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Department of English

Study Creative Writing at URI

Creative Writing at the University of Rhode Island: where students think big and write boldly!

Program overview and philosophy

Students from all disciplines are welcomed and invited to explore our creative writing courses and to take creative risks while discovering their own capacities for representing and transforming the world. Our students are encouraged to write with passion as well as imaginative and critical mastery. The interdependence of creative writing and critical, rigorous reading are equally valued and thoroughly explored. The curriculum and coursework allow students to build a blend of experiences that will benefit overall learning. Through an exploration of varied global, national, and more localized thematics and issues—as well as varied forms, media, and levels of creative and theoretical engagement—creative writing students are offered a diverse, cross-disciplinary, and in-depth study.

At the undergraduate level, students can select from two workshop offerings at 205 introductory and at least two at the 305 advanced level workshops in poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, and screenwriting. All courses are capped at fifteen participants, which allows for an intimate and thorough creative critique of original work. Courses are offered at our scenic main campus in Kingston as well as the more bustling urban environment of CCE Providence throughout the year; additional courses that integrate lessons and encourage attendance to the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference are also offered throughout the summer months. Students can further explore advanced, theme-driven seminars at the 400 level and graduate level. Select undergraduate students may also be able to enroll in graduate level courses.

Creative writing courses will help you to succeed

Students in our program give readings of their own design at semester's end, and are tutored in all areas of "publication" (the making public of their work). Students learn how to perform their work, how to forge community with other writers, and how to work at the borders of print and digital media. In short, students come to take an educated approach to making their work public, with a panoply of exciting results, including the formation of an independent literary journal, Interrobang‽, by some of our creative writing alums.

Students of creative writing have recently been accepted into some of the best Master of Fine Arts and Creative Writing programs in the country, occasionally with full scholarships, including Hunter College, Emerson College, Columbia College/Chicago, Sarah Lawrence College, University of Chicago, University of Pittsburgh, Lesley University, Vermont College, University of California at Fresno, and University of Nevada/Las Vegas. Others have opted to attend some of the most prestigious Law and Graduate Programs in English including NYU School of Law, Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, and the University of Virginia.

Who will you be studying/working with?

At the University of Rhode Island, you will engage with experienced and enthusiastic professors who constantly encourage students to test their limits and bring new insights to their work. Our professors and course instructors have published prize winning books and won such prestigious prizes as the Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN American/Osterweil Award, the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Stegner Fellowship, the Bechtel Prize for Educating the Imagination from Teachers and Writers Collaborative, and several Rhode Island State Council of the Arts prizes, among others.

Click here to read more about our creative writing professors and instructors.

What internships and other experiences are available to creative writers?

Students will have ample opportunity to be a part of several varied and vibrant literary communities; they can gain valuable work experience in scholarly and creative research, publishing, advertising, marketing, and book and journal production.

Students can apply for internships with specific creative writing professors including working with the department on exciting creative writing initiatives in such programs as the Read/ Write Guest Writer and Scholars Series, the Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, the Ocean State Review, our very own nationally-distributed annual literary journal, and with Barrow Street Press, a NY and RI based poetry press and literary arts organization founded in 1994. Through these internships, you will write and conduct projects that bring your creative abilities and experiences to the forefront in hands-on learning opportunities to develop promotional strategies for arts related events. Interns will also learn about several publishing software packages including InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Illustrator. Other learning enhancements will include website development and digital technology training including Facebook management, Twitter feeds, and development of short promotional videos and ads.

Please contact Valerie Karno, our Internship Coordinator, for more information.

Enter a Creative Writing Contest to share your work and compete with other advanced student writers.

Publish original work and assist in the making of the university's student-run literary journal, The Independent Scribe.

Donate to the creative writing program, which will allow for funding to bring in more visiting speakers as well as program scholarships.

upcoming events

The 2012-2013 Read/Write Lecture Series and English Department Faculty Colloquium Series Presents

More information available on the Calendar of Events

Monday, September 24, 2012, Professor Gina Valentino "Nikes Get In. People Don't: Corporate Personhood and Mobility in Karen Tei Yamashita's Tropic of Orange", 4:00 pm, Swan Hall 154 Hoffmann Room, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.

Thursday, October 4, 2012, Professor Peter Covino will be reading from his new book The Right Place to Jump. 5:00 pm, the Alumni Center.

Monday, October 22, 2012, Professor Gitahi Gititi "Necropolitics as Hypokoumenon in Charles Johnson's Middle Passage", 4:00 pm, Swan Hall 154 Hoffmann Room, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.

Monday, November 5, 2012, Sharon Dolin 5:00 pm, Hoffmann Room. A reading from her book "Whirlwind". Poets of all levels--from graduate students to beginners--are invited to attend.

Monday, November 19, 2012, Professor John Leo "Mod High Low Sub Cultural Basterds: Tarantino's Wars, Sideways", 4:00 pm, Swan Hall 154 Hoffmann Room, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.

Monday, December 3, 2012, Elaine Sexton 5:00 pm, Swan Hall 154 Hoffmann Room, 60 Upper College Road, Kingston, RI 02881.

Thursday, December 6, 2012, Laurie Rodrigues "Feeling Difference: Race, Affect, and The Flagellants", time and location tba.

Read/Write Lecture Series
Thursday, February 7, 5:00 pm

Dawn Raffel, experimental fiction and nonfiction writer, editor of The Literarian, will debut her new illustrated memoir, The Secret Life of Objects.

URI Center for Humanities and English Graduate Colloquium
Wednesday, February 13, 5:00 pm, Swan 154 Hoffmann Room
Rosaleen Green-Smith
, "Rhetorical Theory, Pluralism, and the Rise of Religious Tolerance in Eighteenth-Century Scotland."

Thursday, February 28, 4:00 pm
Hoffmann Room, 154 Swan
Ann Blair, Harvard University
"Methods of working among early modern scholars"

Faculty Speaker Series
Wednesday, March 13, 5:00 pm, Swan 154 Hoffmann Room
Professor Martha Rojas
, "Becoming Much Better Acquinted With My Own Country: Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia and John Adams' Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America."

Read/Write Lecture Series
Thursday, March 21st, 5:00 pm
Barrie Jean Borich
, writer of literary nonfiction and contributing editor to AWP's Writer's Chronicle will debut her new work of creative nonfiction, The Body Geographic

URI Center for Humanities and English Graduate Colloquium
Wednesday, March 27, 5:00 pm, Swan 154 Hoffmann Room
Rebekah Greene, "Books, Hats, Spoons, and Buttons: Property at Work in the Novels of Stevenson."

Read/Write Lecture Series
Thursday, April 11, 5:00 pm
Amy Hoffman and Hester Kaplan.
Amy Hoffman, writer of nonfiction and fiction, editor-in-chief of Women's Review of Books will debut her latest memoir, Lies About My Family, and Hester Kaplan, writer of fiction and nonfiction will debut her new novel, The Tell.

English Graduate Colloquium
Wednesday, April 17, 5:00 pm, Swan 154 Hoffmann Room
Jennifer Lee

Also in April, Jerry McGuire, poet, dramatist, digital soundscape artist, and literary critic, former Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, will debut his new collection of poetry.

The events are free, open to the public, and include refreshments!

Contact Information

For more information about the Read/Write Series, please contact the Series’ new Director, Associate Professor Peter Covino, or Professor Mary Cappello.