Creative Writing

"Looking at the world through a writer’s eyes, even just for a single semester, can change your life.”

— Tracy K. Smith

The Program in Creative Writing offers Princeton undergraduates the opportunity to craft original work under the guidance of some of today’s most respected practicing writers including Jeffrey Eugenides, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Jhumpa LahiriPaul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, and Edmund White.

Small workshop courses, averaging eight to ten students, provide intensive feedback and instruction for both beginners and advanced writers, and each year 25 to 30 seniors work individually with a member of the faculty on a creative thesis: a novel, a screenplay, or a collection of short stories, poems or translations. Writers of national and international distinction visit campus throughout the year to participate in the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series and to discuss their work. The Lewis Center’s Performance Central series presents the biennial Princeton Poetry Festival drawing poets from around the world. An Emerging Writers series puts thesis students at the podium alongside a lineup of established guest writers curated by seniors in the program. The Leonard Milberg collections and Princeton’s unparalleled library and archives also provide world-class opportunities for the study of contemporary literature.



Upcoming Creative Writing Events

Seats available in FRS 112 with Jennifer Gilmore!

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Taught by acclaimed writer JENNIFER GILMORE
THURSDAYS, 1:30 – 4:20 p.m.

American Jewish writing has been shaped as much by social, cultural, and political considerations as by literary ones. In this course, we will consider the Jewish American experience in American literature by focusing on Jewish American texts — fiction, essays, film, and television — that define, revise, and critique “American identity.” What is the role of national, personal, and cultural histories, of language and gender, in Americans’ self-definitions? What is the relationship of “Jewish American” literature to the American literary canon? How is it shaped by questions of what constitutes ethnicity and how does that reveal itself in these works?

As we examine these multilayered concerns we will also look at the stereotypes that are confronted and upheld in these texts. We will explore the various ways in which the Jewish American experience has been defined and examine its connection to immigration, acculturation, alienation, and the rise of material wealth. We will investigate a fundamental question: Is there such a thing as “Jewish fiction” and, if so, will it continue to evolve?

Students will read and watch texts by writers and filmmakers including Saul Bellow, Grace Paley, Allen Ginsberg, Art Spiegelman, Woody Allen, and Lena Dunham to explore these and other concerns as they gain fluency in thinking and writing about contemporary literature through discussion, weekly essay responses, and class presentations. A midterm paper and a final assignment are also required.

Email Sha Sanyal ( if interested in enrolling.

Check out more course details