The Creative Writing Program at the University of La Verne challenges all students — majors, minors, passersby — to develop their craft, examine the culture around them, and expand readers’ understanding of what it means to live.
Our Major and Minor programs give students the opportunity to practice literary creative writing through a careful study of the modes and theories of the art, with an emphasis on contemporary applications. Our courses encourage students to learn and employ techniques gleaned from literary creative writing while simultaneously helping students better understand the literary and cultural contexts of their writing.
Students graduating with a Creative Writing major will be prepared to enter and excel in graduate creative writing studies, particularly at the MFA level. Students will also have professional experience which may help prepare them gain employment in publishing and advertising — one cornerstorne aspect of the program is creating our literary journal Prism Review (through our WRT 305: Literary Magazine Staff course).
Students also get a chance to meet and speak with both up-and-coming and established contemporary writers — in the last several years, our visitors have included poets Victoria Chang, Amy Newlove Schroeder, Jessica Piazza, Michelle Detorie, Brent Armendinger, Genevieve Kaplan, Karen An-Hwei Lee, Jen Hofer, Tony Barnstone, Ralph Angel, and Maggie Nelson, and fiction writers Scott Nadelson, Siel Ju, Matt Sumell, Amelia Gray, Michael Jaime Becerra, Bryan Hurt, Richard Lange, Aimee Bender, and Larry Fondation. In 2016-2017 alone, ULV hosted Julie Paegle, Claudia Rankine, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Kevin Moffett; in 2017-2018, the university has welcome and will continue to welcome Noble laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Pulitzer-prize recipient Viet Thanh Nguyen, Hannah Sanghee Park, Kingsley Tufts Awardwinner Vievee Francis, Craig Santos Perez, Meagan Cass, Siel Ju, and more.
Taken together, the Creative Writing program at La Verne immerses students in the life of contemporary literary: it gives them models to aspire to, prepares them for teamwork, instructs them in editing and assessing manuscripts, and guides them along as they create their own contemporary contribution to literature. Beyond careers in writing and writing-related fields, our creative writing classes stress the need for analytical thinking: to be successful writers, students must learn and be able to integrate abstracts concepts, learned knowledge, and reflections on everyday life, and they must integrate all of this into small and self-contained systems.
Wednesday, February 21: here at the other end of the short wintry days (see below), the talented and thoughtful Los Angeles-area author Siel Ju came to the University of La Verne. Siel visited our WRT 304: Fiction class, talking about writing about family and friends, the publishing process, and some do’s and dont’s of grad school. Then, like every other writer we’ve had recently, Siel read at the still-standing ULV Chapel, where she read excerpts from two stories in her award-winning collection Cake Time.
Tuesday, November 7: here in the early dark daylight-lostings days of November, we were joined by the wonderfully generous and talented poet Hannah Park. Hannah led our WRT 303: Poetry students on an inventive sonnet-constraint workshop exercise, and then joined us at our favorite gathering spot, the ULV Chapel, where she read from her award-winning collection The Same-Different as well as several newer works.
Thursday, May 18, we had our first annual undergraduate fiction reading (to pair with our first annual undergraduate poetry reading in December 2016). Student authors Kendra Craighead (from untitled novel), Marc Salomon (“Cheshire Cat”), and Lucy Diaz (“Sun-kissed bodies are to die for”) read original works that were touching, unique, and hilarious.
Thursday, April 6, Kevin Moffett, celebrated short-story writer and author of Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events (among other books), visited WRT 304: Fiction writing and fielded questions about just about every aspect of writing that exists; then he became our latest in our long and illustrious line of chapel readers, sharing a unique fairy-tale-esque story.
On October 27, 2016, the fantastic and ebullient Julie Sophia Paegle came to ULV to speak with poetry students and give a reading from her books Twelve Clocks and torch song tango choir. She was introduced by a trio of students and by our own Angela Thomson-Brenchley.
On March 29, 2016, wise, generous, and absurdly talented fiction writer Scott Nadelson – author of three collections of stories, a collection of essays, the recent novel Between You and Me – came to ULV and spoke with students from three creative writing classes and gave a reading from his new novel.
And just a few days later, AWP struck Los Angeles, and our own Prism Review had a table at the fair: students attended panels, went to readings (off-site and on), attended evening receptions, dance-parties, and repped ULV in all their intelligent glory.
Then, last October, ULV’s Creative Writing program was visited by the amazingly friendly, thoughtful, and talented Victoria Chang, author of The Boss – a tremendous book of poetry published by McSweeney’s and recipient of both the PEN Center literary award and the California Book Award for poetry. For both her wonderful reading and the intelligent Q&A, Ms. Chang was introduced by our own undergraduate prize-winning author Guadalupe Robles – and, of course, the reading was situated in the ULV Chapel.
On Cinco de Mayo 2015, the ULV Creative Writing program welcomed, of course, a native Long Islander: Matt Sumell, author of the amazing collection Making Nice, a screaming balancing act of anger and sorrow. Sumell visited with a fiction writing class taught by Matt Nelson (below, bearded), who introduced Mr. Sumell for his excellent reading of his story “Rape in the Animal Kingdom,” fantastically appropriate in the setting of the school chapel.