Creative Writing

Our workshop classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction invite students to think deeply about the world around them and to render it alive on the page. Together, our classes form a true community of writers. Here, you'll find support and encouragement.

Why Creative Writing?

The Creative Writing concentration and minor gives students the tools and support to express their own unique voice and share their stories, experiences, and truths with the world. Students are empowered to explore literary traditions through stories, poems, and creative nonfiction. Creative writing is not just for the aspiring novelist, memoirist, or poet, but anyone who wishes to effectively engage with language, communication, and storytelling.
  • What Will You Learn?

    Creative Writing courses encourage students to critically engage with texts; teach strategies for creative expression through clarity, concision, and audience engagement; and give students the tools to revise their work through subsequent drafts suitable for publication. Students will be introduced and become familiar with traditional schools of writing and established authors, as well as contemporary nationally renowned and award-winning writers. 

  • Hands-On Learning

    Students sharpen their skills by working directly with faculty on their creative writing, attending readings by national award-winning authors. Students also have opportunities to attend panels and talks by literary agents, writers, and teachers for advice on how to apply their skills to various sectors and careers; as well as support in applying to graduate MFA and PhD programs, writing residencies, fellowships, and internships post-graduation. 

  • Study Abroad

    Students are encouraged to apply for study abroad opportunities in England, Italy, Spain and other countries, including the Spoleto Study Abroad Program: for over a decade, students travel for 3-4 weeks in the summer to Spoleto, Italy—a hilltop town in the Umbria region with ancient roots, great food, and gorgeous views—studying and practicing the art of travel writing, memoir, fiction, and poetry. 

  • Careers & Outcomes

    Alumni have been accepted to top-tier MFA and PhD programs in Creative Writing, including Cornell University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; they’ve published books with presses, including W.W. Norton/Liveright and Autumn House Press; won national writing awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature; landed jobs as editors at literary journals and commercial magazines; and earned tenure-track teaching jobs. 

  • Senior Project

    The Creative Writing program offers two capstone courses—The Advanced Workshop in Fiction Writing, and Poetry Writing. Both courses are designed for students to write and revise creative writing that is suitable to be submitted for publication. Capstone courses are also designed to help students gain confidence and expertise and prepare them for their post-undergraduate writing careers and paths. 

  • Faculty Expertise

    Faculty in the Creative Writing program have published 26+ books in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and have won nationally recognized prizes including the Juniper Prize, Drue Heinz Literature Prize, The Iowa Poetry Prize, The Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and Oprah’s Book Club. Faculty have earned awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf Writers fellowship, and the Wallace Stegner Writing Fellowship at Stanford. 

    Meet the award-winning faculty:

  • Location

    The College of Charleston, set in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the country, also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journals, swamp pink, (rebranded from Crazyhorse). We bring internationally renowned visiting writers and editors to campus, including Hadara Bar-Nadav, Stephanie Burt, Jennifer Chang, Dana Levin, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, T. Geronimo Johnson, Donika Kelly, Rebecca Makkai, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Natasha Trethewey. 

  • Program Highlights

    Every spring, the Creative Writing Program hosts the Sarah Margaret Goad Memorial Prizes for undergraduate creative writing, awarding six students up to $1000 in prizes for their poetry and prose. The Creative Writing program is also home to swamp pink (previously Crazyhorse, active since 1969), a nationally ranked literary journal that publishes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction 

Student Story

Jamie Carr ‘12 is a Senior literary agent at The Book Group where she represents adult literary and upmarket commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. She is based in her hometown of NYC. 

Raena Shirali ’12 is an Assistant Professor of English at Holy Family University, where she serves as Faculty Advisor for Folio Magazine & co-organizes the Distinguished Writers Series. She won the 2013 “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Prize, a 2016 Pushcart Prize, and was awarded a Spring 2017 Philip Roth Residency at Bucknell University's Stadler Center, among other honors. 

Program Director

Gary Jackson (he/him) 
Associate Professor 
Poetry editor, swamp pink 
Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing 
Department of English 
College of Charleston 
5 College Way Rm. 402