English Major with a Concentration in Creative Writing

Our Concentration in Creative Writing offers students a combined degree in English and Creative Writing. Featuring craft talks and workshops with local, national, and international writers through our Literary Arts Institute, our campuses provide an inspiring location for writing and exploration with faculty and students from around the world.

Exploration is integral to good writing, and the best writers are avid and rigorous readers. Our major therefore places writing practice within the study of literature and the literary arts, encouraging artistic inquiry through courses in literature, film, theory, and cultural studies. Our majors deepen their understanding of the value and importance of creative writing through service and internship opportunities. Our Presidential Award-winning Experiential Learning course trains students to bring creative writing into area elementary schools.

Our new Medical Humanities course, “Clinical Encounters,” takes pre-health students from the classroom to the clinic – giving them vital clinical experiences and helping our community re-think the reach of creative writing.

Creative Writing Courses Abroad

Our department regularly offers Creative Writing courses abroad where students practice writing in rich, intercultural contexts. Students learn about literary traditions of their host country by meeting local writers, attending workshops with local students, and through readings and site visits that immerse them in the local culture.

May 2016, 2015
Pavia, Italy
Creative Writing: Cultural and Ethical Aspects of Creative Writing

This course is an intercultural creative writing workshop. Students take this course together with English-speaking students of the University of Pavia. Course activities focus on writing exercises and workshops within a larger thematic framework: the ethics of creative writing.

Program Highlights:
  • Live and study with Italian students in a beautiful and historic college
  • Explore northern Italy on weekend trips to Parma, Lake Como, and Milan
  • Spend two days in Florence
  • Develop your writing skills through exercises, cross-cultural workshops, and individual feedback
May 2016, 2015, 2014
London, England and Paris, France
Creative Writing: London and Paris

Spend one week in London going to the theater, visiting the Tower of London and visiting the birthplace of Shakespeare. Then, it is on to Paris for a week, where we will eat croissants in the morning before seeing some of the greatest paintings and cathedrals ever created in the afternoon. You will also be able to explore these culturally rich cities on your own. You will discover what so many travel writers have experienced before you-travel and writing go hand in hand.

Program Highlights:
  • Attend a major musical production
  • Visit Stonehenge and the birthplace of Shakespeare
  • Visit the Tower of London and ride the London Eye
  • Explore London’s museums and attractions
  • Eat amazing French food and see the Eiffel Tower
  • Visit the Louvre and other famous museums
  • Visit Notre Dame and other beautiful churches
May 2013
Venice, Italy
Creative Writing: The Allure of Venice

What makes Venice so fascinating? Why do writers (like Shakespeare, Proust, Voltaire, Lord Byron, Henry James, Ruskin, and Goethe) set their work in Venice? We spend three weeks island-hopping, exploring districts and museums - getting to know the structure and character of Venice. Students write their own creative responses - in poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction - to the city. Come and discover how place inspires the imagination.

Program Highlights:
  • Explore Venice’s art, architecture, and ecology
  • Stay on the sandy beach of the Lido
  • See the sites of famous scenes in world literature
  • Visit the Accademia Gallery, the Fenice Theatre, and the glass works of Murano
  • Attend a musical performance at the Ugo and Olga Levi Foundation
  • Travel to nearby Padua and Florence

2022-2023 CSB Creative Writing Prize

Now Available for CSB Students!

Our application for The Louis A. & Mary Wagner Berger Creative Writing Prize for the school year 2022-2023 is available NOW through January 30, 2022.

  • $1000 scholarship is awarded to the best ORIGINAL WORK OF FICTION by any full-time CSB student.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished, 1,000-3,000 words, double-spaced and typed. Only one entry per student, please.
  • Email entries to englishwrk@csbsju.edu by January 30, 2022.
  • The winner will be published in Studio One.
Other Creative Writing Opportunities:
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Jessica Harkins
Chair, English Department
SJU Quad 350B

Laura Schmitz
Temporary Department Coordinator (Through spring 2024)
SJU Quad 362D/451