Creative Writing Program

Program Faculty

Peter B. Harris
  • Zacamy Professor of English
  • Department of English
  • Creative writing
  • Contemporary American poetry
  • 19th-century American literature
  • More Areas »
  • EN279 - Poetry Writing I
  • EN491 - Independent Study
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+Program Alumni

Headshot Emily Goodnow '08

Major: Religious Studies

Awn Be Se means "we can" in Bambara, the local language in Bamako, Mali, and a $10,000 Projects for Peace award allowed this alumna to build girls' aspirations, business skills, and self images in this African capital.

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Minor in Creative Writing

The creative writing program at Colby offers students the opportunity to exercise their imaginations through disciplined work in the craft of writing. We aim to serve the novice writer as well as the more experienced student with two options for pursuing the discipline. The cocentration in creative writing within the English major provides a rigorous program for the serious writing student who wishes to develop sophisticated writing skills, while engaging in the study of literature in English. Typically, students take four or more classes in the writing of poetry, creative nonfiction, or fiction. Additional workshops are offered (on a rotating basis) in screenwriting, environmental writing, and feature writing. Playwriting may be taken through the Department of Theater and Dance.  Special topics classes are also offered, and advanced students may pursue independent work, a service learning project, or an honors thesis. The minor in creative writing is open to non–English majors.  In addition to the creative writing courses, non–English majors must take three allied English courses, mutually agreeable to the student and his or her creative writing advisor. The English Department offers a sizable number of courses and seminars in all literary genres and periods, providing students a variety of courses to fill the requirements.

All members of the writing faculty are dedicated, practicing, published writers. All classes are run, at least in part, as workshops in which students critique each other’s work. Students experiment in class and out with forms of prose and poetry, while reading the work of professional writers to develop a critical vocabulary and to heighten editing and revising skills. Classes are limited to fifteen students, a size that promotes discussion, allows for individual attention, and helps develop a writing community in class and on campus. Writing teachers encourage frequent conferences to focus on individual progress and to suggest direction for student writing and reading.

Colby has a lively writing community. THE PEQUOD, the Colby student literary magazine, gives students the opportunity to improve critical skills, to edit, to learn layout and design, and to work closely with other student writers. THE PEQUOD also sponsors student readings during the school year. Additionally, through the Colby Visiting Writers Series and the annual Kristina Stahl Writer-in-Residence program, students meet with nationally known poets, novelists, and creative nonfiction writers who come to Colby to read from their work, to meet with students, and to visit classes. Among the visiting writers who have come to Colby in recent years are Edward Albee, Alison Bechdel, Susan Minot, Lorrie Moore, Eavan Boland, Linda Greenlaw, Tony Hoagland, Laura Kasischke, Cleopatra Mathis, Lewis Robinson, Robert Pinsky, Richard Russo, Gary Snyder, Joan Wickersham and Dean Young. Over the years we have had half a dozen Nobel Prize winners visit our campus and work with students.

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