Creative Writing

The vital presence of creative writing in the English Department is reflected by our many distinguished authors who teach our workshops. We offer courses each term in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screenwriting, playwriting, and television writing. Our workshops are small, usually no more than twelve students, and offer writers an opportunity to focus intensively on one genre. 

Featured Faculty

Teju Cole

Teju Cole is a novelist, critic, and essayist, and is the first Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice. "Among other works, the boundary-crossing author is known for his debut novel “Open City” (2011), whose early admirers included Harvard professor and New Yorker critic James Wood." In the spring 2019 semester, Cole will teach two creative writing workshops: "Breaking Form" and "Writing Critically." 

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Apply to Creative Writing Workshops

Workshops are open by application to Harvard College undergraduates, graduate students, staff, and students from other institutions eligible for cross registration. Submission guidelines for workshops can be found under individual course listings; please do not query instructors. Review all departmental rules and application instructions before applying. 

Fall 2020 Application Deadline: Wedenesday, August 19 at 11:59 pm ET
Spring 2021 Application Deadline: Saturday, January, 16 at  11:59 pm ET 

Our online submission manager (link below) will open for applications on Wednesday, January 6 by 5 pm ET

To apply online:

Creative Writing Workshops

Write an Honors Creative Thesis

Students may apply to write a senior thesis in creative writing, although only English concentrators can be considered. Students submit applications in early February of their junior year, including first-term juniors who are out of phase.  The creative writing faculty considers the proposal, along with the student's overall performance in creative writing and other English courses, and notifies students about its decision in early March. Those applications are due, this coming year, on February 2021 (date tba). Students not chosen to write a creative thesis may still apply to write a critical thesis.

Students applying for a creative writing thesis must have completed at least one course in creative writing at Harvard before they apply. No student is guaranteed acceptance. It is strongly suggested that students acquaint themselves with the requirements and guidelines well before the thesis application is due. The creative writing director must approve any exceptions to the requirements, which must be made in writing by Monday, January 21, 2019. Since the creative writing thesis is part of the English honors program, acceptance to write a creative thesis is conditional upon the student continuing to maintain a 3.40 concentration GPA. If a student’s concentration GPA drops below 3.40 after the spring of the junior year, the student may not be permitted to continue in the thesis program.

Joint concentrators may apply to write creative theses, but we suggest students discuss the feasibility of the project well before applications are due.

Students who have questions about the creative writing thesis should contact the program’s Director, Darcy Frey.