Welcome New Majors and Minors and Class of 2025

We are working remotely, but we are eager to meet you!

Just send an email to Mary Ellis Gibson, [email protected], and we’ll get right back to you.

Many English faculty are working remotely of course, but we’d love to talk with you. Please email Mary Ellis Gibson, Department Chair, [email protected], and she’ll make sure you have a one on one chance to chat with a member of our faculty about studying English and Creative Writing.  We can fill you in about our courses, our internship and career opportunities, and our wonderful visiting writers series and writers-in-residence.  Come join us.

Why study literature?

Literature is at the heart of being human. Reading and writing provide links between past and present, and across cultures, helping us understand different perspectives and facilitating difficult discussions about the challenges we face.

English students learn to harness and respect the power of language. They investigate the frameworks people have used to make sense of their worlds, and explore personal artistic expression.

See our Humanities Manifesto

 

What we offer

At Colby, you can major in English, major in English with a creative writing concentration or major in English with a concentration in Literature and the Environment.  You can also minor in English or creative writing.

Creative Writing students choose from classes in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, environmental writing, playwriting (through the Theatre Department), podcast making, performance poetry, and other forms.

Literature and the Environment concentrators will choose from introductory and advanced courses concerning global traditions of environmental literature in English. They study environmental literature in connection to colonial and activist histories.

Students choose among innovative literature classes such as global Middle Ages, contemporary multiethnic literature, Shakespeare on screen, American women writers, fake news and the novel, life in times of extinction, and American gothic literature. In our author courses, students take the time to explore in depth writers such as Chaucer, Morrison, Shakespeare, Austen, Joyce and even Stephen King.

We work closely with the librarians in Special Collections and with the curators at the Colby Museum of Art. These resources, paired with our small classes (average size 15), encourage students to take on innovative projects. Many classes offer hands-on activities, from paper making to printing to digital production.

Students study abroad, engage in research with professors, and find exciting internships. Our graduates are well prepared for professional school and rewarding careers.

Our mission

The Colby English and Creative Writing department fosters engagement with multiple forms of media as objects of study and making.

  • We encourage students to embrace writing now.
  • We foster critical engagement with past literatures and cultures.
  • We research how the past makes the present yet also differs from it.
  • We study anglophone literatures from around the world.
  • We emphasize the importance of environmental / ecological understanding.

Learn with us

Students and faculty in English and Creative Writing engage in…

  • Sustaining and also challenging the literary canon
  • Reading and making across genres, platforms, and mediums
  • Integrating creative work and analysis
  • Building community and listening across differences
  • Writing with others at Colby, in Waterville, and far beyond
  • Understanding how representation shapes the world
  • Bringing analytical and creative skills to global histories and ecological challenges
  • Finding pleasure and personal meaning in reading and writing together

 

Department Chair

Mary Ellis Gibson
Arthur Jeremiah Roberts Professor of Literature