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Department of Creative Writing

The Department of Creative Writing at UCR offers the only Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing in the University of California system and the MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. It is a growing and dynamic program made up entirely of established writers and poets. Courses at UCR are designed for all students in the language arts, and they emphasize developing each student's skills and talents. Through writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and/or drama, students examine language and meaning both as practitioners and as readers as they develop and hone essential writing techniques.

Every writer needs to develop a critical sense to augment creative ability. For this reason, the Creative Writing Department offers two types of courses. Workshop courses are seminars that focus on writing and on the discussion of student work. Reading courses for writers focus on aspects of literature presented from a writer's point of view. Frequently, they employ writing in imitation as one of several approaches to understanding the craft of writing. Upper-division workshop courses are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Several reading courses link two genres such as fiction and poetry, and poetry and drama.

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Katie Ford's sequence of poems The Anchoress — set as a monodrama by composer David Serkin Ludwig — was performed this summer at Chamber Music Northwest.

Laila Lalami published the New York Times Magazine cover story “A State of Uncertainty” and was named a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard for 2023-2024.

Charmaine Craig’s My Nemesis has been published this year by Grove Press.

Thalia Williamson’s “The Silent Part” was published this summer in Joyland.

Quyen Pham’s “Such Good Girls” was published this past spring in Room.

Emily Doyle published “Thursdays for Haru” earlier this year in the Sun.

Tom Lutz's 1925 A Literary Encyclopedia is being published by Rare Bird Lit, and his novel Archipelago is coming out from Red Hen Press. His essay "Gravy Donuts" was published in Iowa Review.

Reza Aslan's An American Martyr in Persia was longlisted for the PEN/Jacqueline Beograd Weld Award.

Allison Benis White won the 2022 Pushcart Prize and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award.

Allison Hedge Coke was a 2022 National Book Award finalist for Look at This Blue, a 2023 finalist for CLMP Firecracker Award and ASLE Best Creative Book of the Year.  Look at This Blue, was awarded the Emory Elliott Book Award by CHASS Center for Ideas and Society and Hedge Coke was awarded the 2023 Thomas Wolfe Prize & Lecture by the University of North Carolina and the [http://Thomas Wolfe Endowment Fund]Thomas Wolfe Society in fall 2023.

Susan Straight's Mecca was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and named a Top Ten California Book of the Year by the New York Times and one of the best books of 2022 by NPR, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

Juan Felipe Herrera was a recent recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Award and the LARB/UCR lifetime achievement award. The Fresno Unified School District named its latest school Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary.

Conversations With Steve Erickson has been published by the University Press of Mississippi as part of a series that includes Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, James Baldwin, William Burroughs and Toni Morrison.

Employment Opportunities

None at this time.

Statement of Solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander Community

We are grieved by the recent killings in Atlanta, as well as by all other anti-Asian bigotry and violence, and stand in solidarity with our AAPI colleagues, students, and, more broadly, all AAPI across the nation. We stand against all anti-AAPI hate crimes, discrimination, and dehumanization, knowing that the group Stop AAPI Hate has reported 3,975 hate incidents against Asian Americans between March 19, 2020 and February 28, 2021.

To take action:

  • Educational resources and petitions to sign: HERE.
  • Report hate incidents HERE and HERE.
  • Attend a bystander intervention training to learn ways to stop anti-Asian American and xenophobic harassment.  [March 29 at 3 p.m.] [April 20 at 2 p.m.]
  • Send a message to elected officials.

To learn more:

Statement of Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. The brutal killings of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia are part of a pattern of state violence against Black people, which too often remains invisible and unpunished when it is not blamed on the victims themselves.

America’s institutionalized practice of settler colonialism, genocide, slavery, and segregation continues in the form of continued occupation, discrimination, mass incarceration, and racist policing.

The nationwide protests we are witnessing this week are an expression of anger at police violence, a rejection of white supremacy, and a call to our leaders that they live up to the nation's founding proclamation of equality. We demand accountability from the police, disinvestment from law enforcement in favor of education, housing, and community services, and, above all, justice for the victims.

Recognition of Native Lands Statement

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the original and traditional territory of Tongva people [Tongva and Cahuilla people] and within Tongva, Cahuilla, Luiseño & Serrano original lands and contemporary territories.

In the spirit of Rupert and Jeanette Costo’s founding relationship to our campus, we would like to respectfully acknowledge and recognize our responsibility to the original and current caretakers of this land, water and air: the Cahuilla, Tongva, Luiseño, and Serrano peoples and all of their ancestors and descendants, past, present and future. Today this meeting place is home to many Indigenous peoples from all over the world, including UCR faculty, students, and staff, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to live and work on these homelands. Please also visit our university founder's legacy page, Cahuilla Scholar Rupert CostoCalifornia Indian Studies & Scholars Association, UCR's California Center for Native NationsNative American Student Programs (NASP), and the page of UCR's Rupert Costo Chair, Dr. Clifford Trafzer.

Download UCR Native American Student Programs Land Statement

Faculty Publications

Book Covers


Writers Week