Creative Writing Program

Trees in the quad

Director: David Crouse

The University of Washington English Department's Creative Writing Program offers an undergraduate degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing: Prose or Creative Writing: Poetry. Founded in 1947 by Theodore Roethke, the Creative Writing Program's tradition of transformative workshops continues with our current faculty: David BosworthDavid CrouseRae ParisDavid Shields, and Maya Sonenberg (Prose), and Linda BierdsAndrew FeldRichard Kenney, and Pimone Triplett (Poetry).  They include among their many honors fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Drue Heinz Award, the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

As a program we are devoted to celebrating the tradition of literature, but also arguing with and complicating that tradition. Our aim is to collaborate with students in formulating their own personal tradition, a set of influences they find simultaneously inspiring and worrying. These influences may range from comic books to surrealist poetry, from minimalist short fiction to South American magical realism, but should always be grounded in self-reflection and sustained effort to always dig deeper and wider into the vast literary landscape. We believe that artistic practice matters, that the regular application of oneself to the blank page can make one a more refined thinker and (possibly) a better person. And we believe that the contemporary writer must simultaneously stand outside the world and live in the world, that literature must be part of the lived experience of being a member of a community. To simply observe is not enough. The arts are one of the fundamental methods of examining and changing our culture, and we are aware of our responsibility as teachers and writers in this important endeavor.

More about Creative Writing at UW: