Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Program in Creative Writing. We offer courses in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and playwriting to students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Since 1986, we have also been host to the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing’s post-graduate fellowships, which provide top emerging writers a year to develop their craft.
Though officially founded in 1978 by professor and poet Ron Wallace, the Program in Creative Writing has been around for almost as long as the Department of English; over the years our students and faculty have included such distinguished writers as Jean Toomer, Eudora Welty, Delmore Schwartz, Wallace Stegner, Saul Bellow, Lorraine Hansberry, James Merrill, Gwendolyn Brooks, Joyce Carol Oates, Anthony Doerr, Lorrie Moore, Lauren Groff, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, and Danez Smith. Our MFA is top ranked and includes many published alums; nearly all of our post-graduate fellows go on to publish acclaimed first books; and our undergraduates attend some of the most competitive creative writing graduate programs in the country.
As an extension of its educational mission, the Program in Creative Writing aims to be the center of literary life in the Madison area. Our students, fellows, and graduates get involved in many campus and local writing-related happenings, including Division of the Arts programming, engagement with the University of Wisconsin Press through our book prizes, community outreach via the Wisconsin Prison Humanities Project, and an abundance of literary events through our partnership with the Wisconsin Book Festival and other local venues such as the Watershed Reading Series at Arts + Literature Laboratory and Madison’s independent bookstores A Room of One’s Own and Mystery to Me. For a calendar of upcoming readings and literary events, stay tuned to our events page.