The Amherst College Creative Writing Center is a home for all creative writers on campus. Our faculty and alumni have included Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur ’42, James Merrill ’47, Sonia Sanchez, Alexander Chee, David Foster Wallace ’85, Dan Brown ’86, Rafael Campo ’87, Lauren Groff ’01 and many others–all part of the College’s exceptional literary legacy. We offer courses in a wide range of genres, including fiction, poetry, playwriting, creative nonfiction, hybrid forms and translation. Students from any major or discipline are welcome to enroll in creative writing classes. We host a reading series each semester, facilitate co-curricular writing activities and support a variety of campus-wide literary events, providing opportunities for students to further their writing and connect with other writers beyond the classroom. Our goal is to bring together a diverse literary community to deepen and support the creative work of all our students.
Our small workshop-based courses are intense and supportive, emphasizing both process and community across genres, topics and course levels. The Creative Writing faculty also supports numerous honors theses each year, offering students the opportunity to engage in a long-term writing project as the culmination of their time at Amherst. As part of the English Department, we seek to nurture the connections between creative work and other forms of scholarship, inquiry and discovery. The Center does not offer a major and does not offer courses independently; almost all of the courses offered are located in the English Department and count toward its major requirements. We consider that creative writing is in significant part learned through creative reading; therefore, our faculty also teach courses in the reading of literature. Alongside creative writing classes, we encourage students to explore courses in literature and in other subjects across the curriculum as an important method of enriching their own writing.
Because community is important to sustaining creativity, we seek to help students access the College’s many writing resources and build creative connections outside of the classroom. We host the Visiting Writers Series, which brings an exciting range of authors to campus, giving students the opportunity to learn from writers beyond Amherst. In conjunction with the Intensive Writing Program, we facilitate the Writing Studio where student-writers from all backgrounds across the college come together to write in solidarity. We partner with LitFest, the Five College Writing Programs and other campus organizations to support workshops, readings, publications and contests. Finally, we end each year with a student reading, celebrating our vibrant community of writers and the remarkable range of work generated in Amherst’s creative writing classes.