Spring 2019 Application Information


Read all instructions before submitting your application(s):


Please submit your completed application(s) by 11:59 pm EST on Monday, January 28. LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

There are absolutely no exceptions to this deadline; please do not contact the instructor or the department if you miss this deadline, simply apply again next term. Applications may time out if you leave them open long enough, so keep this in mind (don't click the submit button at 11:59 pm; leave adequate time to troubleshoot in case there are submission issues). 

  • When creating a Submittable account, please use your Harvard email address, not your personal account.
  • You must submit a separate application to each course (up to 4), using the application links below. Please be sure to upload the appropriate materials for each course, and provide the same course preference order on each application. Your first choice workshop must be ranked first on each application, and so on. Any applications with inconsistent rankings will be disqualified.
  • You may not edit or resubmit an application once you have applied. Please be sure your application materials are finalized and accurate before submitting.
  • Workshops generally do not meet during shopping period, unless instructor notifies admitted students otherwise. You may not shop creative writing courses.
  • Without approval of the department, no student may take more than two creative writing courses in any one year. A course may be repeated provided the student has the permission of the instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the Department. English seniors writing a creative thesis may not enroll in a creative writing workshop. 
  • You will be notified of application decisions by 5:00 pm on Thursday, January 31. You will receive a separate email notification for each course once decisions have been made.  Each student can be admitted to only one course. The creative writing faculty meets to discuss all applications to prevent multiple acceptances.  
  • We suggest adding notifications@email.submittable.com to your email contacts to ensure any notifications (submission confirmations and application decisions) reach your inbox.

Wednesdays, 3-5:45 pm

An introductory fiction workshop, in which students will explore elements of craft such as character, point of view, setting, detail, style, etc. The first weeks will be devoted to fiction readings (TBA) and creative exercises; most of the semester will be spent workshopping student fiction. The final project involves significant revision of a story.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of creative writing in prose (fiction is preferable, but non-fiction is also fine) along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in writing fiction, and in this course; what experience you’ve had writing; what some of your favorite narratives are and why.

Thursdays, 3-5:45 pm

Intended for students with prior fiction-writing and workshop experience, this course will concentrate on the structure, execution and revision of short fiction. Throughout the term, we will read and discuss literary fiction from a craft perspective. The course is primarily focused on the discussion of student work, with the aim of improving both writerly skills and critical analysis. Revision is an important component of this class.

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit 3-5 pages of prose fiction, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you’re interested in the course; what experience you’ve had writing, both in previous workshops and independently; what your literary goals and ambitions are. Please tell me about some of your favorite narratives – fiction, non-fiction, film, etc: why they move you, and what you learn from them.
 

Tuesdays, 12-2:45 pm

A seminar/workshop. Readings include Bruno Schultz, Jean Toomer, Robert Walser, and Rimbaud’s Illuminations, among others.

Supplemental Application Information: The letter of application should address autobiography: tell me something about yourself. It can be revealing or completely opaque. An example of the opaque: describe a tree, a sunny day, or a favorite hat in 300 words or less. An example of the revealing could be: I am one of those people who think all mammals with hair growing in places not easily revealed when they are standing right in front of you, should shave those areas. Please also submit 3-5 pages of prose fiction.
 

Wednesdays, 12-2:45 pm

An introductory workshop where we will learn to read as writers and study all aspects of the craft of fiction writing, including such topics as character, point of view, structure, time, and plot. The first weeks will focus heavily on writing exercises and reading contemporary short fiction. Writers we will study will include: Daniyal Mueenuddin, Haruki Murakami, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Tom Drury. As the semester progresses, the focus of the workshop will shift to creating and discussing your own work at the table, along with submitting a final revision project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or a novel, along with a substantial letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you are drawn to fiction writing and what your goals are for this class. I’m interested in the writers you are reading. I’d also like to know a writer or an artist whose work you admire and why. This could be someone in a different field, such as a painter, a filmmaker, or an architect but the important thing is to be specific about what resonates and what draws you to them. Lastly, I’d like you tell me a place that has meant something to you. How you define place is up to you. 

Note: the only difference between CPY 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, we encourage you to apply to both.

Wednesdays, 3-5:45 pm

An introductory workshop where we will learn to read as writers and study all aspects of the craft of fiction writing, including such topics as character, point of view, structure, time, and plot. The first weeks will focus heavily on writing exercises and reading contemporary short fiction. Writers we will study will include: Daniyal Mueenuddin, Haruki Murakami, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Tom Drury. As the semester progresses, the focus of the workshop will shift to creating and discussing your own work at the table, along with submitting a final revision project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or a novel, along with a substantial letter of introduction. I’d like to know why you are drawn to fiction writing and what your goals are for this class. I’m interested in the writers you are reading. I’d also like to know a writer or an artist whose work you admire and why. This could be someone in a different field, such as a painter, a filmmaker, or an architect but the important thing is to be specific about what resonates and what draws you to them. Lastly, I’d like you tell me a place that has meant something to you. How you define place is up to you. 

Note: the only difference between CPY 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, we encourage you to apply to both.

Thursdays, 9-11:45 am

This course will serve as an introduction to the fundamentals of writing fiction. The initial weeks will focus on assigned readings—you can expect to encounter works by Edward P. Jones, Helen Oyeyemi, Joy Williams, Yoko Ogawa, and others—and short exercises. The readings will give us a lens through which to explore character, structure, time, point of view, etc, and will inform the workshop dialogues that follow. Later in the term, your own fiction will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to the creation and revision of original work.

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or novel, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why are you drawn to studying fiction; what your ambitions are for your work; and the writers you are currently reading. I’d like you also to make mention of a passage from a work of fiction that you love—a particular scene from a novel, for example, or a line from a short story—and tell me why this passage has, for you, remained so striking and memorable. 


Note: the only difference between CVB 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, we encourage you to apply to both.

Thursdays, 3-5:45 pm

This course will serve as an introduction to the fundamentals of writing fiction. The initial weeks will focus on assigned readings—you can expect to encounter works by Edward P. Jones, Helen Oyeyemi, Joy Williams, Yoko Ogawa, and others—and short exercises. The readings will give us a lens through which to explore character, structure, time, point of view, etc, and will inform the workshop dialogues that follow. Later in the term, your own fiction will serve as the primary text as the focus shifts to the creation and revision of original work.

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit the first 3-5 pages of a short story or novel, along with a substantive letter of introduction. I’d like to know why are you drawn to studying fiction; what your ambitions are for your work; and the writers you are currently reading. I’d like you also to make mention of a passage from a work of fiction that you love—a particular scene from a novel, for example, or a line from a short story—and tell me why this passage has, for you, remained so striking and memorable.

Note: the only difference between CVB 001 & 002 is the meeting time. If both fit into your schedule, we encourage you to apply to both.

Tuesdays, 3-5:45 pm

The course will consist of two halves. In the first hour of each class, we will be doing close readings of an assigned text (TBA), with the aim of isolating some aspect of the craft of writing in order to take bearings for your own. In the second half of the class, divided into two equal segments of an hour each, we will be workshopping the writing of two students. Our goal is for each of you to have two turns, and approximately 5-10,000 words of your work critiqued, by the time semester ends. The final project involves significant redrafting of a story or a portion of a novel.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of creative writing in prose (fiction is preferable, but non-fiction is also fine) along with a substantive letter of introduction in which you write about why you’re interested in this course; what experience you’ve had writing; some of your favourite writers; what some of your favorite works of fiction are and why.
 

Wednesdays, 12-2:45 pm

This class will look at excerpts from a selection of writers who are considered to be great prose stylists. The course will consist of two halves. The first hour of the class will be devoted to discussion and close analysis of a particular writer’s style in the assigned text that will be circulated a week in advance. The idea is to look at a wide range of writing styles and try to isolate what is unique about each, how the relevant style and meaning correspond, in what ways a writer’s style is a window on the world s/he is representing, how style relates to affect, and other such questions. The class would be particularly suited to those who have taken at least two previous Creative Writing courses. Beginners should apply to the ‘Introduction to fiction’ classes being offered.

In the second half of the class, divided into two equal segments of an hour each, we will be workshopping the writing of two students. Our goal is for each of you to have two turns, and approximately 5-10,000 words of your work critiqued, by the time semester ends. The final project involves significant redrafting of a story or a portion of a novel.

Supplemental Application Information: This course is recommended for students who have prior experience in fiction writing. Please submit 3-5 pages of creative writing in prose (fiction is preferable, but non-fiction is also fine) along with a substantive letter of introduction in which you write about one author whose style you admire and love. The letter must contain an account of both the particular style in question and the reasons for your admiration.
 

Wednesdays, 3-5:45 pm

Whether in essay, memoir or reportage, creative nonfiction employs many of the same literary techniques as fiction: narrative structure, character development, scene-setting, extended dialogue, emphasis on voice and point of view. In addition to workshopping student writing, we discuss examples of the genre by writers such as Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, and David Foster Wallace. Assignments include two 10-page narratives, several short exercises, an extensive revision, and typed critiques of classmates’ work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit 3-5 pages of creative/literary nonfiction (essay, memoir, narrative journalism, etc, but NOT academic writing) or, if you have not yet written much nonfiction, an equal number of pages of narrative fiction. Also, please write a letter of introduction explaining who you are as writer at the moment and where you hope to take your writing; what experience you may have had with creative/literary nonfiction; which nonfiction writers and books you most admire; what excites you about nonfiction in particular; and what you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a writer.
 

Mondays, 3-5:45 pm

An intense seminar for those interested in understanding the changing role of journalism and in learning the art of reporting and writing narrative stories. The course is intended for those contemplating careers as journalists or because they want a better sense of how journalism really works. Coursework will include two narrative articles that are ready for publication. Readings will include some of the best examples of modern journalism, from magazine features by authors including Gay Talese to multimedia narratives such as The New York Times’ “Snow Fall.”

Supplemental Application Information: The application should include a letter saying why the student wants to take the workshop, why writing and journalism interests them, and which websites, magazines, newspapers and other news sources they read, even gossipy sites like Gawker.  A writing sample is optional for this course application.
 

Tuesdays, 9-11:45 am 

At its heart, journalism is a truth-seeking exercise based on reported facts, careful collection of evidence from witnesses, and reasoned, dispassionate analysis. The editing and presentation of stories should honor the intelligence of readers and the audience. The journalist is not a combatant in the story. But these time-honored traditions are under assault like never before. President Trump’s declared war on “fake news,” his attacks on the press as “enemies of the people” as well as secular changes in technology and the ways in which the news is produced and delivered have combined to undermine the very notion of truth. The class will closely study the role of social media in spreading information, including false stories. We will chart the rise of a more ideological press. We will spend the semester examining these developments, their effects on journalism, and their consequences for democracy.

Writing assignments will include weekly essays examining the core issues at stake in the battle for the truth, compilation of a narrative based on real documents in the Russia investigation and a major, written exercise where students will propose ways that truth can be preserved and protected in journalism.

Readings will include classics, such as Richard Hofstadter’s Paranoid Style in American Politics, George Orwell’s 1984 and Michiko Kakutani’s new book, The Death of Truth. In class, we will watch the documentary series “The Fourth Estate,” and examine nightly news clips from Fox News, MSNBC and CNN. We will examine the key legal documents in the federal investigation of Russian interference in the election and study how they were reported. There will be guest speakers, including the journalists who cover the Trump White House, the Mueller investigation and new projects promoting truth in the news.

Supplemental Application Information: Please include with your application a letter telling me how you consume news, through social media, Websites, video, podcasts or print publications. Please also address why you are interested in journalism and tell me whether you have had any reporting experience. (No experience is required). A writing sample is optional for this course application.
 

Tuesdays, 3-5:45pm

The tension between the invented and the observed has compelled many writers to break out of inherited forms. What is the dividing line between fiction and non-fiction? What are the possibilities for very short narrative pieces? What is “poetic” writing anyway? In this writing workshop, our thinking will be helped along by a wide variety of texts, including work from Félix Fénéon, Georges Perec, Toni Morrison, and Anne Carson. The course will be assessed on classroom participation, a series of shorter written pieces, and a revised final project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a brief writing sample (3-5 pages of prose: creative nonfiction, journalism, or fiction) and a cover letter describing why you want to take this course in particular. In the cover letter, please mention three books that have positively shaped your sense of literary style.
 

Wednesdays, 3-5:45pm

Criticism is poised between memoir and reportage. In this writing workshop, you will write critically about photography, painting, film, music, architecture, dance, and literature. We will also examine the particular pressures and possibilities of online criticism. Exemplary essays will be assigned from the work of Susan Sontag, John Berger, Helen Vendler, and Greg Tate. The goal is to help you identify precision, intelligence and élan in criticism, and foster those qualities in your own writing. The course will be assessed on classroom participation, a series of shorter written pieces, and a revised final project.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a brief writing sample (3-5 pages of prose: creative nonfiction, journalism, or fiction) and a cover letter describing why you want to take this course in particular. In the cover letter, please mention three books that have positively shaped your sense of literary style.
 

Tuesdays, 3-5:45 pm

Women have historically exerted their voice and power through writing, even as the professional writing trades of journalism and publishing have historically been unwelcoming of their presence. This seminar class will examine reporting and writing by and about women, and engage students in the practice of writing about gender, feminism, and women’s lives. Students will produce and workshop their own researched and reported longform articles, while simultaneously inspecting how the media represents women’s issues and learning the history of women writers in American journalism. We will grapple with questions of interviewing, structure, creative expression, ethics, and fair representation, along with the fundaments of narrative nonfiction.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a writing sample of about 1,000 words that showcases your creative abilities, along with a brief letter about why you want to take this course.
 

Tuesdays, 3-5:45 pm 

This is a seminar in creative nonfiction writing that will take science as its subject matter. Students will research and write a series of magazine-style articles about science or scientists, intended for a general readership. Along the way, they will hone their interviewing and research skills and expressive capabilities, while contending with issues of factual accuracy, creative license, authority, and responsibility, along with the basic tenets of longform nonfiction. Ultimately students will explore the ways that hard science and subjective prose are interrelated forms. No prior experience with science is required.

Supplemental Application Information: Admission by instructor approval, based on a submitted writing sample of approx. 1000 words, of any genre, that best displays the applicant’s creative abilities. A letter of application is not required for this course.
 

Wednesdays, 6-8:45 pm 

Open by application to both undergraduates and graduates. Class lasts 3 hours and includes the study of poetic practice in conjunction with the discussion of student work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.
 

Tuesdays, 12-2:45 pm 

Open by application to both undergraduates and graduates. Class includes the discussion of literary texts as well as work written by students. 

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.
 

Tuesdays, 6-8:45 pm 

Initially, students can expect to read, discuss, and imitate the strategies of a wide range of poets writing in English; to investigate and reproduce prescribed forms and poetic structures; and to engage in writing exercises meant to expand the conception of what a poem is and can be. As the course progresses, reading assignments will be tailored on an individual basis, and an increasing amount of time will be spent in discussion of student work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.
 

Mondays, 3-5:45 pm 

By guided reading, classroom discussion, one-on-one conference, and formal and structural experimentation, members of the Advanced Poetry Workshop will look to hone, deepen, and challenge the development of their poetic inquiry and aesthetic. Students will be required to write and submit one new poem each week and to perform in-depth, weekly critiques of their colleagues’ work.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a portfolio including a letter of interest, ten poems, and a list of classes (taken at Harvard or elsewhere) that seem to have bearing on your enterprise.
 

Mondays, 3-5:45 pm

This workshop is an introduction to writing for the stage through intensive reading and in-depth written exercises. Each student will explore the fundamentals and possibilities of playwriting by generating short scripts and completing a one act play with an eye towards both experimental and traditional narrative styles. Readings will examine various ways of creating dramatic art and include work from contemporary playwrights such as Kenneth Lonergan, Martin McDonagh, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Sarah Ruhl as well established work from Anton Chekhov, Sarah Kane, and Harold Pinter.

Supplemental Application Information: Submit a 2-4 page sample in any genre. Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.
 

Tuesdays, 3-5:45 pm

This workshop is a continued exploration of writing for the stage. Students will be encouraged to excavate their own voice in playwriting. They will examine and attempt multiple narrative strategies and dialogue techniques. They will bolster their craft of playwriting through generating short scripts and a completed one act. Readings will include significant contributors to the theatrical form such as Ibsen and Beckett as well as contemporary dramatists such as Annie Baker, Caryl Churchill and Sam Shepard.

Supplemental Application Information: Prior experience in writing the dramatic form is strongly encouraged. Please submit a 5-10 page writing sample (preferably a play or screenplay, but all genres are acceptable). Also, please write a few sentences about a significant theatrical experience (a play read or seen) and how it affected you.
 

Mondays, 12-2:45 pm

This workshop will introduce students to the fundamentals of dramatic screenwriting, including narrative theory and structure, character design, dialogue/voice, genre, and tone. In the beginning of the semester, we will focus on craft exercises, reading produced scripts, and watching short films. We will then transition to workshopping student work in class, and each students will have the opportunity to submit two short screenplays, one of which they will revise for a final project.

Supplemental Application Information:  Please submit a 3-5 page writing sample. Screenplays are preferred, but fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and plays are acceptable as well. Also, please write a short note to introduce yourself. Include a couple films/filmmakers that have inspired you, your goals for the class, as well as any themes/subject matter/ideas you might be interested in exploring in your writing for film.
 

Tuesdays, 12-2:45 pm

The feature-length script is an opportunity to tell a story on a larger scale, and, therefore, requires additional preparation. In this class, we will move from writing a pitch, to a synopsis, to a treatment/outline, to the first 10 pages, to the first act of a feature screenplay. We will analyze produced scripts and discuss various elements of craft, including research, writing layered dialogue, world-building, creating an engaging cast of characters. As an advanced class, we will also look at ways both mainstream and independent films attempt to subvert genre and structure. Students will end the semester with a first act (20-30 pages) of their feature, an outline, and strategy to complete the full script.

Supplemental Application Information: Please submit a 3-5 page writing sample. Screenplays are preferred, but fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and plays are acceptable as well. Also, please write a short note to introduce yourself. Include a couple films/filmmakers that have inspired you, your goals for the class, as well as any themes/subject matter/ideas you might be interested in exploring in your writing for film.