English and Creative Writing

B.A., Minor

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From Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Dillard and Natasha Trethewey to bestselling author Lee Smith and Man Booker Prize recipient Kiran Desai, Hollins has long earned its place on the literary map. A remarkable number of nationally and internationally acclaimed writers have found their voices here and used them to their full potential.

Each spring, we host a distinguished writer-in-residence who works with graduate and selected undergraduate students. Louis D. Rubin Jr. founded Hollins’ renowned creative writing program.

At Hollins, you’ll join a new generation of writers and scholars. You’ll develop a way of seeing and saying that is distinctively your own. Our multi-genre approach intertwines the writing of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction with the study of important texts from the medieval period to the present. At Hollins you’ll be immersed in a diversity of writers, writing theories, and literary experiences on campus, led by a faculty whose publishing success surpasses that of any other liberal arts college.

A rich legacy. A supportive and encouraging environment. Focused exploration. This is the foundation for how students mature into authors at Hollins.


Major in English and Creative Writing

Students are challenged to improve their control of language and prepared for graduate study in literature, creative writing, and related fields, or for entering a career in which their communication skills will be prized.

Minor in Creative Writing

Students study writing in a variety of genres to extend their creative skills and love of literature.

Minor in English

Students can choose from a variety of courses to develop their reading skills, effective communication, and appreciation for beautiful texts.

Louis D. Rubin Jr. Writer-In-Residence

Each spring, Hollins hosts a distinguished writer-in-residence who works with graduate and selected undergraduate students. Louis D. Rubin Jr., the nation’s best-known scholar and publisher of southern literature, founded Hollins’ renowned creative writing program.

Great Authors Go to Hollins

The Hollins creative writing M.F.A. program has one of the highest publishing records of any graduate school in the country. Among the many outstanding writers who have graduated from the creative writing program are:

Books by Hollins authors

Jackson Center for Creative Writing

The Jackson Center for Creative Writing is home to Hollins’ undergraduate and graduate writing programs, which have produced dozens of writers of national and international acclaim.

The Benefactors:

In 2008, Susan Gager Jackson ’68 and her husband, John Jackson, gave Hollins $5 million to found the center. Susan Jackson is the author of Through a Gate of Trees: Poems (2007) and the chapbook, All The Light In Between (2013).

Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest

Sponsored by Hollins University, the 59th Annual Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest provides scholarships, prizes, and recognition for the best poems submitted by young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school.

Rubin Writing Semester

Hollins offers a one-semester intensive program in creative writing and modern literature every spring for undergraduate students from other institutions. Rubin Writers join other student writers and a faculty of regularly publishing novelists, short story writers, poets, and scholars.

Sigma Tau Delta

International English honor society
Students who love words are always up to the challenge of discovering creative and unique ways to convey the human experience through the evolution of language. Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society, was established to honor the outstanding accomplishments of high-achieving students in English language, literature, and writing. Hollins proudly joins over 900 chapters in celebrating the excellence and fostering of literacy.

"I love the creative writing department at Hollins because of how supportive the professors are. They make themselves very accessible to students, and I have met with almost all of them to talk about my future writing career. They have given me so much helpful advice and have sent so many great opportunities my way to share my work on and off campus. I am extremely grateful to them.”

Elani Spencer

"I chose Hollins because of the English department. From the time I arrived on campus, the faculty and my peers have offered feedback and support for my writing. Every professor motivates their students to learn and succeed inside and outside of the classroom. It prepared me to write my thesis as well as think about what I wanted to do with my future. It is what makes our English and creative writing department so special."

Tori Carter '21

"As a student of both creative writing and environmental science, melding these two interests was seamless as the professors in the creative writing department treat writing as an interdisciplinary major. They teach their students that being a writer is more than learning how to write, but more-so how to pay attention to the world around you."

Isabel Houck

"I came to Hollins knowing I wanted to be an English major, and after arriving, I never had any doubts. The professors helped me to improve my writing exponentially from my very first semester to my culminating thesis project. The help wasn’t just contained to the classroom; the advice of countless professors helped me realize how to best use my time at Hollins to fit my future goals. The learning I experienced at Hollins is unlike the education I’ve had anywhere else."

Caylin Wigger

"I was coming from the international baccalaureate program at my high school where I primarily did academic and research writing. In Professor Sharp’s class, I was able to write creatively for the first time in a few years. Her class unlocked a whole new world that I had kind of shut off."

Becca Mullins
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