Statements from some of our graduates
"While the writing workshops with my peers were invaluable, the opportunity to read and respond to already established writers from various traditions also helped shape me. In the program, I was exposed to many writers whom I had never previously read and whom I still return to. Having the opportunity to respond to them in my own creative work pushed my writing in new directions."
Yusuf Saadi, Creative Writing graduate, 2013.
Yusuf's writing has appeared in The Malahat Review, Grain, Prairie Fire, PRISM international, and Vallum.
"The mix of lectures and workshops allowed me to learn the technical skills behind creating well-written stories and poems while providing a supportive environment to experiment and grow creatively. Through intensive reading and discussion of other writers’ works, I was able to see first-hand how the techniques we were learning could be put into action. Although there were certain writing styles we focused on throughout the course, I always felt encouraged to find my own voice as a writer. The professors fostered an environment of community rather than competition during the workshops while still allowing us to present constructive criticism to our fellow students. The workshops taught me to read my own work more objectively as well as provided a sounding board when trying out new techniques and ideas."
Jane Oczkowski, Creative Writing graduate, 2011.
Jane's first book is Watching Traffic, from Groundwood Books.
She won the House of Anansi's Broken Social Scene Story Contest in 2013.
"Feeling part of a community of writers was a really special part of my experience in the program. I formed my first writing group (the Barracudas) with friends I met in my classes and continue to rely on some of them for insight and feedback on my work today.
At York my peers and I were offered strategies to respond to each other’s poetry and prose and provide relevant feedback. We continue to use these skills today as colleagues.
My education at York helped me foster my writing practice in a serious way, and as a result I’ve been able to continue to produce creative work while splitting my focus to complete related projects which offer a bit more financial stability (editing, writing copy, producing text and sound based journalism, facilitating and teaching creative writing and media workshops in classroom and community settings). At York I acquired foundational storytelling skills that have helped me perform in those roles."
Sarah Feldbloom, Creative Writing graduate, 2009
Sarah completed a Bachelor of Education at Queens and is currently in an MFA program at Guelph, writing fiction.
"York's Creative Writing program enriched my understanding and appreciation of literature. In doing so, it enabled me to grow as both a reader and a writer. I believe the degree I received from York has helped me become a great English teacher and excel in graduate studies. Studying creative writing enabled me to learn how to approach literature through the perspective of the writer, something that isn't explored in most English classes where various literary theories and external perspectives are placed on texts. Studying both subjects has allowed me to better understand literature and teach others about it. The large amount of reading and analysis that both programs call for have provided me with skills and abilities that have enabled me to achieve success in graduate studies."
Ekraz Singh, B.A Creative Writing and English, 2013
Ekraz also holds B.Ed. and is studying toward an M.Ed, working towards a teaching career, while publishing her own online magazine @ sewerlid.com
"York’s Creative Writing program gifted me the real struggle of tunneling into the writer I often dreamed, but seldom believed, to be me. I’m claiming a writing life from my fractured, chaotic past having been gently pushed by my York CW mentor-professors off the stubborn sands of doubt into a world of immense possibility. I’ve worked as a non-profit administrator for the past 5 years and the deep and creative thinking I was able to cultivate in the intimate creative writing sessions continue to influence how I make decisions and the degree of empathy I bring to the work. I now teach in the English Department at Humber College and model my classes on the profound experiences I had in the Creative Writing program at York. I have found that the practice-based approaches I borrow from my York professors are most effective for students of various skill levels. I strive to do, for each of my students what my Creative Writing professors at York did for me: they set me on one of the most rewarding and inspiring journeys of my life."
Canisia Lubrin, B.A. Creative Writing, 2011
Canisia also holds an M.F.A. At York, she won the President’s Prize for Poetry (ii) Sylvia Ellen Hearch Memorial Award. Her first poetry collection is Voodoo Hypothesis.
"The Creative Writing program offered me a way of seeing and thinking about writing that went beyond just close reading and analyzing other works. The emphasis on literary writing allowed me to look closely at the things happening around me, to empathize, to make an attempt at relating to people and situations that were completely foreign to me. The in-class critiques were invaluable and every piece of criticism from both professors and peers always helped the writing improve. The small classes offered me a chance to make strong connections with other aspiring writers and it inspired confidence, as I never felt ashamed or nervous about sharing a piece of my writing."
Daniel Gennara, B.F.A. Creative Writing and Screenwriting, 2016
Daniel is now studying a Masters of Fine Arts in Screenwriting at York.
"I think most of all the Creative Writing program offered a small community in a big university. While the students in my English and humanities classes were many and varied (I maintained connections with very few of them after graduating), the CW students at my year level were a small group of unique students I had a lot in common with, and who I had a chance to get to know well (not just personally but artistically and professionally) by graduation."
John Nyman, B.A. Creative Writing and English, 2012
John now also holds a Masters degree in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory at McMaster, and is currently working on a PhD in Theory and Criticism at Western. In 2016 he published his first book of poems, Players.