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Creative Writing and English

Honours Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature
Minor in Creative Writing
Creative Writing Outside the Classroom
Featured Published Writers

Are you an aspiring poet, playwright, short-story writer? Is the next great Canadian novel in your bottom drawer? In the Department of English at Western, we not only study works by great creative writers, we also help to make them. Graduates of our program have gone on to major graduate programs in Creative Writing, had their work published by prestigious journals and presses, and been nominated for major literary prizes.

Students who have completed a first-year course in English may submit their creative writing portfolios to compete for a place in English 3998E, our highly respected creative writing workshop. In this course, a small group of hand-picked students work intensively with one another and their instructor to refine their craft and, in so doing, to find their literary voice. Successful students from this course who are registered in the Honors Specialization module in English may receive permission to fulfill their 4000-level requirements by completing a creative writing Honors Thesis, a short novel, play, or a collection of short stories or poems that they develop with the aid of a supervisor from our full-time faculty. Details can be found here.

*NEW for 2012!

Honours Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature

Instructions for students entering first year:
Designate the Faculty of Arts and Humanities as your faculty of registration, and choose your first-year courses to meet the module 'Admission Requirements' set out below.

You will designate the module as your academic program during ITR (Intent to Register) which takes place in February and March in your first year, and submit your portfolio in April of your first year.

Portfolio Submission:
The focus of the Honors Specialization in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature is on creative and critical approaches to contemporary creative writing practices in a variety of literary genres such as poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, literary journalism, screenwriting, and playwriting. Academic essays will not be considered.  The adjudicators will be looking for writing that demonstrates an ability to communicate original creative ideas both technically and conceptually in relation to the genre in which the work is situated.

The work adjudicated for potential acceptance will be chosen on the basis of the originality of ideas, language, and voice; the range of writing ability and explorations; the depth and breadth of literary engagement; and the technical quality of the writing.

For the 2013-14 academic year, please send (from your Western University e-mail account) portfolios to The Department of English and Writing Studies at If you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt of your Portfolio within two working days, contact the Program office (519-850-2920) as soon as possible. Portfolios received beyond 30 April 2013 might not be considered.

Admission Requirements:
Completion of first-year requirements with no failures. Students must have an average of at least 70% in 3.0 principal courses, including Writing 1000F/G; and 2.0 additional courses including 1.0 course from English 1020E or 1022E or 1024E or 1035E or 1036E or both of English 1027F/G and 1028F/G, or permission of the Department; and 1.0 course from Classical Studies 1000, Comparative Literature and Culture 1020, Film 1020E, French 1900E, Philosophy 1020, Visual Art History 1040, Visual Art Studio 1020, or Women’s Studies 1020E; 0.5 additional course. A minimum mark of 70% in Writing 1000F/G is required, with no mark below 60% in the other principal courses; and submission of a portfolio.

11.0 courses
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Minor in Creative Writing
 Students who wish to make Creative Writing one of their modular choices, may consider the Minor in Creative Writing, a module offered jointly by English, Film and the Program in Writing, Rhetoric and Professional Communication.
Open to all students in the University, the Minor in Creative Writing offers undergraduate students the opportunity to develop their ability to write fiction, poetry, screenplays, and other forms of imaginative literature. Any undergraduate student may apply for admission, subject to prerequisites and general University entrance requirements
For more info see

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Creative Writing Outside the Classroom
Creative Writing at Western is not limited to the classroom. Each year Western invites a respected poet, novelist, or playwright to act as our Writer in Residence, someone to whom young and aspiring writers can turn to for advice and feedback on their work. And through The Coterie, the Undergraduate English Student Society, writers can publish their work in one of the Society’s publications, or join in on the fun at the annual poetry slam at a local pub.

The Rusty Toque:
The Rusty Toque is an online literary and arts journal published biannually with the support of Western University's Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication. The Rusty Toque also publishes interviews with contemporary writers and filmmakers called Rusty Talk. We welcome submissions from both new and established writers. Please check out our submission guidelines.

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Featured Published Writers
Graduates of The Department of English have gone on to pursue graduate programs in creative writing and they have had their work published by prestigious journals and presses, and been nominated for major literary prizes. Below are some featured works from our recent Writer-In-Residence and English graduates:
Brian Francis
Brian is a CBC Canada Reads finalist and has recently published his sophomore novel Natural Order.
Meghan Adams
Meghan was winner in the Short Story category of the CBC Literary Awards for 2010 and has returned to Western where she is currently pursuing her PhD.
R. Scott Bakker
R. Scott Bakker is a fantasy author who been writing a popular fiction series since he was a student at Western in the 1980s. His most recent novel is The White Luck Warrior.
David Hickey
David, a doctoral candidate in our program, recently published his second book of poems, Open Air Bindery as well as his first children’s book, A Very Small Something.

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Department of English - The University of Western Ontario
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