Creative Writing

Creative Writing Minor

The Creative Writing Minor offers students the opportunity to write in multiple literary genres such as fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting. Our courses are designed to teach, cultivate, and inspire. Students are provided with an exciting range of coursework, from fundamentals of craft to advanced explorations of forms, techniques, and theory.

Creative writing courses are conducted in a unique workshop setting where students receive feedback from one another and the professor on their creative writing projects. Students experiment with writing exercises and respond to a diverse range of contemporary literature. Creative writing courses are taught by our faculty of award-winning fiction writers, poets, and literary nonfiction writers who are committed and innovative teachers as well as active and distinguished writers in their fields. The curriculum in creative writing courses is often linked to the English department’s popular Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series, which brings visiting poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction for literary readings and class visits with students.

Creative writing courses are open to minors and non-minors. Students who declare a Creative Writing Minor receive first preference in enrolling in creative writing courses in the English department during pre-registration periods.

Opportunities for students with a Creative Writing Minor include participation in the monthly Afternoon Salon: A Student Reading Series and the University’s student art and literary magazine, Three to Four Ounces. See below for more details. The Creative Writing Minor complements all major fields of study. Some students pursue graduate work in creative writing to write a first book and further prepare for careers in teaching, publishing, professional writing, and other fields that emphasize creativity and the literary arts. Our minors and master’s students who concentrate in creative writing have been admitted to top Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs in creative writing, such as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and to top PhD programs in creative writing, such as the one at the University of Denver. Faculty mentoring is provided to students who are interested in applying to MFA and PhD programs in creative writing. Download our Brochure for the Creative Writing Minor for more information.

For more information about the Creative Writing Minor, contact the Co-Directors of Creative Writing, Amy Catanzano and Joanna Ruocco.

RequirementsCoursesFacultyStudent Reading Series: Afternoon SalonStudent Literary Journal


Creative writing courses are open to minors and non-minors. Students who declare a Creative Writing Minor receive first preference in enrolling in creative writing courses in the English department during pre-registration periods.

The Creative Writing Minor requires five courses (15 hours), including one 300-level literature course offered by the English department. The remaining four courses consist of creative writing workshops offered by the English department (poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction) or cross-listed with the minor (playwriting and screenwriting); at least two of these must be at the 300 level. While CRW 100 counts towards the minor for students who wish to take this course, it is not required. To enroll in a 300-level workshop, students must have taken a 200-level workshop.

English majors may earn a Creative Writing Minor by taking four creative writing courses (at least two at the 300 level) exclusive of courses used to complete the major.


Creative Writing (CRW) courses that fulfill the minor:

CRW 100 Introduction to Creative Writing
CRW 285 Poetry Workshop
CRW 286 Short Story Workshop
CRW 287 Creative Nonfiction Workshop
CRW 300 Topics in Creative Writing
CRW 384 Playwriting
CRW 385 Advanced Poetry Workshop
CRW 386 Advanced Fiction Writing
CRW 387 Advanced Literary Nonfiction Workshop

Electives that fulfill the minor:

COM 316 Screenwriting


Visit the English department’s Course Listings to see full descriptions of recent Creative Writing courses. 

Creative Writing Faculty

Amy Catanzano, MFA
Associate Professor in Creative Writing (Poetry)
Co-Director, Creative Writing Program
Co-Director, Writers Reading Series

Recipient of the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry, the Noemi Press Book Award in Fiction, and the POL Prize in Poetry from Fordham University Press, Amy Catanzano publishes poetry and fiction, nonfiction prose, intergenre poetic theory, and multimodal literary art, including electronic literature. Writing in parallel to cutting-edge physics as well as the literary and artistic subcultures of the avant-garde, she forges innovative connections between literature, science, and the arts. In addition to her published books and transmedia projects, her work has been featured in literary journals such as Conjunctions and Denver Quarterly, in science-oriented publications such as APS Physics and Symmetry Magazine: Dimensions of Particle Physics, and in academic journals such as CounterText: A Journal for the Study of the Post-Literary. Anthologies and book collections featuring her work include The Dark Energy Survey: The Story of a Cosmological Experiment, published by World Scientific, and #Nodes: Entangling Science and Humanities, published by Intellect Press with editions in Spanish and English. Drawing from invited residencies and site visits to major scientific research centers such as CERN, and as the lead co-founder of The Entanglements Network—an international collective of transdisciplinary writers, scientists, artists, and scholars—she collaborates with scientists in addition to her independent projects. An associate professor of English and the poet-in-residence at Wake Forest University, she has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Prior to Wake Forest, she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, co-founded by poets Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, and Diane di Prima at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and elsewhere.

Eric Ekstrand, MFA
Associate Teaching Professor, Writing 

Eric Ekstrand is the author of Laodicea, recipient of the 2013 Omnidawn Books 1st/2nd Poetry Book Prize, selected by Donald Revell. His poems can be found in Poetry, jubilat, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Catch Up, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. He was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2009 and has been the recipient of an Inprint/Brown Foundation Fellowship and a Houston Writing Fellowship. He was poetry editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts from 2009 to 2010 and was the founding conference administrator for Boldface: A Conference for Emerging Writers. An Associate Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, he teaches freshman writing and poetry workshops. His interests include modern and contemporary poetry, poetry writing, religious studies in literature and art, aesthetics, and practical pedagogy. He has a BA in English Literature from Wake Forest University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston.

Susan Harlan, PhD

Susan Harlan’s writing tends to focus on the relationship between place, memory, and objects, and much of her work is about travel and home. Her essays have appeared in venues including The Guardian US, The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, Roads & Kingdoms, The Brooklyn Quarterly, The Morning News, Atlas Obscura, Public Books, and Nowhere, and her Literary Hub essay “How to Read Caves” was selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2019. Her work combines memoir and cultural criticism, and she is interested in the everyday and the ordinary. In 2018, her book Luggage was published in the Bloomsbury series Object Lessons, which focuses on “the hidden lives of ordinary things.” She is currently at work on a nonfiction book about collecting entitled The Pyrex Menagerie, and Other Tales of Collectors and Our Things. She is also a humorist, and her humor writing has appeared in venues including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Awl, The Toast, Queen Mob’s Tea House, The Hairpin, The Belladonna, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. Her satirical book Decorating a Room of One’s Own, a humorous mash-up of home design reportage and literary homes based on her column for The Toast, was published by Abrams in 2018.

Laura Mullen, MFA
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the Humanities (Poetry)

Laura Mullen’s writing is alive to the shared work of meaning-making and attentive to the unseen and unsaid. “Mullen’s shapes shift, disappear like the living but remain like lives… turn into new solids, solidarities of moving, hard-edged lyric social work… against loneliness…” (Fred Moten). “Mullen sets up a site of fluid exchange between text and reader, an inter-subjective process that inflects affective communication with a subversive sense of contingency…” (Amy Moorman Robbins). 
Laura Mullen’s recent work has appeared in Fence, Court Green, The Bennington Review, Bettering American Poetry, and Interim, and her writing has been anthologized in collections from Norton, Wesleyan, and elsewhere. Her first book, The Surface, was a National Poetry Series selection, and her subsequent poetry collections and hybrid-genre works have been published by the University of California Press, Futurepoem, and Otis / Seismicity among other presses: her eighth collection, Complicated Grief, was published in 2015. A MacDowell and Karolyi Foundation Fellow, a featured poet at the International Poetry Festival in Taipei, a Rona Jaffe Award recipient and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Mullen holds degrees from the University of Iowa and U.C. Berkeley. A CD of Jason Eckardt’s setting of her poem “The Distance (This)” is available from Mode records, and her collaboration with composer Nathan Davis—”a Sound uttered, a Silence crossed”—had its premiere at the University of California San Diego, and was performed at Notre Dame and Williams College. There is a video of the Notre Dame performance, with Third Coast Percussion, up on Vimeo: A collaboration (Verge) with the artist John David O’Brien is available in a limited edition, and her translation of Veronique Pittolo’s Hero was published by Black Square Editions in 2019. Her ninth collection, EtC, is forthcoming from Solid Objects press in New York.

Joanna Ruocco, PhD
Associate Professor in Creative Writing (Fiction)
Co-Director, Creative Writing Program
Co-Director, Writers Reading Series

Joanna Ruocco’s books include The Mothering Coven (Ellipsis Press), Man’s Companions (Tarpaulin Sky Press), A Compendium of Domestic Incidents (Noemi Press), and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych (FC2).  A Compendium of Domestic Incidents won the 2009 Noemi Press Fiction Chapbook Contest judged by Rikki Ducornet, and Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize, judged by Ben Marcus. She also works pseudonymously as Alessandra Shahbaz (Ghazal in the Moonlight, Midnight Flame) and Toni Jones (No Secrets in Spandex). Her stories have appeared in numerous literary journals including 
NOONConjunctionsThe Black Warrior Review, CaketrainBidounQuarterly WestWestern Humanities ReviewThe FanzineMarginalia, and Harp & Altar. Her work has also been included in several anthologies, including Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web, It’s Always Been a War: American Writers on Class, Pushcart Prize XXVIII, and The Force of What’s Possible: Writers on Accessibility & the Avant-Garde, forthcoming from Nightboat Books. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the innovative fiction publisher FC2 (Fiction Collective 2), which houses its editorial operations at Wake Forest, and co-edits the annual fiction journal Birkensnake with Brian Conn. She has an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and a PhD in Fiction from the University of Denver. 

Elisabeth Whitehead, MFA
Associate Teaching Professor, Writing

Elisabeth Whitehead has work in a chapbook sampler, A Third Instance (Instance Press, 2014), which also features poetry by Rosa Alcalá and Craig Watson. A second chapbook, a pilgrim’s traveling kit, was published by Cosa Nostra Editions in 2008Her poems have been published in literary journals such as American Letters & CommentaryAufgabeBlack Warrior ReviewColorado ReviewDenver Quarterlyjubilat, and Quarterly West. She was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Helsinki, Finland. An Associate Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, she teaches freshman writing and poetry workshops. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Eric G. Wilson, PhD
Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English

Eric G. Wilson is the author of numerous books, including Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), My Business Is To Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing (University of Iowa Press, 2011), The Mercy of Eternity: A Memoir of Depression and Grace (Northwestern University Press, 2010), and Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2008), translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Croatian, Korean, Chinese, and Portuguese. Against Happiness appeared on the bestseller lists of the L.A. Times and the Calgary Herald, was featured on national and international media venues including NBC’s Today Show, UNC TV’s Bookwatch, TVO’s The Agenda, NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation, the BBC’s Today Programme, and CBC’s The Current, and received coverage and reviews in Newsweek, the Chicago Tribune, the L.A. Times, the New York TimesThe Globe and MailThe Charlotte ObserverThe Winston-Salem JournalThe Spectator, The Wall Street JournalBooklistBookforum, the Globe and Mail, the Minneapolis Star TribunePlayboy.comPublisher’s Weekly, the Raleigh News and Observer, and America: The National Catholic Weekly. Additional books by Eric Wilson include The Strange World of David Lynch (Continuum, 2007), Secret Cinema: Gnostic Vision in Film (Continuum, 2006), The Melancholy Android: On the Psychology of Sacred Machines (State University of New York Press, 2006), Coleridge’s Melancholia (University Press of Florida, 2004), The Spiritual History of Ice (Palgrave Macmillan), Romantic Turbulence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), and Emerson’s Sublime Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). The Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University, he teaches British and American Romanticism, creative nonfiction, film and literature, and cultural studies. He has a PhD from the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

The Afternoon Salon: A Student Reading Series

On the last Thursday of each month of the semester (if holidays don’t conflict), the Creative Writing Program and the English Student Association hold a literary salon in the form of a student reading series in the A.R. Ammons lounge, A107 Tribble Hall. Up to ten students sign up to read their poetry, fiction, or essays on a first-come basis. Refreshments are served, and students socialize before and after the readings. This very popular event fosters the literary community across the Wake Forest campus and offers a supportive space for students to share their creative work. We encourage all Creative Writing minors to attend regularly and hope they bring along friends who are prospective minors. Look for upcoming Salon events on the Department Calendar

Three to Four Ounces

Three to Four Ounces
is the student art and literary magazine founded on the original Wake Forest campus in 1883, where it was first entitled The Student. The magazine has undergone many changes since its inception, including a name change in the early 1990s to Three to Four Ounces, but has continued to serve as a creative forum in the Wake Forest University community and the Department of English for student visual and literary arts. The magazine is published once a semester by the students of Wake Forest University. Art, poetry, and prose submissions are accepted from the student body and chosen for inclusion in the magazine through a blind selection process.

Comments are closed.