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Frequently Asked Questions about Creative Writing

English


Why take Creative Writing courses?

Creative Writing courses give students a chance to explore their creative potential, to think imaginatively about language, and to practice the many elements of the craft involved in making fiction and poetry. Most CW classes are limited to fifteen students, allowing for individual instruction and small group workshops in class. English majors and English Honours students may find they learn a new perspective on literature when they choose a CW course. That said, all people, whether beginning, emerging, or accomplished writers, can improve their ability to think and write creatively with practice.

May I take Creative Writing courses if I'm not doing the 4-Year BA in Creative Writing?

Yes. As long as students meet the prerequisite and/or portfolio requirement, they may apply for any CW course. We encourage students from all faculties to consider CW as an elective. Writers from outside the University of Winnipeg are also encouraged to apply; occasionally, prerequisites may be waived for people with strong portfolios.

Why take the 4-Year BA in Creative Writing?

The 4-Year BA in Creative Writing is designed to provide a comprehensive, coherent program of study that encompasses both the reading and the writing of literature. It gives students the opportunity to concentrate on their fiction or poetry in a serious, sustained way; to develop the skills and discipline needed to carry a project through to completion; and to receive regular feedback, both from the instructors and from other writers in the program. The BA in Creative Writing also gives students the opportunity to prepare for further study in the field (for example, to put together a portfolio for application to a Creative MA program). It's also good preparation for careers in writing, editing, publishing, and other areas in the literary arts.

Is there a campus journal for creative writers?

Yes! The University of Winnipeg publishes juice, a journal of creative writing by and for UW students. Creative Writing students are encouraged to participate in juice by attending the launch (usually held in September), by volunteering their time, by reading the journal, and of course by submitting their poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, or drama for publication. You can purchase a copy of juice on campus at the Info Booth or the Beyond Words bookstore.

Is there a Writer-in-residence on campus?

Much of the time, yes. The University of Winnipeg hosts the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence program, which brings a professional writer into the university each year for a period of time. The writer has an office on campus and is available for consultation to students and writers in the community. The Writer-in-Residence will read and discuss your manuscripts, provide advice about the writing profession, and will usually give a public reading and lecture during the course of his or her tenure. See the Writer-in-Residence link on the sidebar at the right (above) for more information.

How do I apply to get into the program for the 4-Year BA in Creative Writing?

There is no special application process for this program. Interested students should consult the Calendar and then a Creative Writing instructor for information and advice, to make sure they are meeting the degree requirements. All University of Winnipeg students declare a degree program when they are admitted. All students are later asked to declare a major before registering for their 36th credit hour of course work (before their sixth course). At that time you can declare your major (English) and the stream (Creative Writing). 

How do I apply to get into individual Creative Writing courses?

For some courses (ENGL 2002/3: The Creative Process and ENGL 2101/3: Introduction to Creative Writing) there is no special application process. Any students who have taken the prerequisite (6 credit hours of first-year English, including 1001 or 1000) may register for those courses if there is room in them. Other Creative Writing courses require the instructor's permission. Students requesting permission should submit a portfolio and a portfolio checklist to the English department office. See "About Portfolios" on this website, for submission guidelines. There is no deadline for portfolio submissions. To ensure that instructors can read the portfolios before registration begins, we suggest submitting them in May. But instructors will consider portfolios at any time before the course begins, if space is available, or becomes available. If the instructor is off campus, students should still submit portfolios to the English department office as soon as possible and ask the Department Assistant to date them. Instructors will read the portfolios when they return.

Instructors

The following faculty members currently teach Creative Writing courses. You can contact any one of them for more information on creative writing at the University of Winnipeg.