The Creative Writing Department was established in 1990 to support the growing need at Douglas Anderson for more outlets for written expression. Its mission was to advance the art of writing as an essential part of the artistic spirit. Today the program provides a disciplined and nurturing environment for the serious writer who is passionate about language and ideas. The curriculum includes a wide range of course offerings: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, journalism, screenwriting, portfolio work, as well as skill-based courses in digital arts, publication, copy editing, speech, and oral interpretation. Classroom work includes theory, close reading and study of contemporary and classical literature, conferencing, mentoring, and workshops in small groups that focus on revision, self-evaluation, and individual improvement.
Writing students have many opportunities during the year to have their work read and heard. The department sponsors Elan, an international student literary magazine published twice a year online with a print book compilation at the end of the school year. The Artisan, Douglas Anderson’s student newspaper, offers staff positions to creative writers in their junior and senior years. Public Readings are held throughout the year, each featuring a different grade level. Coffeehouse, a student-produced evening of original performance work, is open to all arts areas, and combines writing with theatre, dance, visual art, and music. The Elan magazine staff hosts a series of events in celebration of National Poetry Month each April.
The biennial Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival features writers from all over the country during a weekend of varied writing activities. Writers of national and international acclaim are invited to present. The mission of the Douglas Anderson Writers’ Festival is to provide hands-on, craft oriented workshops with professional writers and scholars, furnishing an invaluable and affordable opportunity for the emerging young writers of our community. The overarching purpose of the project is to provide exposure to the diversity of writing in the literary professional world and also to provide students with time, space and encouragement to contemplate and practice the art of creative writing. Featured presenters have included Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Billy Collins and Richard Ford.
Our students get incredible opportunities normally only afforded to graduate students in writing. The department has grown to produce many talented young writers who have gone on to win awards, to teach, and to publish. DA students have won the National VOYA Award in poetry, the YoungArts National Arts Recognition and Talent Search, Scholastic Art and Literary Awards, Southern Voices, Boditch Award in Poetry, Essay and Fiction, and numerous local awards in writing. Our students have been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Our students graduate with a full knowledge base and the inspiration and encouragement necessary to enter post-secondary education with energy, passion, and reverence for the written word.