English majors may take specified courses to complete a Creative Writing Emphasis, a special track that provides a strong background in both literature and creative writing skills.

Los Angeles is an ideal location for students interested in creative writing. It offers a wide array of readings, workshops and exhibitions, allowing students to experience the full diversity of literary voices that characterizes poetry and fiction in the United States today.

Each spring, the English department sponsors an Annual Literary Contest to which students may submit their poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. The winners receive substantial cash prizes.

The Argonaut Summer Research Fellowship is awarded each year to a student in creative writing, who will work closely with the English department’s Writer-in-Residence on a creative writing project of their own design, with the support of Oxy's Summer Research Program.

The English department is home also home to The Oz, Occidental’s art and literary magazine. The Oz welcomes submissions from the student body as a whole.

A designated fund allows the English department to bring noted writers to campus for both public readings and smaller meetings with creative writing students. Recent visitors include novelists Rachel Kushner, Angela Flournoy and Anouar Benmalek, and acclaimed poets Solmaz Sharif and Joshua Bennett. 

Many of these activities are supervised by our Writers-in-Residence, a position occupied in the past by novelists Danzy Senna and Zinzi Clemmons. Poet and Novelist Chekwube Danladi is our current Writer-in-Residence.

For more information on the coursework required to complete the emphasis, please consult the Courses & Requirements page or contact the department chair.

The Oz

The Oz is Occidental College’s student-run literary magazine, publishing fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and visual art. It is supported by the English department and ASOC.

Contact English
Swan Hall 233