Hollins University has long earned its place on the literary map, producing dozens of writers of national and international acclaim, including Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Dillard, Henry Taylor, and Natasha Trethewey; bestselling authors Lee Smith, Jill McCorkle, and Beth Macy; Kiran Desai, winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award; Madison Smartt Bell, recipient of a Strauss Living Award for literary excellence from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Will Schutt, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition.
Now, Hollins’ Jackson Center for Creative Writing, which offers both a concentration and a minor in creative writing in addition to a Master of Fine Arts degree in the field, is introducing an undergraduate major in creative writing, beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.
“ ‘Where students mature into authors’ is one of the Jackson Center’s guiding principles and is even more relevant with the advent of this new opportunity for undergraduates,” said Cathryn Hankla, professor of English and creative writing and chair of the English and creative writing department at Hollins.
“At Hollins, we strive to create an environment in which each undergraduate and graduate creative writing student develops a way of seeing and saying that is distinctively their own,” added Patricia Hammer, vice president for academic affairs. “The new creative writing major strengthens this commitment. It ensures that we will continue to successfully foster new generations of authors in growing their craft.”
Hankla explained that the new major in creative writing will emphasize a multi-genre approach in its core curriculum. “The major will provide students with a working knowledge of three genres, along with ample opportunity for focused exploration through individual projects and classes in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or cross-genre writing and literatures,” she said, noting that the major will be intertwined with the study of literature, “which the department views as essential.”
The new major features allied study in dance, visual art, film, music, or theatre, and will immerse students in a diversity of writers, writing theories, and literary experiences on campus. The major will be closely tied to the Jackson Center’s other distinctive offerings, including the Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-in-Residence program, the Lex Allen Literary Festival, and the visiting writers series.
“The creative writing major will offer students a systematic study of the field with an outstanding faculty of published authors,” Hankla stated. “I don’t know of any liberal arts college with as many authors of multiple books who are permanent faculty.
“I’m excited that Hollins, with its amazing publishing legacy of graduates and faculty, will add this to its curriculum.”
The Jackson Center endows substantive scholarships for undergraduate students. New students may choose to submit their work for Creative Talent Awards.
Home to Hollins’ undergraduate and graduate writing programs, the Jackson Center for Creative Writing was initiated in 2008 through a $5 million gift from Susan Gager Jackson ’68 and her husband, John Jackson. It maintains Hollins’ long-standing reputation among the top creative writing programs in the nation.