Creative Writing

Degree Type
Department English
Academic Division The College
At W&L, creative writing is embedded in the study of literature. Students read widely; practice critical analysis; study the forms, modes and histories of literature in English; and develop their own writing through creative exercises and workshop critique. Small classes, dedicated faculty and a lively program of extracurricular offerings foster a supportive and challenging writing community.

Why Study Creative Writing at W&L?

Although the minor in creative writing is relatively new, Washington and Lee University has cultivated great student and faculty writing for decades through the English Department and the literary magazine. Distinguished alumni include Tom Wolfe, Marshall Boswell, Mark Richard, Christian Wiman, Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Rebecca Makkai, Matthew Neill Null and Suzanne LaFleur. Previous faculty members include Claudia Emerson, Dabney Stuart, Heather Ross Miller, Asali Solomon and Jasmin Darznik. English faculty who are creative writers include professors Gordon Ball, Laura Brodie, Freddy Fuentes, Chris Gavaler, Leah Green, Deborah Miranda, Bill Oliver, Beth Staples and Lesley Wheeler. 

The English Department offers a popular creative writing minor. Students do not need to be English majors to minor in creative writing; most major in other subjects.

Scholarships, Internships and Awards

The English Department offers a variety of scholarships as well as awards for both creative and critical writing. Shenandoah has published fiction, poetry and nonfiction from an astounding list of writers including Wallace Stevens, Flannery O’Connor, e. e. cummings, Rita Dove, Ha Jin and many others over its nearly 70-year history.

Students enrolled in the Shenandoah internship are not only afforded a unique opportunity to participate in literary history, but also to learn the art, craft and business of publishing. A look behind the scenes at a working magazine is a valuable experience for writers and non-writers alike, and promises the hands-on development of skills relevant to a variety of fields after graduation. Students practice and learn substantive literary editing, copyediting, professional communication, balancing a budget, how to design publicity material, strategies for social media management and website maintenance, to name a few, under the mentorship of a professional editor with many years of experience in both academia and publishing.

Genelle Gertz

Department Head

Sandra H. O'Connell

Administrative Assistant

Meet the Faculty

At W&L, students enjoy small classes and close relationships with professors who educate and nurture.