Creative Writing at WVU: Wild, Wonderful Writing

Undergraduate Program

Course offerings in creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, attract students both in the Department of English and across the university. In addition to these creative writing courses, there are a number of special programs and events for undergraduate students interested in creative writing.

Creative Readings

Each year West Virginia University’s Department of English free hosts public readings featuring prominent writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Listen to podcasts of past readers such as Leslie Marmon Silko and Michael Martone.

Readings and Visiting Writers

Bolton Creative Writing Workshops

Bennett 7

Bolton Professor of Teaching and Mentoring Mary Ann Samyn coordinates a series of creative writing workshops that take place in WVU residence halls. Graduate students in the creative writing program visit the dorms to offer fun, casual, evening writing workshops on topics that range from How to Write a Good (and/or Funny, and/or Anti-) Love Poem, Seriously Short-Form Memoir: Creative Writing for Facebook and MySpace, and Unleashing the Vampire: Harnessing the Power of the Literary Gothic. Read more about the Bolton workshop here.


Each year, West Virginia University’s undergraduate literary magazine features student writers and artists. Undergraduate students in the creative writing program are wholly responsible for the publication’s editing, design, and production. Calliope has received two prestigious awards from the AWP’s National Writing Program Director’s Contest for Literary Magazines. Center for Literacy Computing’s podcast of the 2009 reading.

Capstone Creative Writing Seminar

The Creative Writing Senior Seminar (ENGL 418) is open to English majors who are pursuing the concentration in creative writing. Students develop a portfolio of their creative writing under faculty guidance and each student works individually with a graduate creative writing student mentor. Students share their work in a special reading at the end of the semester. Follow the link for more information about the Capstone Creative Writing Seminar.

Virginia Butts Sturm Writer-in-Residence Workshop

Each fall graduate and undergraduate creative writing students have the unique opportunity to study with a nationally renowned visiting writer. Interested students apply with a writing sample and twelve students are selected take part in a week of workshops and individual conferences. Past visiting writers include JoAnn Beard, Lynn Emanuel, Brenda Miller, and David St. John. The 2013 Virginia Butts Sturm Writer-in-Residence will be Janisse Ray. Students who complete the workshop will receive one hour of English credit.

West Virginia Writers Workshop

The annual West Virginia Writers Workshop features a faculty of nationally recognized writers and attracts emerging writers across the region to four days of workshops, craft talks, readings, individual conferences, and lively conversation about writing. Learn More


English 111 Introduction to Creative Writing. Prerequisite: ENGL 101 and 102, or equiv. Practice in writing a sequence of structured exercises designed to enhance creative writing skills.

English 212 Creative Writing: Fiction. An open enrollment introduction to the writing of fiction.

English 213 Creative Writing: Poetry. An open enrollment introduction to the writing of poetry; practice in the basics of image, metaphor, line, form, sound and voice.

English 214 Creative Writing: Nonfiction. Introductory course in the writing of nonfiction.

English 312 Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction. Prerequisite: Consent, and grade of B or higher in ENGL 212. Advanced workshop in creative writing for students seriously engaged in writing fiction.

English 313 Creative Writing Workshop: Poetry. Prerequisite: Consent, and grade of B or higher in ENGL 213. Advanced workshop in creative writing for students seriously engaged in the writing of a major group of poems.

English 314 Creative Writing Workshop: Nonfiction. Prerequisite: Consent, and grade of B or better in ENGL 212, 213, or 214. Advanced workshop in creative writing for students seriously engaged in writing nonfiction.

English 318 Topics in Creative Writing. Prerequisite: Consent. (May be repeated for a maximum of 9 Hrs.) Advanced work in creative writing; course content changes with genre: fiction, poetry, nonfiction.

English 418 Creative Writing Seminar. Prerequisite: 9 hours of creative writing and consent. Individual projects in creative writing pursued in a workshop setting.