Finding your own voice—that’s what the creative writing major at Earlham offers. You’ll do substantial work in the creative genre(s) of your choice, including a major guided portfolio project as a senior, and explore how your and others’ writing can make a positive difference in the world.
Since good readers make good writers, you’ll also engage with a wide variety of literary texts from different periods and voices, together with a wide range of theoretical approaches on how and why literature matters. You’ll hone your craft as a writer, experiment with different writing techniques, and learn how to communicate with diverse audiences and engage the literary marketplace and publication process.
Earlham alums have earned MFAs at programs such as the University of California at Irvine, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Columbia University, and CUNY/ Queens College. Prize-winning alumni writers include Mat Johnson, Maurice Manning and Leah Naomi Green.
“Earlham’s creative writing workshops provided a safe and supportive space to explore not only genre, form, and method, but who I am as a writer. Sharing work and feedback with professors and peers helped me grow as a creator, a reader, and an editor. I’ve now gone on to receive my MFA in Creative Writing so that I can continue this work that was the highlight of my college experience.”
Sunset Combs, ’19
“Poetry is more than just reciting words or understanding how to use literary devices. Poetry is life. I write about anything and everything that happens to me, both the good and the bad. Poetry is in me, and I’m thinking about it always.”
Charles Davis, ’18
“Earlham supported and valued my attentiveness to life with—and through—language. That support was integral to writing my first full-length book of poetry, The More Extravagant Feast, which won the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets in 2019, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, which followed.”
Leah Naomi Green, ’05
Walt Whitman Award winner
Writing in pursuit of truth
Creative writing allows us to pursue truth in a variety of forms. Through storytelling and the written word, writers are able to lay bare the truths we see in the world, bring forth new or underrepresented voices and create connection.
The Bain-Swigget Poetry Prize and the Gettman Prize award Earlhamites for their works of prose, fiction or poetry.
Earlham also offers its Creative Writing majors memberships to AWP (The Association of Writers and Writing Programs), which offers a host of online resources related to writing and publication, along with the chance to attend one national AWP conference during their undergraduate career.
The Crucible, established in 1956, is a student-run literary magazine that publishes works by Earlham students. As a student staff member, you will gain invaluable experience in editing and publishing.
Our faculty write and teach in a variety of genres, including poetry, fiction and playwriting and serve as advisers for the student literary magazine, The Crucible.
Frequently asked questions
As a student in the creative writing program, you’ll take 11 four-credit courses, culminating in a capstone course. In the capstone, you’ll be asked to write a manifesto about why and how you write, as well as a creative piece that exemplifies this.
The creative writing program prepares you for a number of careers in writing and communications—fields that are only growing as companies and individuals rely more and more on digital media.
As a graduate, you may pursue careers in editing, publishing, copywriting, technical writing, UX writing, journalism, marketing and communications, and a variety of other fields.
In addition to off-campus study programs and research experiences with faculty in places like London and Tibet, students have also participated in a variety of internships. Recently, students have interned at the Indiana Review as a submissions intern, at GenNow as a media and writing intern, and at Writers House as an editorial intern.
Visit the Earlham Center for Global and Career Education to learn more about available off-campus study programs, research experiences and internships.
The creative writing program is for students who have a passion for writing and want to hone their craft. If you love communicating ideas to others in effective and compelling ways, this is the major for you.