Writing StudiesWestern Arts and Humanities
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Updates and Announcements

Calling All Poets!  

Submissions are now being accepted for the prestigious 2015 Alfred Poynt Award in Poetry. A cash prize of $250 will be awarded to the first place winner, and there are up to four other $100 prizes for the runners up. Please review the submission guidelines here and remember that the deadline is April 8, 2015. Good luck!

Award Poster 

Language Day 2015

Following on the heels of last year's resounding success and due to popular demand, Arts & Humanities will be hosting a second and more expanded Language Day workshop this year on April 24th at Western's historic University College. A total of five rotating workshops encompassing language and literature will be attended by select Grade 5 students from across the region with the view to engaging elementary pupils in the spirit of interdisciplinarity and scholarly collaboration that transcends all age groups. Students will attend age appropriate and customized seminars, hosted and moderated by Western professors, that engage their interests in reading and writing while more broadly exposing them to the culture of innovation and inclusivity for which Western's Faculty of Arts & Humanities is known. If interested in participating in next year's 2016 offering, please contact the Writing Studies office through this site.   

Special Topics Courses - Permissions for Winter 2015

Have room for an elective this winter or have a slot on your schedule that needs filling? Some spaces still remain in our special topics offerings for the winter of 2015. Students who have interests in or experience with the related fields and genres of writing but who lack the prerequisites may apply for special permission through the department using our streamlined procedure.  

New Issue of Occasus Now Available

The fall 2014 edition of Occasus, the online student literary journal is now available. Check out the latest collection of outstanding original pieces of poetry and prose authored by our Writing Studies students. Have your own original piece of creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, screen writing, journalism, or cover art you want to submit for consideration for future issues? Have a look at the journal's submission guidelines and get in touch with us!   

Creative Writers Series 2014-15

The Department of English & Writing Studies is pleased to announce the exciting new lineup for this year's Creative Writers Series at Western. Please take a look at the promotional poster below to find out what authors will be here to conduct readings of their original work, and when. Contact the Department with any questions or for further information on sessions.

Series Poster

Web Registration

If you have a question or concern about registration (Writing course selection, Writing program requirements, and related matters), please read the document "Course Selection Guide". If your questions are not answered by the information in that document, please feel free to contact the Undergraduate Program Director, Prof. Brock Eayrs, directly by email at beayrs@uwo.ca. You will receive a response within 36 hours.

Special permission procedures for 2014-2015: please refer to FAQ

News

New study confirms humanities grads among the most employable 

Preliminary results of an incisive University of Ottawa study just released, in which the personal income tax records of undergraduates who completed their degrees between 1998 and 2011 were tracked over that same period, confirm some fascinating long-term trends with respect to the programs offered by Canada's research intensive universities like Western and their impact on earning power. For starters, graduates in the humanities were found to have found stable, full-time employment relatively quickly, including during intervals of severe economic downturn. Further, humanities grads saw early career increases in their average annual salaries at rates that exceeded those graduating in disciplines such as the health sciences that have traditionally been equated with immediate financial prosperity. The study uses verifiable data to turn some long-standing myths upside down, and reinforces the marketability and diversity of a liberal arts education in the current knowledge based economy. The study also corroborates feedback from our own recent graduates about their successes, not to mention the continuing surge in writing and communications jobs available across all industries. Read a detailed summary of the study here.    

Professor Arntfield featured on CBC's the fifth estate

English and Writing Studies Professor Michael Arntfield was recently featured as the case consultant, moderator, and leader of a group of experts touted as "the leading investigative minds in the country" on the CBC's flagship documentary series, the fifth estate. In the episode, he leads a cadre of other scholars and field investigators in their efforts to analyze the final known movements and probable whereabouts of a BC woman who vanished in 2012. The methods used in the episode, including applying forensic conceptual metaphor analysis and other psycholinguistic methods to her final diary entries, approximate the same multidisciplinary investigative techniques used by Dr. Arntfield's case case study group here at Western. To view the entire episode that is now online click here, and follow the social media links if you think you can help find Emma.  

Creative nonfiction workshop

Writing Studies is pleased to announce that Western students have the opportunity to participate in a creative nonfiction writing workshop being held in Toronto on Saturday, September 20, 2014. The workshop is being hosted by the ever-growing Creative Nonfiction Collective Society, and you don't need to be enrolled in any of our courses to attend - though it might help. Those interested in attending to refine their skills or simply to network with other writers, both emerging and established, should click here for further details.  

Writing Studies & Weird Al: Two forces against 'word crimes'

The always innovative Weird Al Yankovic has returned and brought with him a timely new track that speaks to the state of written English in a digital world. The accompanying video for his song 'Word Crimes' features an array of lighthearted but thought-provoking insights and observations on the erosion of writing fundamentals and etiquette in a culture where cryptic shorthands and emoji glyphs have replaced traditional (and intelligible) forms of writing. What is the trickle down effect of this trend on more formal types of composition? How is that, for the first time in history, more daily interactions and occupations than ever require word processing and advanced written communication skills, yet at the same time the state of these skills seems to be in decline? These are the same types of questions explored in many of our Department's core courses, including Writing 2111 (Writing in the World), Writing 2121 (Text, Lies & Digital Media), Writing 2207 (Writing for the Web), Writing 2210 (GrammarPhobia Demystified), as well as special offerings like Writing 2297 (Forensic Writing), and many others. Check out the video here and ask yourself: Am I a word criminal? If so, consider our courses a form of crime prevention - or perhaps rehabilitation!

Video and link provided wih permission and special thanks to Weird Al and his management.         

Writing Studies student to publish poetry piece

The Department of English and Writing Studies would like to congratulate undergraduate student Tom Prime, whose poem titled, "Percentages" previously written for our WRIT2211 (Fundamentals of Creative Writing) class, is currently pending publication in the Montreal-based magazine Vallum. This magazine offers collections of poems edited by some of Canada's best-known poets and creative writers, and is known for serving as a barometer for what is new and fresh in the field. Since 2000, Vallum has also been recognized as an index of the 'who's-who' in Canadian poetry, and the forthcoming publication of this original piece by one of our students is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations, Tom!

Click here to learn more.

Grade 5 students explore writing studies

studentsOn Friday, March 28, we hosted 140 gifted Grade 5 students from the Thames Valley District School Board for a full day of writing and poetry workshops. The students rotated through 4 workshops and had a blast interacting with our faculty! Michael Fox delivered a workshop on"Quests, Monsters, and Treasure: How Do We Make Their Stories?",  David Heap and Stephanie Kelly presented "Tracing Word Histories and Visualizing Speech Sounds", Michael Arntfield presented "Children's Mystery Novels and the Cozy Whodunit", and Tom Cull presented an interactive Poetry Lab. Thanks to Writing Studies for organizing such a wonderful day for the students! See video clip from Rogers TV

Mission Statement

Writing Studies aims to provide students with the ability to affect the world, both inside and outside the university, by facilitating their becoming self-directed, creative, and intellectual agents able to engage effectively with and contribute to the resolution of problems through the use of language both written and spoken. Writing studies comprise the core activities of our contemporary social, political, and cultural world, and the study and mastery of the constitutive and social dynamics of writing, rhetorical theory, and texts will provide pragmatic and intellectual tools for our graduates throughout their professional, intellectual, and social lives.