Undergraduate Creative Writing in the United States: Buying In Isn’t Selling Out

  • Anna Leahy
Part of the Teaching the New English book series (TENEEN)


The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) director, David Fenza, asserts, ‘Creative Writing classes have become among the most popular classes in the humanities’ and member undergraduate programs jumped from 155 in 1984 to 318 just twenty years later.1 The AWP Official Guide to Writing Programs now lists 421 undergraduate programs.2 In addition, a recent report on ‘The Undergraduate English Major’ by the Association of Departments of English (ADE) mentions the addition of Creative Writing as one way that English departments have addressed the drop in percentage of English majors since the 1970s. This report claims, ‘there is at least anecdotal evidence to suggest that when Creative Writing is an option or track within English, it often contributes significantly to the success of the English major’.3 In ADE’s study, ‘Nearly half (49.3%) the chairs identified Creative Writing as second only to literature as the focus chosen by English majors.’4 We are now established as a discipline in universities and colleges and, to some extent, valued. The fear is that, in buying into the academy, we might sell out our art or craft.


Undergraduate Program Creative Writer English Department Creative People Teaching Creative 
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© Anna Leahy 2012

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  • Anna Leahy

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