creative writing

Finding their way with words

By Deserae E. del Campo

Finding their way with words

By Deserae E. del Campo
Creative Writing Program helps aspiring authors shine

In her welcome message to prospective students interested in the Creative Writing Program, Director and Professor of English Chantel Acevedo touts the program’s multilingual curricula, its diverse faculty, and the intimate workshops that foster positive feedback and inclusivity for all students.

“The program truly exemplifies the diversity we have on the UM campus and within the greater community,” says Acevedo.

With an array of distinguished faculty members who specialize in genres ranging from poetry to essays, fiction, and nonfiction, the Creative Writing Program welcomes undergraduate and graduate students pursuing their authentic voices in the written word.

Expert guidance in the art of crafting poetry and prose is just one of the program’s attractions. Students also gain firsthand knowledge about the world of publishing by producing two digital biannual literary journals—Sinking City, run by the graduate students, and Mangrove, the undergrad publication. 

“The journals offer wonderful opportunities for students to tackle the editorial side of creative writing,” says Acevedo.

As it did with academic events and activities across campus, COVID-19 temporarily derailed some of the Creative Writing Program’s most cherished features.  Before the pandemic, students enjoyed opportunities to meet visiting poets and writers on the Coral Gables campus as part of the program’s Ibis Literary Reading Series. The program also hosts Beyond the Book, a career-oriented event series for students interesting in learning more about the publishing business.

“For our Beyond the Book events, we would invite publishing agents, editors, and even literary festival organizers to campus,” says Acevedo. “Though the pandemic threw a massive monkey wrench into the program, faculty have done their best to continue these activities on a virtual platform.”

Currently, the Creative Writing Program offers majors in poetry or fiction; in response to student requests, the program offers a Special Topics class open to all students. “Our faculty often write outside their primary genres,” she notes, “so why should we not offer robust options for students who may be drawn to, say, nonfiction or writing for children?

“Giving our students a chance to expand their voices across genres is what makes a dynamic and vital creative writing program. The talent is here.”