music/art/restaurant reviews, interviews/profiles, and op-eds.
Publishing House: Students work as editors to create their own literary magazine, which is published at the end of the program.
Write What You Don’t Know: Students read authors who have perfected the art of writing in persona; exercises are designed to help students practice writing from points of view that are distinctly not their own.
Exquisite Corpse: Students wishing to focus more on poetry read a wide and stimulating selection of poems, and work toward finishing a chapbook at the end of the program.
Independent Project: Students complete an additional writing project and take part in extra conferences.
Courses in creative writing are offered in conjunction with the Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Overseen by Chair of Creative Writing Timothy Donnelly, Professor Alan Ziegler, and Director of Creative Writing for Pre-College Programs Christina Rumpf, the creative writing courses are designed to challenge and engage students interested in literary creation, providing them with a substantial foundation for further exploration of their creative work.
Theresa Hottel is an MFA candidate in fiction writing at Columbia University. She received her BA at Oklahoma City University where she won the Kimberly Fuller Award for Creative Writing. She is currently working on a novel about ghosts and the Dust Bowl.
Daniel Lefferts is an MFA candidate in fiction writing at Columbia University, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of Columbia Journal Issue 55. He is working on a novel.
Anya Lewis-Meeks is an MFA candidate in fiction at Columbia University. She graduated from Princeton University in 2015, with a BA in public policy and international affairs, and a certificate in creative writing. After graduating, she spent a year teaching history and geography in Gaborone, Botswana, as part of the Princeton-in-Africa fellowship programme. In the fall, she will teach university writing to Columbia University freshmen. She is currently at work at her first novel, about a group of high school students growing up in Jamaica.
Madelaine Lucas is an Australian writer and musician based in Brooklyn, NY. She studies in the fiction MFA program at Columbia University and is currently at work on a collection of inter-linked short stories. She is also the associate editor of the literary annual NOON.
Specific course detail such as hours and instructors are subject to change at the discretion of the University. Not all instructors listed for a course teach all sections of that course.