The Department of English enjoys a long tradition of welcoming creative writers, and views creative writing and literary criticism as more than just compatible. When practiced well, creative writing and criticism sharpen and strengthen one another. Creative writing helps remind literary critics that literature is an art form that explores what it means to be human in all its dimensions. Good literary criticism reminds creative writers that they are working within mediums that are centuries old; the exacting judgements that criticism renders encourage creative writers to hone and push their talents. Both forms are at their best when in dialogue with each other.

I’m delighted to announce our department’s intention to boost our offerings in creative writing and to sponsor a new magazine in which undergraduates can display their talents as writers and editors. We also are exploring the possibility of offering a minor with two tracks, one in creative writing and another in professional writing and journal editing. We are in an excellent position to move in these directions. Two members of our faculty — Amanda Auerbach and Ryan Wilson — are widely published creative writers. Taryn Okuma possesses expertise in the memoir and currently serves as the lead faculty advisor for Inventio, the university’s wonderful undergraduate research journal. Ryan and I have considerable experience editing nationally prominent literary journals. Our department’s ties to the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers and to the Library of America provide a wealth of opportunities to introduce our students to a variety of accomplished writers and editors through workshops and readings. Most importantly, we have smart, ambitious, and imaginative students who love literature.

We’re excited about these possibilities, and will share more news as things crystalize over the upcoming months. We look forward to expanding our department as a place for the making and the makers of literature!

Ernest Suarez
David M. O'Connell Professor of English
Executive Director, Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers
Chair, Department of English