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Villanova University Announces New Minor in Creative Writing

VILLANOVA, Pa. – As online publications, digital media, small regional and national presses and the entertainment industry continue to grow, so does the need for creative thinkers and talented writers. Simultaneously, the number of Master of Fine Arts writing programs has grown from 12 in 1967 to over 500 in 2013, according to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. Mirroring this trend, students are increasingly looking for an opportunity to augment their studies with courses that will provide an outlet for their creativity and develop their skills as writers and thinkers. Now, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is meeting this growing need with the creation of a minor in Creative Writing.

Students enrolled in the program will have the opportunity to take classes from published and award-winning writers. Villanova’s Creative Writing faculty include Alan Drew, MFA, author of Gardens of Water (Random House 2008) and Lisa Sewell, PhD, whose book of poetry Impossible Object (The Wood Works 2015) won the 2014 Tenth Gate Prize. Other faculty include writers Joseph Lennon, PhD, director of Irish Studies and author of Fell Hunger (Salmon Poetry 2011); James Matthew Wilson, PhD, author of The Violent and The Fallen (Finishing Line Press 2013); Catherine Staples, MA, poet of The Rattling Window (Ashland Poetry Press 2013). Also teaching are John O’Leary, PhD, a screenwriter, as well as celebrated playwright Michael Hollinger, MA, whose plays Opus(Dramatists Play Service 2009) and Ghost-Writer (Dramatist’s Play Service 2011) have been produced across the United States and around the world.

“It’s important for a university to have a strong creative writing program, and we’re lucky at Villanova to have faculty who are not only accomplished writers but also skillful and dedicated teachers,” said Evan Radcliffe, PhD, associate professor and chair of English.

Headed by Alan Drew, MFA, associate professor of English, Villanova’s Creative Writing Program offers a five-course minor in Creative Writing to undergraduate students across the University. The goal of the Program, which features interactive workshops, is to support students in their creative writing endeavors and to create a “space of creativity” within Villanova.

“Young writers need a supportive and constructively critical audience, and that’s exactly what this program offers,” said Professor Drew. “We’re hopeful the program will build a community of creative writers across disciplines that will enrich the artistic community on campus.” 

“The new minor in Creative Writing enriches our curriculum and gives CLAS students a platform to express and develop their creativity,” said Adele Lindenmeyr, PhD, Dean, Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Students in the minor will have the opportunity to hone their skills under the direction of the highly talented and successful writers we have on our faculty.”

The program’s classes facilitate students' mastery of essential skills in the craft of writing, while providing them with insightful and articulate critical responses to their work. It offers many distinct opportunities for students who wish to develop the kind of writing skills necessary to create publishable, high-quality work. Students can take classes in poetry, playwriting, screenwriting and novel-writing.

In addition, students will have opportunities to meet critically acclaimed writers through on-campus readings and workshops, including the annual Villanova University Literary Festival and its sister course, the Literary Festival Workshop. The Literary Festival Workshop course is required of any student seeking the minor and offers students the opportunity to meet authors whose work they are studying.. Students can also enhance their learning in a variety of established programs such as Villanova on the Set and the Irish Studies Abbey Theatre Exchange Program.

For more information about Villanova University’s new minor in Creative Writing, please visit