Creative Writing Program
Amidst the Green Mountains memorialized in Robert Frost’s poetry, our staff of professional writers provide a sense of community and shared purpose among the undergraduates in our Creative Writing Program.
The Creative Writing Program at Middlebury functions within the English major—students may elect to major or minor in English with a Creative Writing Track. We teach or sponsor more than 20 courses a year on various aspects of creative writing:
- Creative Nonfiction
Our faculty are published authors, prominent in their fields:
- Julia Alvarez (poet, novelist, writer of short stories)
- Jay Parini (poet, novelist, biographer, critic)
- Robert Cohen (novelist)
- Spring Ulmer (nonfiction writer, essayist, scholar, poet)
- Megan Mayhew-Bergman (novelist, short story writer, journalist, essayist)
- Karin Gottshall (poet)
In addition, playwrights and screenwriters offer courses sponsored by the Departments of Theatre and Dance, and Film and Media Cultures, respectively. Other faculty in the English Department also teach and advise creative writing courses and projects.
Our teaching writers adhere to high standards within their own artistic productions and expect ambitious efforts from their students. Advanced workshops and independent work are encouraged and integral to the Creative Writing Track. The writing workshop classes are limited to a maximum of 15 students, and student interaction is highly animated. Our philosophy of instruction is to provide a balance between offering constructive criticism and providing support for student effort. In addition to students critiquing each other’s writing, exemplary works of literature are closely examined, such models being crucial to any writer’s development. The close connection between the Creative Writing Program and the English Department encourages students to be good analytic readers as part of their training to become complex and substantive writers.
Students normally enter the program through CRWR 170, the Introductory Workshop, which allows them to explore poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in one semester. In subsequent courses qualified students will be given the opportunity to specialize in one genre. After completing two advanced-level workshops, seniors are eligible to undertake an independent writing project (a cycle of poems, a series of short stories or a novella, a play or screenplay, or a collection of personal essays or other literary nonfiction) for one semester under the supervision of a writing instructor to fulfill the senior work requirement of the English major-Creative Writing Track.
Read more about the Creative Writing Track requirements.
Additional Writing Opportunities
In addition to its undergraduate program, Middlebury College also sponsors two summer programs—the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences and the Bread Loaf School of English—in which a number of English majors and creative writers take part. The College awards scholarships to these programs.
At Middlebury College student writers have the opportunity to contribute to and publish a number of student (but of professional-quality) publications, including The Campus (a weekly newspaper), Frontiers and Section 8 (literary biannuals), Artemis (a women’s journal), Otter Creek Journal (environmental writing), Mondegreen (a contemporary music journal), and Sweatervest (an arts journal). Some students intern at the New England Review, a national arts and humanities quarterly published at Middlebury College, or for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Creative Writing Alumni
Many of our students go on to pursue professional careers in journalism or publishing or continue to develop their talents in graduate school in the fields of writing and literature. Our growing list of alumni publications, awards, and accolades is one in which we take great pride. Recent alums of the Middlebury creative writing program include the following:
- Emma Cline (The Girls)
- Eleanor Henderson (Ten Thousand Saints)
- Will Hunt (Underground)
- Sierra Crane Murdoch (Yellow Bird)
- Lauren Markham (The Far Away Brothers)
- Emily Temple (The Lightness)
- Jesse Stevens (The Exhibition of Persephone Q)
- Lewis Robinson (Office Friendly and Other Stories and Water Dogs)
- Vendela Vida (Girls on the Verge, And Now You Can Go, and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name)