Creative Writing

Creative Writing Minor

The Creative Writing Minor offers students the opportunity to write in multiple literary genres such as fiction, poetry, creative 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 creative 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 Creative Writing minors include participation in the monthly literature Salon and the University’s art and literary magazine. See below for more details. The Creative Writing Minor has many personal and professional benefits and 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. Faculty mentoring is provided to students who are interested in applying to Master of Fine Arts 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 Director of Creative Writing, Eric Wilson.

RequirementsFacultyLiterary SalonLiterary 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 creative nonfiction) or cross-listed with the minor (playwriting and screenwriting); at least two of these must be at the 300 level. 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 Faculty

Amy Catanzano, MFA
Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (Poetry)
Co-Director, Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series

Amy Catanzano is the author of two books of poetry and one cross-genre book of fiction and poetry. Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella (Noemi Press, 2014) received the Noemi Press Book Award for Fiction. Multiversal (Fordham University Press, 2009) was selected by Michael Palmer for Fordham University Press’ Poets Out Loud Prize and the PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry. Her first book of poetry, iEpiphany, was published by Anne Waldman’s independent press, Erudite Fangs Editions, in 2008. Her creative work has appeared widely in literary journals such as ConjunctionsDenver QuarterlyNew American Writing, and Fence. Her poetry has been anthologized in Naropa University’s commemoration of its 40th anniversary, Hydrogen Jukebox: 40 years of (Dis)Embodied Poetics, inFence magazine’s A Best of Fence, and elsewhere. Her interests include poetry and poetics, cross-genre literature and experimental fiction, the intersections of poetry and science, ‘pataphysics, and the literary avant-garde. Her essays on quantum poetics appear in Jacket2, Poems and Poetics, and elsewhere. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. An assistant professor of English (Creative Writing, Poetry), the poet-in-residence, and co-director of the Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series at Wake Forest University, she teaches undergraduate and graduate poetry workshops. Prior to teaching at Wake Forest she taught in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa, where she also served as the administrative director of the Writing and Poetics Department and the managing editor of the literary journal.

Naima Coster, MFA
Visiting Assistant Professor, Writing & Creative Writing

Naima Coster’s first novel, Halsey Street, is a story of family, loss, and renewal, set in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. It will be published in January 2018 by Little A. Naima’s stories and essays have appeared in the New York TimesArts & LettersKweliThe RumpusAster(ix), and Guernica, among other places. She is the winner of numerous awards, including the Elmore A. Willets Prize for Fiction, the Margaret Lamb/Writing to the Right-Hand Margin Prize for Fiction, and the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival Non-Fiction Prize. In 2016, Naima became a Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2017, she won the Cosmonauts Avenue Non Fiction Prize, judged by Roxane Gay. She holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, an MA in English and Creative Writing from Fordham University, and a BA in English and African American Studies from Yale. She lives in Durham, North Carolina with her family.

Eric Ekstrand, MFA
Assistant 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 Assistant 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.

Joanna Ruocco, PhD
Assistant Professor in Creative Writing (Fiction)
Co-Director, Dillon Johnston 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 co-edits the annual fiction journalBirkensnake 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
Assistant Teaching Professor

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 Assistant 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 Wilson, PhD
Director, Creative Writing Program
Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English

Eric 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 Salon

On the last Thursday of each month of the semester (if holidays don’t conflict), the Creative Writing Program holds a literary Salon in the A.R. Ammons lounge. Up to ten students sign up to read their poetry, fiction, or essays on a first-come basis. Refreshments are served, and students can socialize before and after the readings. This very popular venue fosters the literary community across the Wake Forest campus as well as offers a supportive space for students to share their creative work. We encourage all 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

Originally entitled The Student, the student art and literary magazine was founded on the original Wake Forest campus in 1883. 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 for 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.

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