Located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Carleton’s Creative Writing Concentration offers students an inspiring selection of workshop-based courses in such genres as fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, and more.

Our Mission

To teach students to write creatively and effectively in a variety of contemporary literary modes that target current diverse reading audiences.

To train students to edit their own work and that of their peers, providing them with practical knowledge of how to produce, polish, and publish their creative writing.

To foster confidence in students, encouraging them to express themselves in accessible, meaningful ways and within any number of career paths.


We also offer a first-year “ENGL 1500: Introduction to Creative Writing” lecture/workshop course, available to students in any academic unit who want to express themselves creatively at an introductory level.

At the other end of the spectrum, students who are at the fourth-year level and have maintained the requisite GPA can work individually with a faculty member to complete a longer, self-guided manuscript in a chosen genre. It is amazing to see students progress from writing short prompts at the first or second-year level to completing a novella or collection of stories in just a few years of focused, experiential learning within the concentration.

Students who have completed the concentration or who have just taken one or two workshops have gone on to publish in chapbooks, anthologies, and in book form, and in numerous genres. Ultimately, students who take writing workshops hone their writing and communication skills, transferable to any course of study or career. They also develop a deep life-long appreciation for the art and craft of expression oneself through creative writing forms.

Learning Inside and Outside the Classroom

At Carleton, learning about creative writing happens both inside and outside the classroom. For example, the English Department actively fosters a relationship between our students and the rich literary community here in Ottawa, which includes the Ottawa International Writers Festival and Verse Fest, both of which offer free admission to Carleton students.  The writing professionals who lead our workshops are primarily facilitators, giving student the opportunity to share, discuss, and critique their writing and the writing of their peers in a collegial, supportive environment.  Students are often given the chance to attend and review live readings, theatre, or exhibits at the Carleton University Art Gallery as part of their development as writers.

Student-Focused Events

The Department of English also supports students of creative writing by inviting writers from Ottawa and elsewhere into the department to read from and discuss their works with students and faculty. This past academic year, we were honoured to have such acclaimed writers as Sandra Ridely, Rhonda Douglas, Doyali Islam and Billeh Nickerson read from their work and engage in conversation with our emerging student-writers.

Our department also hosts bi-annual showcases of student writers, providing an opportunity for students to read their work in front of a supportive audience of their peers, and we also organize competitions in both fiction and poetry adjudicated by acclaimed writers.