The BFA in Creative Writing, which includes an English minor, offers a rigorous apprenticeship in the craft and process of writing, background in American and/or global literary traditions, and an understanding of textual analysis and the practical and theoretical dimensions of reading and writing.
Our BFA courses are designed to give apprentice writers the tools to execute the craft of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and hybrid forms, while guiding them in the development of an effective writing practice and the ability to read closely as writers/creators as they create their own original works. They are exposed to the wealth of literary arts opportunities in the Twin Cities and the ins and outs of literary publishing. The English minor requires students to read broadly, to be grounded in the history of literary forms, and to learn and practice the critical thinking and writing skills needed to interpret those forms.
The BFA offers students the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare them to enter the job market, to apply to graduate school in creative writing or other disciplines, and to function as emerging literary artists.
Other Creative Writing Options
There are several options other than the major available to students interested in studying creative writing. The English Department offers an English major with a concentration in Creative Writing or an English/Creative Writing minor meant for students not majoring in either department. Non-Creative Writing majors are encouraged to take those creative writing courses open to the general student body. These courses can develop appreciation of literary forms, fundamentals of the craft, creative process, and textual interpretation skills across artistic disciplines.
A pre-professional experience is a required component of the degree program. Students have the option of taking WRIT 3450 - Runestone: Introduction to Literary Publishing, and becoming members of the editorial board of Hamline’s award-winning national undergraduate literary magazine OR doing an internship. Hamline’s commitment to community-based learning and its location in the Twin Cities give students the opportunity to choose from a wide range of internship experiences in the literary marketplace and in the communication and/or marketing departments of non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. Hands-on experience working on Runestone or in local literary and commercial publishing and related fields gives students invaluable insights into the world of work, and practical knowledge of the kinds of professions open to them after they graduate. The Twin Cities is home to The Loft Literary Center and a multitude of publishers, including Lerner Publications, Llewellyn Worldwide, Minnesota Historical Society Press, University of Minnesota Press, and three of the finest literary presses in the country—Graywolf Press, Milkweed Editions, and Coffee House Press—all with well-established internship programs.
Creative Writing graduates have excellent writing and communication skills; they know how to think and problem solve; and they are prepared to interact effectively in a multicultural, global environment. Upon graduation from Hamline, BFA graduates will have a wide range of fundamental and advanced knowledge and skills that will prepare them to pursue the literary writing life or a range of careers in publishing, professional writing, corporate and nonprofit communications, advertising, marketing, and other related fields. Those who choose to pursue a graduate degree in creative writing or other disciplines will be well prepared for admission.
Those Creative Writing majors who would like to pursue a 5-12 teaching license in communication arts and literature while pursuing their BFAs may do so through the Hamline School of Education and Leadership. Since the requirements for licensure are extensive, this will require careful planning and may entail an additional semester to complete. Another option is to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching at Hamline after the student completes the BFA.
Our Creative Writing faculty are published, award-winning authors and highly effective teachers who create a caring, engaged, and supportive environment. English department faculty are highly regarded teachers and scholars known for their attention to students and the quality of their students’ individual and collaborative research projects.
John Brandon, associate professor, chair. BA 1999, University of Florida; MFA 2001, Washington University in St. Louis. Publications: Further Joy (McSweeney’s Press, 2014), A Million Heavens (McSweeney’s Press, 2012), Citrus County (McSweeney’s Press, 2010), Arkansas (McSweeney’s Press, 2008).
Sheila O’Connor, professor. BA 1982, University of Minnesota; MFA 1986, Iowa Writers Workshop. Publications: Until Tomorrow, Mr. Marsworth (Penguin/Random House, 2018), Keeping Safe the Stars (G.P. Putnam and Sons, 2012), Sparrow Road (G.P. Putnam and Sons, 2011), Where No Gods Came (University of Michigan Press, 2003), Tokens of Grace (Milkweed, 1990).
Angela Pelster-Wiebe, assistant professor. B Ed. 2008, University of Alberta; MFA 2012, University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Publications: Limber (Sarabande Books, 2014) and The Curious Adventures of India Sophia (River Books, 2005).
Richard Pelster-Wiebe, lecturer. BA 2004, University of Minnesota; BA 2004, University of North Carolina-Wilmington; MA 2009, University of Iowa; PhD 2018, University of Iowa. Publications: Aliki (2010), Saskatchewan (2011), War Prayer (2015).
Katrina Vandenberg, associate professor. BFA 1992, Bowling Green State University; MFA 1997, University of Arkansas. Publications: The Alphabet Not Unlike the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and Atlas: Poems (Milkweed Editions, 2004).