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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 Creative Writing program?

Yes. As long as students meet the prerequisite and portfolio requirements, 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 Creative Writing program?

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, creative non-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 Creative Writing program 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. Students who follow the program will earn a 4-Year BA in English with a specialization in Creative Writing marked on their transcript. Several graduates of our program are currently pursuing graduate programs in English or Creative Writing. The careers of our graduates include include magazine ediror; journal publisher; book publisher’s marketing assistant; radio host; stage performer; theatre manager; art curator; multi-media artist; bookstore event staff; technical writer; journalist; and cultural centre director. Many are published poets, novelists, and award-winning authors in a variety of genres.

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 October), reading the journal, and of course by submitting their poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, or drama for publication. Each year there will also be opportunities to apply to work on the juice editorial team or to volunteer in assisting the team with publicity, event organization, proof-reading, and other tasks. Copies of juice are sold on campus at the Info Booth and 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 of the English department website, for more information.

How do I apply to get into the 4-year Creative Writing specialization?

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). If you follow the program guidelines, you will earn a BA in English with a specialization in 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 instructor. If you don’t know who the instructor is, consult the English department office. See "About Portfolios" on this website, for submission guidelines. 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.

Which English courses fulfill the Creative Writing requirement for 6 credit hours of study in Canadian and/or Indigenous literatures and cultures?

The following courses fulfill the requirement:

3119.3 Canadian Children’s Literatures and Cultures
3708.3/6 Canadian Literature and Culture
3709.3/6 Topics in Canadian Literature and Culture
3717.3/6 Indigenous Literatures and Cultures
3719.3 Literature of Manitoba
3723.3/6 Topics in Indigenous Texts and Cultures
4710.3/6 Canadian Literature and Culture
4717.3/6 Indigenous Literatures and Cultures

Note: Credit in the following former courses (no longer offered) may also be used to fulfill the requirement: 3710, 3713, 3714, 3716, 3731.

Also, from time to time certain "Topics" courses in the English department may focus on Canadian and/or Indigenous topics that may make them eligible to fulfill this requirement. Consult an English department advisor to be sure.

Instructors

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


Paul DePasquale

Catherine Hunter

Sandy Pool

Jenny Heijun Wills


This page updated August 2020.