Would you like to join a supportive and committed community of young writers who are turning their passion for writing into viable careers?
The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative & Professional Writing at Converse is one of only 30 undergraduate programs of its kind in the country, preparing students with marketable skills for both business and literary writing careers.
- BFA in Creative and Professional Writing
- BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
- MFA in Creative Writing – Tracks in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Environmental and YA Writing
About Creative & Professional Writing
The Converse College Undergraduate Creative Writing Program, led by professional writers, provides serious, aspiring writers an intensive and challenging apprenticeship in creative and professional writing enriched by the study of literature. Students in the BFA and BA programs master the techniques of good writing and thorough reading while preparing for careers as creative writers, journalists, editors, publishers, and public relations specialists. Throughout your undergraduate career, visiting writers and permanent writing faculty conduct workshops and seminars in all aspects of creative and professional writing in a program that is highly individualized and designed to maximize your potential.
From the minute you join the Creative & Professional Writing program at Converse, you’ll start prepping for a mission: to plan and implement your own independent creative project called a BFA Thesis. This culminating expression of your student work will help you articulate who you are as a writer as well as serving as a portfolio, manuscript, and possibly even graduate school writing sample. But you won’t be doing this alone. Faculty who are themselves professional writers, fellow student writers, and esteemed visiting writers will all help you maximize your potential through workshops, seminars, mentoring and networking, all in a highly individualized and supportive environment.
More reasons to choose Converse:
- Be part of an award-winning tradition. Low student-faculty ratio of 12-1, often 8-1 in upper-division classes, means your work will always get quality attention and constructive feedback
- You’ll have the opportunity to share your work with visiting professional writers including winners of the National Book Critics Circle award, the National Book Award, state and national Poet Laureates, and Guggenheim Fellows.
- Many of our students publish in national and regional journals and magazines while still completing the undergraduate program.
- Select students are sent to the AWP (Associations of Writers and Writing Programs) conference for real-world professional networking – an experience that most undergraduate writers can only dream about!
- According to the US Department of Labor, employment for writers and editors is expected to increase by 3% over the next seven years. Converse’s BFA in Creative and Professional Writing, the only degree of its kind in South Carolina and one of only 30 in the country, can prepare you for a variety of writing and editing careers.
- Employers in virtually every industry cite “strong written communications skills” as “essential” – especially in higher-tier and management positions. So whether your dream is to be an author, a journalist, or CEO of a Fortune 500 company…studying writing can help get you there.
Converse has a long history of developing award-winning writers and scholars. Current students and recent grads have earned such awards as:
- The Hub City Prize for Creative Non-Fiction, Fiction, and Poetry
- Recipient of a Fulbright scholarship
- The award for the best student paper and best student presentation in the Humanities at the Upstate Research Symposium
- The prestigious AWP Intro Award from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs
- Finalist for the Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize
Our faculty has received the following teaching awards:
- O’Herron Award for Faculty Excellence
- Kathryn Amelia Brown Teaching Award
- Curriculum Innovation Award
- The South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award
As a writing major, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable editorial and publishing experience with the student-edited literary magazine, Concept, as well as the student-run online newspaper The Conversationalist. In addition to Concept and the Conversationalist, Converse students have recently published their work in local, regional and national publications such as:
- Quarterly West
- Southern Poetry Review
- Colorado Review (winner of the AWP Intro Award)
- The New Orleans Review
- The Indy 500 Program
- Local and regional newspapers
Converse provides students with incredible study-travel experiences. You can explore the ruins of Tintagel Castle in England, view Renaissance-era art and architecture in Tuscany, or explore the rich heritage of Modern Irish Literature in Dublin. The destinations vary from year to year, but the experience is always life-changing.
The Elizabeth Boatwright Coker Visiting Writer Series brings accomplished writers to campus each year. These nationally known writers give public readings and meet with writing and literature students both in class and outside of the classroom, such as casual student/writer lunches in Gee Dining Hall and other informal settings.
The biennial Sara Lura Mathews Self Writer-In-Residence program offers students the chance to experience an intensive, one-month mentoring relationship and class with a nationally recognized poet or fiction writer.
Few things enhance the value of a Converse education like the real-world experience gained during an internship. Converse Creative and Professional Writing majors have enjoyed highly desirable internships both nationally and locally, including:
- The White House Office of Communications
- Launch (a Spartanburg-based public relations firm)
- The Spartanburg Herald-Journal
- Girl Scouts of America
Converse leads the state in the number of student/faculty research proposals funded by the 20-member South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) consortium.
The BFA in Creative and Professional Writing degree provides serious writers with an intensive and challenging program in the writing arts, with a close study of literature. In writing workshops with other students, you will read and actively explore each other’s creative work under the guidance of professional writers on the faculty, and visiting professional writers.
Starting in your upper level classes you will begin to shape your best writing into a BFA thesis, a unique undergraduate manuscript which will help you define your voice as a writer and trace your influences. At the end of it all, you get to present your creative work to the world through a formal reading.
Thanks to the workshop-style classes, the professional relationships built with veterans of the writing craft, and the process of developing the BFA thesis, graduates of Converse’s program are better equipped than their peers to pursue a master’s degree in creative writing, communications or in other related programs. And thanks to the professional internship and networking opportunities, student publication editorial experience, and professional writing classes, students are equally-equipped to launch into a writing career straight out of college.
Course offerings are rich in variety with topics including:
- Spirit of Place: Writing the Travel Essay (study travel course in Italy)
- Writing the Lyric Short Story
- Craft of Poetry: Writing the Lyric Sequence
- Writing the Novel
- Environmental Writing and Criticism (study travel course in Costa Rica)
- Digital Journalism
Creative writing is at the heart of communication in a modern, literate web-savvy society. Not only do graduates go on to produce published works in fiction, theatre, cinema and poetry, others make valuable contributions in related fields such as editing, publishing, television script writing, journalism, law, radio and arts management.
What are common careers in Creative & Professional Writing?
- Magazine or news writer
- Public Relations
- Communications professional
What are Creative & Professional Writing alumni doing?
Over the last decade, Converse creative writing students have had a 100% acceptance rate into graduate MFA programs in creative writing. Converse has a long history of developing award-winning writers, including Julia Peterkin, the only South Carolina writer to win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and Ellen Bryant Voigt, 2015 recipient of the MacArthur Fellows “genius grant,” and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in poetry.
Following graduation, Converse Creative and Professional Writing students gain admittance to pursue advanced study at such institutions as:
- Yale University
- Brown University
- University of Pittsburgh
- Clemson University
- University of Georgia
- Florida State University
- University of Mississippi
- University of South Carolina
- Vermont College
- Fairleigh Dickinson
- Southern Illinois University
- University of North Carolina at Wilmington
- Queens University
Creative and Professional Writing graduates have taken their skills into the following fields:
- As a communications writer for a US Senator
- As Deputy Assistant Director in the White House Communications Office
- In the US National Archives
- As Web Content Managers
- Secondary Education
- Higher Education
- Staff Writers
Marketing and Sales
Notable Faculty and Alumni Publications
Julia Mood Peterkin
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Scarlet Sister Mary
Ellen Bryant Voigt
Award winning author of six collections of poetry including Kyrie:Poems
Elizabeth Boatwright Coker
NYT best-selling novelist and author of The Bees, Blood Red Roses, and La Belle
Becky Gould Gibson
Award-winning author of four books including Aphrodite’s Daughter
Professor Richard Mulkey
The author of five poetry collections, including 2014’s Ravenous: New & Selected Poems.
Professor Susan Tekulve
Winner of the 2014 Gold IPPY Award for best novel published in the South by an independent press