CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM
The Creative Writing Program is part of the Department of English.
Tulane’s outstanding undergraduate program in creative writing offers classes in poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and screenwriting – all in America’s most storied literary city.
We offer our undergraduates unparalleled opportunities to develop as writers, including masterclasses, event management internships, teaching internships in the community, short-term writing residencies, a student reading series, a literary journal, and travel to conferences and festivals.
Students from all departments and disciplines are welcome to take classes in creative writing.
Students choosing to pursue the major in English with a concentration in creative writing are held to the same requirements as those in the regular major except that they must choose four creative writing courses – including at least one at 400 level – as the focus of study. All of these courses may count as electives toward the English major.
Students can request that creative writing classes taken in other Tulane departments (Theater and Dance, foreign languages) or at other universities be counted toward the emphasis. Only one transfer credit can count towards the concentration in creative writing.
Creative Writing Classes
ENGL 3610: Introduction to Creative Writing. A craft course developing skills in reading and writing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. This is a prerequisite for all 3000 and 4000-level classes.
ENGL 3620: Workshop in Creative Writing. An Intensive workshop led by a visiting writer. Recent classes include workshops in Writing for Children; Spoken Word; Writing About New Orleans; and Cultural and Media Commentary.
ENGL 3630: Screenwriting. A course examining the expressive strategies and formal considerations relevant to writing for television and cinema. A workshop format requires sustained analysis of professional screenplays as well as student work. English 361 and permission of instructor required.
ENGL: 4610: Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction. A workshop class exploring the writing of fiction. May be repeated for credit. An introductory creative writing class and permission of the instructor are prerequisites.
ENGL 4620: Advanced Creative Writing: Poetry. A workshop s exploring the writing of poetry. May be repeated for credit. An introductory creative writing class and permission of the instructor are prerequisites.
ENGL 4640: Advanced Screenwriting. A workshop designed to help students develop screenplays and teleplays. ENGL 261 and instructor permission are prerequisites.
ENGL: 4660: Advanced Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction. A workshop exploring the writing of creative non-fiction. May be repeated for credit. An introductory creative writing class and permission of the instructor are prerequisites.
The Creative Writing Fund
In 2006, the Department of English received a generous anonymous gift to support exceptional programming in Creative Writing. We list here some of the major events made possible by that funding.
The Poet Laureate Series
Each year the Creative Writing Fund sponsors a distinguished poet to give a public reading and to meet with students. We have hosted former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Rita Dove and Robert Hass in recent years. This year, Naomi Nye will be our featured guest.
The Great Writers Series
A writer of international reputation is invited to give a public reading or lecture each year on campus. Toni Morrison, Sir Salman Rushdie, Joan Didion, Carlos Fuentes, and Michael Ondaatje have appeared in this series. In 2011, we will host Jonathan Franzen.
Z.Z. Packer, Dinaw Mengestu, Timothy Liu, Phillip Lopate, and Michael Ondaatje have been in residence with us, giving readings and teaching classes, over the past five years.
In this annual series, we have hosted Deborah Eisenberg, Edmund White, Peter Bogdanovich, and James Salter. In Fall 2011, we will host Sherman Alexie.
From time to time we present a symposium of exceptional writers on a theme. We have had a symposium on the African novel, a symposium on the personal essay, and a poetry symposium commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
Other Creative Writing Readings and Events
We maintain a full schedule of visits from acclaimed authors in a variety of genres. In recent years we have hosted visits by Toni Morrison, Sir Salman Rushdie, Joan Didion, Carlos Fuentes, Michael Ondaatje, Louise Gluck, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Robert Hass, Z.Z. Packer, Dinaw Mengestu, Timothy Liu, Philip Lopate, Deborah Eisenberg, Edmund White, James Salter, Niyi Osundare, Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Sefi Atta, Yusef Komunyakka, Kay Murphy, Brad Richard, Brenda Marie Osbey, Alison Pelegrin, Nicole Cooley and Martha Serpas, Francine Prose, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Ames, Chris Rose, Bryan Charles, Said Sayrafiezadeh, Bliss Broyard, and Meghan Daum, Edward Carey, Lawrence Wright, Tom Sancton, Jason Berry, and Major Jackson.
The Newcomb Institute has sponsored programs by Alison Lurie, Carolyn Forche, Nancy Willard, Gloria Naylor, E.M. Bronner, Ellen Douglas, Sonia Sanchez, Linda Hogan, Rosellen Brown, Lee Smith, Dorothy Allison, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Deb Margolin, Octavia Butler, Ann Patchett, Jessica Hagedorn, Edwidge Danticat, Joanna Scott, Thisbe Nissen, Mab Segrest, Ellen Gilchrist, Julie Orringer, Curtis Sittenfeld, Elizabeth McCracken, Michelle Tea, Claire Messud, Amy Hempel and Valerie Martin in its Zale-Kimmerling Writers Series.
In its Aron Poetry Program, Kate Daniels, Maxine Kumin, Carole Simmons Oles, Colette Inez, Denise Duhamel, Natasha Trethewey, Toi Derricotte, Alice Notley, Kimiko Hahn, Nicole Cooley, C.D. Wright, and Brenda Hillman have read.
Student-initiated programs include 1718, a joint Loyola-Tulane-University of New Orleans reading series. At each reading, a well-known writer reads with a student from each school. Writers have included Kevin Rabalais, Rikki Duconet, Nicole Cooley, Ed Skoog, Lara Glenum, Laura Mullen, Randolph Bates, Carolyn Hembre, and Andy Young.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I major in creative writing?
There’s no major in creative writing: the concentration exists within the English major.
Are the same classes available each semester?
Up to six sections of Introduction to Creative Writing are offered each semester, as well as the advanced classes in each genre. Other classes vary, depending on the interests of our visiting writers.
I’m not an English major. Can I still take creative writing classes?
Yes. Students in our Creative Writing courses represent all areas of the university: Business, Architecture, Medicine, Engineering, the Liberal Arts. Many of these students take several courses in creative writing and are active participants in our literary events.
I’m a transfer student, and I’ve done a number of creative writing classes at another school. Do these classes count towards the concentration in creative writing?
Only one class taken at another school can be applied to the concentration. All students make take Introduction to Creative Writing, English 3610 at Tulane even if they have taken an introductory course elsewhere.
What kind of opportunities are offered to creative writing students beyond the classroom?
Each year we take four advanced creative writing students to the Associated Writing Programs conference. Also, interested students may apply for a place in the Literary Events Management Course or for an internship in the Creative Writing Program at Lusher School.
Are there prizes in creative writing?
A number of contests are held each year. The Academy of American Poets Prize, the Dale Edmonds Short Story Prize, the Senior Achievement Prize in Creative Writing, the Quarante Prize For The Best Short Story Written By A Woman, and the Studio in the Woods Prize, which offers a graduating senior a week-long residency at an acclaimed artists' retreat outside New Orleans.
What do creative writing students do after graduating from Tulane?
Students who have completed undergraduate work in creative writing have gone on to graduate programs at Michigan, Iowa, Johns Hopkins, New Hampshire, Cornell, Syracuse, Washington University, Hollins University, UCLA, Indiana, NYU, Montana, Virginia, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Florida State, Southern Mississippi, Arkansas, University of New Orleans, Louisiana State University, Vermont College, and Brooklyn College.
They have won numerous prizes and published work in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Southern Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and Denver Quarterly.
Our students also enter careers in education at all levels, teach English as a second language, become print, broadcast, and digital media journalists, write for television and the cinema, take positions in literary publishing, public relations, advertising, arts management, and also enter the professions such as law, medicine, and social work.