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    Hamline University
   
    Jul 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Creative Writing Department


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The BFA in Creative Writing offers students a rigorous apprenticeship in the craft and process of creative writing. Across a rich and diverse curriculum, students acquire the tools to effectively execute their craft across multiple genres — fiction, nonfiction, poetry and digital storytelling — in addition to exploring hybrid and multi-genre work. Our skilled professors, nationally-known writers and creators themselves, help each student develop their own effective and independent creative practice. 

Creative Writing majors work with supportive, engaged faculty who know how to create caring and rigorous classroom environments. Because the BFA program grew from a successful graduate-level creative writing program (the Hamline MFA program is the oldest graduate creative-writing program in the state) — our undergraduates enjoy the rare benefit of resources and faculty that have been developed over the past quarter-century, for advanced-level writers. By the time creative-writing faculty began teaching Hamline undergraduates, they had already played roles in developing a curriculum that has thus far yielded over a well over thousand graduates, many of whom are actively publishing in the local community and beyond. 

Creative Writing students learn to think outwardly as they prepare for the world beyond the page and their classrooms. Our program requires that every student acquires pre-professional hands-on experience. For some, this means working on the editorial board of Runestone, a national award-winning magazine put together by Hamline undergraduates. Other students attain internships in the vibrant Twin Cities arts and nonprofits communities. 

Outside of New York, the Twin Cities is arguably the most exciting arts community in the nation, and majors are introduced through their coursework to this multi-faceted and diverse literary and artistic community. Students are taught the value of community and collaboration on campus as well: students have the opportunity, during their studies, to collaborate with faculty across disciplines. The concentration in Digital Storytelling, for example, includes offerings in Digital + Studio Arts, Anthropology, English, and Theater. Finally, CWP is home to a student-run art collective called The Inferno, which spans multiple artistic disciplines and is open to all students. The Inferno meets weekly below the faculty offices in the CWP House, where they share creative work and organize events on campus and in the community.

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. Some of our graduates pursue the literary writing life; others pursue a range of careers in other fields, including publishing, marketing, professional writing, advertising, corporate and nonprofit communications, and advertising. Students who choose to pursue a graduate degree find themselves well prepared for admission.

Our students desire to intensely study an art and develop skills to be ready for the world of work, goals that we find complementary ones. All students work with their advisors to customize their creative-writing degree with a concentration: professional communication; digital storytelling; texts, media, and culture; or, students may individually design a concentration to leverage their own field of interest or individual career goals. Popular self-designed combinations with our students include creative ethnography (anthropology), arts activism (social change and social justice), or science writing (environmental studies.)

Creative-writing students develop excellent writing and communication skills. They learn to be nimble and flexible thinkers, using their well-honed creative skills to problem-solve and find solutions for problems of the 21st century and beyond. Students who study Digital Storytelling acquire an additional set of technical skills — in video, audio, graphic design, and web design — to supplement their writing, communication, and critical thinking.

Teaching

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.

Faculty

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. BA 1999, University of Florida; MFA 2001, Washington University in St. Louis. Publications: Ivory Shoals (McSweeney’s Press, 2021), Further Joy (McSweeney’s Press, 2014), A Million Heavens (McSweeney’s Press, 2012), Citrus County (McSweeney’s Press, 2010), Arkansas (McSweeney’s Press, 2008).

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).

Programs

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