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Bryn Mawr Students Can Now Major in Creative Writing

May 2, 2023
Best-selling author Michelle Zauner, who did an independent major in creative writing, met with Professor Torday's students on a visit to campus in 2021

Beginning in the 2023-24 academic year, Bryn Mawr students will have the option to major in creative writing. Previously, students could only minor in the field or had to pursue a major as an independent major.

"We're through the roof that there will finally be a standing major in creative writing at Bryn Mawr College," says program co-director Professor Daniel Torday. "It has come about in the most organic way: for years students have created their own version of a CW major through our Independent Major program. So making it official was surprisingly easy. We simply had to describe what students have already been doing, and codify it. This is the exciting kind of thing that can happen at a small college like Bryn Mawr: for us to be led by our students, their desires, their talents, and their interests."

As evidence of the existing strength of the new department, Torday points to the fact that recent alums Michelle Zauner '11 and Tae Keller '15 (Zauner an independent CW major and Keller an English major who took several CW courses) have landed at the top of The New York Times best-sellers list.

"This is a remarkable fact for an undergraduate college of 1,200 students," says Torday. "Beyond that, every year we send students to the most prestigious and selective MFA programs and see them publishing their work in magazines, in anthologies, and their own books."

In addition to establishing themselves as writers, students from the Creative Writing program have gone on to careers at NPR; editing posts at national magazines and Big Five publishing houses; positions in academia; and more.

The major offers core classes in fiction and poetry and others including Writing for Radio and Podcasting, Screenwriting, and Visual Poetry. In addition to core requirements in creative writing, the major will require academic study both in Literatures in English, and in a series of allied courses in other departments.

Jade Poli '25 is among the students already planning to major in creative writing.

"One of the best opportunities this major has to offer is the final creative capstone project," she says. "I'm hoping to finish college with a completed novel, engineered through the multitude of creative writing courses but also from a mix of interdisciplinary courses a liberal arts college like Bryn Mawr will offer through this major."

Creative Writing