Creative Writing

Call for Applications: The English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration

The Creative Writing Program at Fordham University is accepting applications for the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration from October 1st - November 1st.

What it is:

Premised on the belief that the study of literature and the practice of writing are mutually reinforcing, the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration emphasizes the inter-relations among creative writing, digital media, criticism, and scholarship.

How it works:

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.

CURA Magazine Accepting Submissions

Photo Credit: Vanessa Agovida

Photo Credit: Vanessa Agovida

Fordham University's national literary magazine, CURA: A Literary Magaine of Art and Action is now accepting 2015 - 2016 submissions. Featuring creative writing, visual art, new media and video, our aim is to seem to integrate literary art publishing with social justice.

CURA contributors have won Rockefeller, Guggenheim, American Book, and National Endowment for the Arts awards. Past issues have featured work by Alice Fulton, Brenda Hillman, Evie Shockley and Patricia Smith and Rigoberto Gonzalez.

In 2015 - 2016 our magazine is dedicated to Black Lives Matter. We are resolved to gather voice, art and action toward the struggle for racial justice. Accordingly, work submitted for consideration should be in some way related to this theme.

We seek to promote a movement of creative response guided by meaningful action -- to celebrate active citizenship where a republic of writers, filmmakers, visual and digital artists converge. What Martín Espada has written about the social responsibility of the "Republic of Poetry" we believe applies to a Republic of all the Arts. It is "a place where creativity meets community, where the imagination serves humanity. [It] is a republic of justice because the practice of justice is the highest form of human expression."

Last Week to Apply: The English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration

The deadline is fast approaching! Send your application to the English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration by Sunday, November 1st.

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 fordhamenglish.com/cwmajor.

Dogeaters in the Diaspora: A Symposium

On Thursday, October 15, writers, academics, students, and fans gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jessica Hagedorn's groundbreaking Filipino American novel, Dogeaters. Fordham Law School's Bateman Room was standing room only for the writers' and artists' roundtable moderated by playwright, novelist, and MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Han Ong.

The passionate panelists included Mia Alvar, Gina Apostol, Nerissa Balce, Mia Katigbak, Walter Mosley, Ralph Peña, Allan Punzalan Isaac, Jeffrey Santa Ana, and the author herself, Jessica Hagedorn.

Nerissa Balce, an associate professor of Asian American studies at SUNY Stony Brook, opened the roundtable discussion with a reading from the last chapter of Dogeaters, "Kundiman." In her discussion on the prayer-turned-curse, Balce noted, "This novel captures the very complex relationships people have with the Philippines." She quoted a line from "Kundiman" to reinforce her point: "Manila I was born here, Manila I will die here, tantum ergo sacramentum."

Ong asked panelists to recount their first experience with Dogeaters

"At first I couldn't get through it," said Alan Punzalan Isaac, a chair of American Studies and associate professor of American Studies and English at Rutgers University. "But, then I realized I could read the book like poetry."

Mia Alvar, a fiction writer, also sought a piece of her identity the first time she picked up Dogeaters. "It's hard to overstate how absent my own face or the faces of my family were from the novels I was reading [as a young adult]." Assuming that Dogeaters would be a "warm and fuzzy book about [her] home country," Alvar admitted that she was "extremely unsettled and destabilized" by the experience of reading Dogeaters. "It was the first time I asked myself if books and art were around to make me feel comfortable." 

Mia Katigbak described her first encounter with the novel as "a kind of surge of memories I didn't know I had anymore." Ralph Peña, a playwright, compared his first reading of Dogeaters to having an interior designer completely redesign the home in which he grew up. It gave him the impression that he too could be an artist in the United States: "It was life affirming."

Balce hailed Dogeaters as the type of novel she had been waiting for in her study of Asian American culture, saying, "It was a book I could claim. Asian American literature doesn't always have to be about the American experience. Living through the trauma of being Filipino: that's what I want to read."

Praise for Dogeaters continued as Ong asked the panelists to locate the novel in conversations in literature.

Acclaimed American writer, Walter Mosley placed Dogeaters in the literary tradition of Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, and the works of Gabriel García Márquez.

"[Dogeaters] is not limited by culture, or by race, or by gender. You can understand it in China. You can understand it in Russia. You can understand it in Haight-Ashbury," said Mosley.

Isaac elaborated on the universality of Dogeaters, quoting a former student: "The brokenness of the novel makes sense if you know what it's like to be colonized." The panelists nodded in agreement. 

Unsurprisingly, one of the highlights of the event came when Hagedorn herself joined in on the conversation. As the panelists discussed the categorization of Dogeaters as "the book that gave Filipino Americans a mirror," Hagedorn admitted that she had always found it "bizarre" that people referred to it as a Filipino American novel.

When asked what she would call it instead, Hagedorn replied, "A global novel."

Fordham is grateful to the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University for their co-sponsorship of this event.

 

 

Apply Now: English Major with a Creative Writing Concentration

The Creative Writing Program at Fordham University is now 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 fordhamenglish.com/cwmajor.

Applications are due Sunday, November 1.

"The Long Game: Building Your Life as a Writer & Editor"

There are many ways to be a writer. You can write twenty articles a day for a website, your pay, if any, determined by the number of clicks they get. You can come home from an office job and chip away at a novel. You can sell poems to literary journals. You can advertise or publicize. You can help shape somebody else’s work into the best that it can be. No matter what you do, to succeed in the writing life, you have to work.

The unsteady, uncertain, and often turbulent realities of being a writer were the subject of, “The Long Game: Building Your Life as a Writer and Editor.” This panel discussion hosted by Fordham’s Creative Writing Department, included Amy Benson, Sarah Gambito, and Beata Santora, three accomplished women, each of whom represented a different field of writing: fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction, respectively. Despite their differences in style and craft, they opened the discussion with the same sobering admission: writing is work. “It’s a long life,” Benson said. “It requires resilience. To succeed, you have to cultivate the ability to work, even when the rewards aren’t obvious. Each day brings with it the bad, the less awful, the dull, and the triumphant." Gambito said. “Don’t wait for inspiration. Move to things that inspire you.” The authors agreed that, no matter your field, this Judith Gerwin quote aptly describes the writer’s life: “Every day, without hope, without despair.”

Since the audience was made up mostly of undergraduates, much of the discussion focused not only on craft, but on MFA programs and career potential. “It’s important to ask yourself,” Gambito said, “if an MFA is right for you.” Are you looking to accelerate your progress, hone your critical skills, or gain a community? Are you passionate about teaching? All of these are good reasons to get an MFA. If you’re looking to make connections and/or get a book deal, you’ll probably be disappointed. The speakers agreed that you shouldn’t go into debt for an MFA. “Find one that will pay you,” they said, citing the University of Michigan’s program as an example.

Santora provided a crash course on professionalism and the interview process. Employers expect two internships before you graduate. Keep your resume to one page. Go out of your way to research your field and ask intelligent questions. Have a working knowledge of Adobe suite. “Don’t list email as a skill,” Santora said. “It’s 2015. Email is a given.” Personal touches, like sending a handwritten thank you note to a potential employer, make a big difference. 

Self-awareness is essential to building a successful career. As Santora explained, there are many different fields out there for a writer / editor. It’s important to first know who you are and how you work. Are you a better fit for journalism or advertising? Full-time or freelance? Know yourself and that will help you know what’s right for you.

This emphasis on knowing yourself surfaced throughout the discussion, particularly when addressing the “thirst to be published.” One attendee asked if any of the speakers would recommend trying to get a book deal as an undergrad; they all answered, no. “Use this time to grow,” Gambito said. “A student asked me, ‘How can I write like Stephen King?’ You can’t. Stephen King already does that. You have to figure out how you write.”

When another student asked how to go about making connections, the speakers agreed that sincerity is important. “It’s a two-way street,” Benson explained. “A person will be turned off if they get the impression you’re trying to use them. If you approach someone you genuinely admire and tell them how much their work means to you, that sincerity will come across and they will remember you.”

The panel discussion provided a refreshing combination of warmth, practicality, and tough love. The speakers obviously love what they do, and want their students to succeed, though they made it clear that success is not for the easily discouraged or faint of heart. “Be aggressive,” Santora said. “Find somebody who does what you want to be doing, and ask how they did it. Fear is not an option.”