Skip to main content
The Knox College Program in Creative Writing celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017.

Creative Writing

Department Chair

Chad Simpson

Associate Professor & Chair of English

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



Apply to Knox Now
Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Major, Minor

How we work

1. We treat writing as an exercise in living. Our writers spend plenty of time writing -- but they also run reading series, work as reporters for the student newspaper or DJs at the campus radio station, study off-campus, start service projects, do internships. We each try to lead a writer's life -- but mostly we try to live as fully as possible.

2. Our students and faculty regularly win major awards. (Example: Our students have won the Nick Adams Short Story Contest more than students from any other competing college.) Our alumni regularly go on to the nation's top MFA and Ph.D. programs -- and then they win other awards, or edit national journals, or publish books. Or they work in journalism, advertising, law, education -- any field that demands clear, forceful expression and creative thinking, which is nearly every field.

3. We publish an expanding list of print and online journals, including Catch, the oldest continuously published student literary journal in the country (and one of the most renowned; in 2014 it won the National Program Directors' Prize from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs).

4. We write with a sense of urgency. We devour language. We fine-tune and start fires with it. We think good writing can change lives, or save the world, or at least offer proof that you are not alone on this planet. 

5. We try to be creative human beings, with and without language. Together, we cook meals, bring art into the community and the community into our art. We believe in spontaneity and collaboration.

6. We're good at being humble, but we'll go ahead and admit that we think we're one of the most active, accomplished undergraduate writing programs in the country. (By coincidence, Poets & Writers magazine agrees.)  

Supporting Our Work

The strength of the creative writing program at Knox begins with our faculty -- gifted authors, poets, and scholars. Many have received major national and international awards, from the Rainer Maria Rilke International Poetry Prize and the Marshall Frankel American Fiction Prize to the Scotsman Orange Short Story Award.

These professors love to share their knowledge and bring out the best in each of our students, whether it's in the classroom, during writing workshops, or chatting over a cup of coffee.

They also work closely with students through Caxton Club -- a student-run literary organization -- to bring high-profile poets, novelists, and essayists to campus for readings and discussions.  A few to visit Knox recently include:

  • Aleksandar Hemon, MacArthur Genius, author of "The Making of Zombie Wars" and "The Lazarus Project."
  • Rita DovePulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist and former U.S. Poet Laureate.
  • Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist, "Lila" and "Gilead." Read Robinson's interview with President Barack Obama from 2015. 
  • Osama Alomar, Arabic poet.
  • Ross Gay, poet and editor, "Against Which" and "Bringing the Shovel Down."
  • Beth Charlebois, scholar of Shakespeare and performance. 
  • Jaspreet Singh, novelist, essayist, short story writer and a former research scientist.
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, film critic, "Form factor: A non-boring look at the ‘how' and ‘why' of film style."
  • Tisha Turk, Director of Academic Support for Writing and Speaking at Grinnell College, "Fan Videos, Fandom, & Digital Literacy: a discussion on multimedia in the Liberal Arts."
  • Gretchen Henderson, scholar of English and art history, writer, "Poetics of Embodiment: (dis)Ability, Creativity, and the Shape of Space." 
  • Reeve Parker, scholar of English Romantic poetry and drama
  • Wendy Hyman, Renaissance scholar, "What Early Modern Scientists Learned from Poets."
  • Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and cultural critic.
  • Annette Wannamaker, scholar of children's literature.
  • Valerie Traub, a leading Shakespearean critic and author of Feminist Readings of Early Modern Culture.

Our students also delve into the works of noted authors, poets, and scholars in Seymour Library's special collections, which include such notable holdings as the Hughes Collection of Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation -- first editions, letters and rare periodical publications of Hemingway, Cummings, Passos, Eliot, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Pound and Stein. Large videotape and audiotape collections on American and international writers, Shakespeare's plays, and feature films are all available as well.

Works of Galesburg native Carl Sandburg and Edgar Lee Masters, a Knox alumnus, are also among the extensive holdings of Seymour Library -- which houses more than 300,000 volumes and 700 periodicals.

Read Related News

Old Main
Apply for Admission Request More Info Visit Knox
Knox College

Printed on Monday, September 23, 2019