Creative Writing

Four amazing events--attend them all!

Fordham's English Department is sponsoring four fabulous events in the next nine days--attend them all! 

Here's the basic information--you can see details on the posters

  • Wednesday April 11, 5pm, in Keating First (RH), Haben Girma will present the first Fordham Distinguished Lecture on Disability: "Disability & Innovation:  The Universal Benefits of Inclusion."
  • Friday April 13, 4pm, in Law School Room 3-09 (LC), Kyla Wazana Tompkins will present a lecture titled "So Moved: Ferment, Jelly, Intoxication, Rot." 
  • Monday, April 16, 5pm, in Pope Auditorium (LC), the Reid Family Writers of Color Reading Series presents Rigoberto González, author of Autobiography of My Hungers.
  • Thursday, April 19, 5:30pm, in Law School Room 1-01, Rebecca Wanzo will give a talk titled "Black Panther: 'Post'-Civil-Rights Hero in Revolutionary Times."

Golden Gloves Literary Competition & Literary Fair

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On Monday, December 4th, the Creative Writing Program will host a night dedicated to literary excellence at Fordham Lincoln Center.

The Golden Gloves Literary Competition will feature student writers from all of Fordham's Creative Writing classes. These students will compete for one of three prizes: Ram d'Or, Best Experiment, and Audience Favorite.

In addition, there will be a Literary Fair featuring student publications from both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center. Student writers will be able to meet with editors of The Observer, the paper, MODE Magazine, Bricolage, and Ampersand to learn about potential student contributor opportunities.

Both events will take place in Lincoln Center's 12th Floor Lounge from 7:00 to 8:30.

Don't miss an evening of celebrating student writing!

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Fordham English Welcomes Writer at Risk, Kanchana Ugbabe

 Kanchana Ugbabe

Kanchana Ugbabe

This fall, Fordham's English Department welcomes its first Writer at Risk in Residence, Kanchana Ugbabe of Nigeria. This one-year pilot position, in partnership with PEN America, Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), and Westbeth Artists Housing, was made possible by the efforts of the department's Creative Writing program.

With a doctorate in literature from Flinders University of South Australia and a BA and MA from India’s University of Madras, Ugbabe serves as a professor of English and African literature at the Nigeria’s University of Jos. An accomplished writer whose stories have been read over the air on the BBC World Service, Ugbabe is the author of a collection of short stories, Soulmates, published by Penguin in 2011, and participated in the Iowa International Writing Program. Additionally, Ugbabe has also edited two collections of essays on the writings of Nigerian novelist Chukwuemeka Ike, has been published in various international journals, and contributed three chapters to the Dictionary of Literary Biography on African writers. 

In the past ten years, parts of Ugbabe’s home city of Jos, Nigeria have become increasingly dangerous due to the current political crisis involving ‘indigene’ rights and political representation. Since late 2001, 3,800 individuals have been killed in the city. Today, temporary peace is enforced by imposing military and law enforcement presences. Jos has become a city of ethnic and religious fragmentation and conflict since the outbreak of this fragile political state.

  Soulmates,  Ugbabe's collection of short stories published by Penguin in 2011

Soulmates, Ugbabe's collection of short stories published by Penguin in 2011

These uncertain surroundings in Jos became a threat to Ugbabe’s safety as a writer and a South Asian woman. One of Ugbabe’s fellow university professors was kidnapped and never found in 2007; church members throughout the city have fallen victim to violence; Ugbabe’s neighbor’s home was set on fire; and Ugbabe’s colleague’s daughter was killed in a bomb explosion. Ugbabe’s community is constantly shaken by horrific incidents like these.

Ugbabe moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts with an invitation from Harvard University to serve as a Visiting Scholar with the Women and Gender Studies program to pursue her work in a safe and peaceful environment. At Harvard, Ugbabe was able to not only seek refuge from the violence of her home city, but also broaden her perspective on the risks faced by writers in conflict zones throughout Nigeria. Upon the end of her fellowship at Harvard, the English department offered Ugbabe the Writer at Risk pilot position at Fordham.

Here at Fordham, Ugbabe will be able to write and teach in a safe and welcoming academic community. Since her mid-October arrival, Ugbabe has been visiting English classes, as well as various classes in other departments such as “Women and Independence in Africa,” taught by Fawzia Mustafa, professor of African and African-American studies and English. This upcoming spring, Ugbabe will teach a writer’s workshop titled, "Creating Dangerously: Writing from Contact Zones.” In this workshop, students will be encouraged to think and write about injustice and oppression, and examine the dynamics of writing under constraint by looking at the work of Edwidge Danticat, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, Ken Saro-Wiva, Jorge Olivera, and others.

Kanchana Ugbabe will read from her work at the English department’s annual Golden Gloves creative writing awards ceremony on December 4th. The Fordham Department of English welcomes Ugbabe with warmth and excitement for the urgent and valuable perspective she brings as a new member of the Fordham community.

Creative Writing Concentrators Gather for Retreat

    On Saturday, October 28th, Fordham’s Creative Writing concentrators gathered in Dealy Hall for a daylong retreat led by Professor and Creative Writing Director Sarah Gambito, Professor Stacey D’Erasmo, and Professor Elizabeth Stone. 


    After breakfast, students opened their day with a salon. From bits of creative nonfiction, to excerpts from personal essays, to short poems, to rhythmic rap, each concentrator shared their voice and made themselves vulnerable to their fellow concentrators—the perfect preface to a day of creative camaraderie and expression.

 Concentrators enter the New York Botanical Garden for some creative writing fieldwork.

Concentrators enter the New York Botanical Garden for some creative writing fieldwork.

    Before breaking for lunch and breakout sessions, the concentrators ventured across the street to the New York Botanical Garden for a creative writing scavenger hunt. Students were given spots in the garden to locate, and then instructed to relocate a poignant memory to their assigned garden locale. Students wrote sat upon hill tops, tucked away in the herb garden, and perched in the rock garden for just over an hour before returning to Dealy for the afternoon’s “Emerging Writer Spotlight” speaker, poet and drag performer Wo Chan.

 Nadine Santoro, FCRH '18, takes time to reflect and write in the New York Botanical Garden.

Nadine Santoro, FCRH '18, takes time to reflect and write in the New York Botanical Garden.

    Wo Chan, who holds honors from Kundiman, the Asian American Writers Workshop, Lambda Literary, and Millay Colony of the Arts, is both the author of the chaplet ORDER THE WORLD, MOM and a standing member of the Brooklyn-based drag and burlesque alliance Switch n’ Play. Currently a 2017 NYFA Fellow in Poetry and an MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU, Chan was able to share incredible insight with the concentrators.


    Chan shared their poetry, explored their personal relationship with poetry and drag performance in collaboration with one another, and spoke on the importance of building a community. “Surround yourself with people who will build you up,” Chan advised. Most importantly, however, Chan expressed the importance of supporting other creators. “Just show up. Show up and be there for people, and they will show up for you.” In a room of students with similar creative passions, Chan’s advice felt extremely relevant. Chan concluded their address by answering questions from the students, covering everything from how to sustain a emotionally and financially fulfilling artistic life and how to know when  to pursue an MFA. 

 Students learn about life as a poet from Wo Chan, 2017 NYFA Fellow in Poetry and MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU.

Students learn about life as a poet from Wo Chan, 2017 NYFA Fellow in Poetry and MFA candidate in Poetry at NYU.

    The retreat concluded with “Real Talk: Professional Toolbox,” an address from Creative Writing Director Sarah Gambito, Professor Stacey D’Erasmo, and Professor Elizabeth Stone on living and writing in the professional world. Students and professors discussed the ins and outs of publishing and the post-grad life of the Fordham Creative Writing Concentrator. With dinner and a second salon, the 2017 Creative Writing Concentration Retreat ended with an experience of creative intimacy similar to with which it began—with students gathered round a meal sharing stories and listening to one another’s stories. 

November: National Novel Writing Month

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November is National Novel Writing Month! That means it's the perfect time to write, and enter your work into competitions that might get you noticed by an literary agent or editor. One of the easiest ways to get noticed is submitting some of your writing to seasonal twitter pitch contests. Entering these contests is a great way to network with agents, editors, and other writers in your genre.

If you've never entered a twitter pitch contest before, it's an event (usually lasting around 12 hours) where you are invited to pitch your manuscript right on Twitter using a specific hashtag. Agents are well aware of these contests, and follow them eagerly. If they like a pitch, they will favorite it, and that is your invitation to send them a query.

#PitMad is the most well-known and popular of these (and it happens four times a year).  To enter, you must pitch your book using a total of 140 characters including the hashtag “#PitMad” and one or more category/genre tags such as:

  • #PB = Picture Book
  • #CB = Chapter Book
  • #ER = Early Reader
  • #MG = Middle Grade
  • #YA = Young Adult
  • #NA = New Adult
  • #A = Adult
  • #SFF = Science Fiction / Fantasy
  • #UF = Urban Fantasy
  • #CF = Contemporary Fantasy
  • #HistFic/#HistFan = Historical Fiction / Historical Fantasy
  • #R = Romance
  • #Myst = Mystery
  • #WF = Women’s Fiction
  • #NF = Non-fiction
  • #Mem = Memoir
  • #LF = Literary Fiction

Here two upcoming pitch contests that are great to keep in mind while writing in November. 

2017:

December 7: #PitMad
Twitter Pitch Party. 8am to 8pm EST; only 3 tweets allowed per project.
Details: http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad/

2018

January 18: Insecure Writer’s Group — #ISWGPit
Twitter Pitch Party. 8am to 8pm EST; 1 tweet allowed per hour.
Details: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-twitter-pitch.html

Apply: Advanced Fiction Class, Arc of the Novel

The Creative Writing Program welcomes applications to the Spring 2018 Advanced Fiction course Arc of the Novel.

ENGL 4702 - Fiction Writing 3: Arc of the Novel
Instructor: Stacey D'Erasmo
Rose Hill Campus, TF: 1 - 2:15 p.m.
Advanced Fiction Workshop, Prerequisite: Writing sample application.
Robert Olen Butler says that what is essential to any work of narrative art is a “character who yearns.” If this is the impulse that sets most novels in motion—for instance, we could describe Fitzgerald's Gatsby as a poor young man who tries to win the love of a rich girl—it is the threat to this desire and the protagonist's attempts to overcome it that generates a sense of urgency and drama. In this class we will pay particular attention to the composition of the novel from a writer's point of view. We will consider development of protagonists and minor characters; voice, perspective and form; beginnings, endings and formal wholeness; sustaining narrative arcs; compelling a reader's interest for the duration of the text, and various aspects necessary to create a compelling work. Students will have the opportunity to make significant progress on a novel already begun in workshops and in conferences with the instructor.

Access the Application
Due by November 8th

Apply Now: English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration

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The Creative Writing Program at Fordham University is accepting applications for the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration.

Premised on the belief that the study of literature and the practice of writing are mutually enforcing, the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration emphasizes the inter-relations among creative writing, digital media, criticism, and scholarship. As a concentration with a dual focus on literature and creative work, fully integrated within the English department, this degree offering combines literature courses, small writing workshops, and practical industry training to prepare students for advanced study or careers in writing, media, and publishing. In addition, students benefit from the resources provided by New York City, a worldwide center for literary publishing.

To learn more about the application process, course requirements, and program please visit bit.ly/cwmajor.

Applications are due Wednesday, November 1st.