Summer Sessions | Courses | Writing

Writing

We’ve established a simple application process for courses offered by the School of the Arts this summer, including courses in Creative Writing. Please visit Arts in the Summer with the School of the Arts for details.

The Undergraduate Creative Writing Program at Columbia offers workshops and craft seminars in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Students in Columbia College and the School of General Studies can apply to the creative writing major, or they can take creative writing courses as electives. We serve an amalgam of students from Columbia College, The School of General Studies, non-degree students from the School of Professional Studies, and students from other undergraduate and graduate divisions of the University. For more information, please see our website: arts.columbia.edu/writing

Check the Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date course information.

Summer 2021 Session Information

  • SESSION A courses are May 3–June 18, 2021
  • SESSION B courses are June 28–August 16, 2021

Please note, some courses may be open only to students in the major. This can verified in the Directory of Classes by viewing the course rules under the "Open To" field.

Courses
Expand All
FICTION WORKSHOP
WRIT1001S001 3 points.

The Fiction Writing Workshop is designed for students who have little or no experience writing imaginative prose. Students are introduced to a range of craft concerns through exercises and discussions, and eventually produce their own writing for the critical analysis of the class. Outside readings supplement and inform the exercises and longer written projects. Enrollment limited to 15.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1001S001 001/11220 Summer A Subterm Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Erroll McDonald
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
FICTION WORKSHOP
WRIT1001S002 3 points.

The Fiction Writing Workshop is designed for students who have little or no experience writing imaginative prose. Students are introduced to a range of craft concerns through exercises and discussions, and eventually produce their own writing for the critical analysis of the class. Outside readings supplement and inform the exercises and longer written projects. Enrollment limited to 15.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1001S002 002/11227 Summer B Subterm Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Lynn Strong
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
BEGINNING FICTION WORKSHOP
WRIT1100K001 3 points.
The beginning workshop in fiction is designed for students who have little or no previous experience writing literary texts in fiction. Students are introduced to a range of technical and imaginative concerns through creative exercises and discussions, and eventually produce their own writing for the critical analysis of the class. The focus of the course is on the rudiments of voice, character, setting, point of view, plot, and the lyrical use of language. Students will begin to develop the critical skills that will allow them to read like writers and understand, on a technical level, how accomplished creative writing is produced. Outside readings of a wide range of fiction supplement and inform the exercises and longer written projects.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1100K001 001/11221 Summer A Subterm Mo 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
We 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Jessi Stevens
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
NONFICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
WRIT1101S001 3 points.

The Nonfiction Writing Workshop is designed for students new to the practice of such genres as reportage, criticism, biography and memoir. Various techniques are explored through exercises and other assignments. Critique of student work is supplemented by outside readings.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1101S001 001/11233 Summer B Subterm We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Robert Dewhurst
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
NONFICTION WRITING WORKSHOP
WRIT1101S002 3 points.

The Nonfiction Writing Workshop is designed for students new to the practice of such genres as reportage, criticism, biography and memoir. Various techniques are explored through exercises and other assignments. Critique of student work is supplemented by outside readings.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1101S002 002/14322 Summer B Subterm Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Sasha Bonet
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP
WRIT1201S001 3 points.

The Poetry Writing Workshop is designed for all students with a serious interest in poetry writing, from those who lack significant workshop experience or training in the craft of poetry to seasoned workshop participants looking for new challenges and perspectives on their work. Students will be assigned writing exercises emphasizing such aspects of verse composition as the poetic line, the image, rhyme and other sound devices, verse forms, repetition, collage, and others. Students will also read an variety of exemplary work in verse, submit brief critical analyses of poems, and critique each others original work.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1201S001 001/11219 Summer A Subterm Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Timothy Donnelly
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP
WRIT1201S002 3 points.

The Poetry Writing Workshop is designed for all students with a serious interest in poetry writing, from those who lack significant workshop experience or training in the craft of poetry to seasoned workshop participants looking for new challenges and perspectives on their work. Students will be assigned writing exercises emphasizing such aspects of verse composition as the poetic line, the image, rhyme and other sound devices, verse forms, repetition, collage, and others. Students will also read an variety of exemplary work in verse, submit brief critical analyses of poems, and critique each others original work.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1201S002 002/11226 Summer B Subterm Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Dorothea Lasky
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
POETRY WRITING WORKSHOP
WRIT1201S003 3 points.

The Poetry Writing Workshop is designed for all students with a serious interest in poetry writing, from those who lack significant workshop experience or training in the craft of poetry to seasoned workshop participants looking for new challenges and perspectives on their work. Students will be assigned writing exercises emphasizing such aspects of verse composition as the poetic line, the image, rhyme and other sound devices, verse forms, repetition, collage, and others. Students will also read an variety of exemplary work in verse, submit brief critical analyses of poems, and critique each others original work.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT1201S003 003/14329 Summer B Subterm Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Nathaniel Rosenthalis
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
TRADITIONS IN NONFICTION
WRIT2211W001 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required. The seminar provides exposure to the varieties of nonfiction with readings in its principal genres: reportage, criticism and commentary, biography and history, and memoir and the personal essay. A highly plastic medium, nonfiction allows authors to portray real events and experiences through narrative, analysis, polemic or any combination thereof. Free to invent everything but the facts, great practitioners of nonfiction are faithful to reality while writing with a voice and a vision distinctively their own. To show how nonfiction is conceived and constructed, class discussions will emphasize the relationship of content to form and style, techniques for creating plot and character under the factual constraints imposed by nonfiction, the defining characteristics of each authors voice, the authors subjectivity and presence, the role of imagination and emotion, the uses of humor, and the importance of speculation and attitude. Written assignments will be opportunities to experiment in several nonfiction genres and styles.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT2211W001 001/14491 Full Trm Crs
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Kevin Windhauser
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
In-Person
ART WRITING FOR WRITERS
WRIT3215W001 3 points.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites. Department approval NOT required. 

In this course, we will look at some of the most dynamic examples of "visual writing." To begin, we will look at writers writing about art, from the Romantic period through the present. The modes of this art writing we will consider include: the practice of ekphrasis (poems which address or derive their inspiration from a work of art); writers such as Ralph Ellison, Amiri Baraka, John Ashbery, and Eileen Myles, who for periods of their lives worked as art critics; writers such as Etel Adnan and Alexander Kulge, who have produced literature and works of art in equal measure; as well as numerous collaborations between writers and visual artists. We will also look at artists who have written essays and poetry throughout their careers, like artists Robert Smithson, Glenn Ligon, David Wojnarowicz, Moyra Davey, Paul Chan, and Hannah Black, as well as professional critics whose work has been elevated to the status of literature, such as Hilton Als, Janet Malcolm, and Susan Sontag. Lastly, we will consider what it means to write through a “milieu” of sonic and visual artists, such as those associated with Dada, the Harlem Renaissance, the New York School, and Moscow Conceptualism. Throughout the course, students will also be prompted to write with and about current art exhibitions and events throughout the city. They will produce original works in various of the modes described above and complete a final writing project that incorporates what they have learned. 

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT3215W001 001/11223 Summer B Subterm Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Thomas Donovan
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
WRITING CHILDREN'S BOOKS
WRIT4313S001 3 points.
There are many misconceptions as to what makes an appealing story for children and how to get a story published. Many novice writers are simply relating an incident as opposed to creating a story. This course will show beginner and experienced writers how to mine their lives and imaginations for ideas and how to develop those ideas into children's stories-a step by step process from inspiration to finished manuscript for picture books, early readers, emerging readers and chapter books. Students will also learn the importance of reading their writing out loud-a process that helps both reader and listener develop a better ear for the story's pace, cadence and structure. Writing for children has become incredibly popular in the past fifteen years and publishing houses have been inundated with manuscripts. Many houses have ceased accepting unsolicited manuscripts all together. This course will disclose other avenues to getting your manuscript into the hands of agents and editors.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT4313S001 001/11228 Summer B Subterm Th 09:00 AM–12:10 PM
Tu 09:00 AM–12:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Peter Catalanotto
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
TRAVEL WRITING
WRIT4320S001 3 points.
How does the traveler become the travel writer? What makes good travel writing? Why does it matter today? This course examines and breaks down the very specific craft of travel writing. Simply because we like to travel, does it qualify us to write about it? Everywhere has been written about, so how do we find something fresh to say about… Paris, or even Patagonia? In this course, we both dispel, and prove, some of the myths of travel writing. Students learn to find an angle in order to uncover destinations anew and make them personal— it’s in the personal that the universal is revealed. From crafting a compelling lede and understanding the need for a strong “nut graph,” to knowing the value of dialogue in propelling the story forward, and then finding the ideal kicker to send the reader away satisfied, students dissect published stories and are sent out into “the field” (of New York City) to craft their own. Travel writing is more than, “I went here, I did this, I ate that.” From front-of-book and service pieces, to destination features, we discuss magazine and newspaper travel writing in depth, as well as touch on longer form travel writing. Finally, through exercises and assignments, students learn to craft a compelling pitch in order to approach editors.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT4320S001 001/11217 Summer A Subterm We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Porter Fox
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
WRITING THE YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
WRIT4323S001 3 points.
Young adult fiction is a relatively new category in book publishing, but it is growing fast. The readers of YA books are between 12 and 18 years of age. However, its popularity can sometimes extend well beyond the intended age range; Harry Potter being the best-known example. The YA category spans a number of subgenres, including paranormal romance, dystopian sci-fi, and coming-of-age realism. The best YA novels feature fully realized characters and a level of emotional complexity that appeal to teens. And yet, YA books can include frightful displays of violence and can be unabashed about sex. They also feature swiftly moving plots combined with a young person's unique world view-pairings that are unlike anything found in traditional literary fiction. In this workshop, we will embark on writing our own YA novels. With our work always at the center of discussion we will explore the essence of what makes it YA in terms of narrative point of view and subject matter while also challenging the conventions of genre fiction. By way of example, we will look at the work of Sherman Alexie, Lois Lowry and Megan McCafferty. For examples of 'new adult' or 'crossover' fiction we will read excerpts from books such as those by Curtis Sittenfeld, J.D. Salinger, and others. Course work will include selected readings, but the emphasis of the workshop will be on writing and critiquing our own work. Students will write up to three chapters of an original YA or crossover novel along with a partial chapter outline for their book in progress. The class will also include visits from published YA authors who will speak about craft, audience, and getting published.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT4323S001 001/11222 Summer A Subterm Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Rachel Carter
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
HOW TO WRITE FUNNY
WRIT4810S001 3 points.
In this class we will consider the various forms and functions of humor in written prose, discussing techniques and approaches to humor writing. Students will write their own humorous stories and essays which we will read and discuss in class, focusing not only on what is or isn't funny, but on how humor can be advantageously used to increase the power of an overall piece. The class will also break down stories, novels, and essays from a variety of authors-Bill Hicks' political satire; the darkly comedic fiction of Barry Hannah and Paul Beatty; the absurd humor of Tina Fey and Baratunde Thurston; Anthony Lane's charming British snarkiness; Spy Magazine's sharply parodic voice; Woody Allen's one-liners; Lena Dunham's zeitgeist comedy-in an effort to better understand what makes their humor work. Students will be asked to write stories inspired and influenced by these authors. As we critique each other's work, we will investigate strategies related to the craft of humor writing, including self-deprecation, political satire, humor and the other, going blue, dark comedy, schtick, humor as a means vs. humor as an end, crossing the line, and how to write funny without sacrificing substance.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT4810S001 001/11225 Summer B Subterm Mo 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
We 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Patricia Marx
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
HOW TO WRITE FUNNY
WRIT4810S002 3 points.
In this class we will consider the various forms and functions of humor in written prose, discussing techniques and approaches to humor writing. Students will write their own humorous stories and essays which we will read and discuss in class, focusing not only on what is or isn't funny, but on how humor can be advantageously used to increase the power of an overall piece. The class will also break down stories, novels, and essays from a variety of authors-Bill Hicks' political satire; the darkly comedic fiction of Barry Hannah and Paul Beatty; the absurd humor of Tina Fey and Baratunde Thurston; Anthony Lane's charming British snarkiness; Spy Magazine's sharply parodic voice; Woody Allen's one-liners; Lena Dunham's zeitgeist comedy-in an effort to better understand what makes their humor work. Students will be asked to write stories inspired and influenced by these authors. As we critique each other's work, we will investigate strategies related to the craft of humor writing, including self-deprecation, political satire, humor and the other, going blue, dark comedy, schtick, humor as a means vs. humor as an end, crossing the line, and how to write funny without sacrificing substance.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT4810S002 002/14321 Summer B Subterm Tu 05:30 PM–08:40 PM
Th 05:30 PM–08:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Nina Sharma
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
FICTION SEMINAR
WRIT6110R001 3 points.

.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT6110R001 001/11271 Summer A Subterm Mo 02:00 PM–04:10 PM
We 02:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Rebecca Godfrey
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
NONFICTION SEMINAR
WRIT6210R001 3 points.

.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT6210R001 001/11272 Summer A Subterm Tu 03:00 PM–05:10 PM
Th 03:00 PM–05:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Jordan Kisner
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
POETRY SEMINAR
WRIT6310R001 3 points.

.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
WRIT6310R001 001/11273 Summer A Subterm Mo 04:30 PM–06:40 PM
We 04:30 PM–06:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Joshua Edwards
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only