Guidelines for Applying to the Creative Writing Program

Students interested in concentrating their Literature studies in Creative Writing at UNC Asheville are required  to first take LANG 260, Introduction to Creative Writing, in the second semester of their freshman year or in the first semester of their sophomore year. This class offers students an opportunity to explore creative writing as it is taught and practiced at the university level. In LANG 260, students work in several genres. They practice drafting and revision,they learn how to critique each other’s work-in-progress, and they read the work of published writers from a writer’s point of view. If students find that this approach to the discipline and study of creative writing appeals to them, they should continue by taking a 300-level genre-specific workshop.


Acceptance into the creative writing program is a requirement for students wishing to take 400-level workshops. Students wishing to declare a concentration in creative writing should submit their applications to the program during the semester in which they are enrolled in their first 300-level workshop.

Applications for Fall 2015 are due Friday, October 16. 

Applications for Spring 2016 are due by the Friday after spring break. 

Lang 260 is required for all students pursuing the concentration in creative writing or the creative writing minor.

To check for other changes in the requirements for the concentration please consult the chair of the Literature department, the program director, or your advisor.

The application consists of the following:

  1. A completed application form.
  2. A short narrative providing insight into reasons for pursuing the creative writing concentration. (More detailed information is provided on the application form).
  3. A short manuscript (no more than ten pages) of original work. (Poetry may be single-spaced, no more than one poem on a page. Prose should be double-spaced. Plays or excerpts from plays will also be considered.

      Creative Writing Application form 

Autumn LeavesApplications will be accepted twice a year, just after fall and spring breaks. A small committee of creative writing faculty will review the applications and notify students within two weeks whether they have been admitted to the concentration.

Students who are not admitted may reapply the following semester. Students’ application materials will be kept on file. These materials will be provided to the instructor of the section of LANG 497 in which the student enrolls.

Students who are seriously interested in creative writing but do not wish to pursue the concentration may ask individual instructors to grant them permission, based on the quality of their work, to enroll in a 400-level workshop.

Students with questions about the application procedure or program may ask their creative writing instructors or the director of the creative writing program.

Recommended Reading for Creative Writing Majors

This is not, by any means, a comprehensive list, but one that covers a wide range of genres, styles, and approaches to writing craft. Some of these books will be familiar to you, others will be wholly new; all have something to offer serious young writers eager to place themselves within a long and glorious literary tradition.

       August WilsonJhumpa LahiriAnnie DillardToni MorrisonCornelius EadyDylan Thomas

Books on Craft

The Craft of Poetry

Fussell, Paul: Poetic Meter, Poetic Form
Gudding, Gabriel “Dung in an Age of Empire: An Defense of A Defense of Poetry”; online essay
Hirsch, Edward: How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry
Hirschfield, Jane: Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry
Howe, Susan: The Birth-mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History, My Emily Dickinson
Koch, Kenneth: Making Your Own Days: The Pleasures of Reading and Writing Poetry
Longenbach, James: The Resistance to Poetry
Oliver, Mary: Rules for the Dance
Pound, Ezra: The ABC of Reading
Padgett, Ron, ed.: Handbook of Poetic Forms
Shapiro, Alan: The Last Happy Occasion
Shelley, Percy B.: In Defense of Poetry
Rich, Adrienne: What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics
Zukofsky, Louis: A Test of Poetry


Ezra PoundMary OliverAdrienne RichGabriel Gudding 2Louis Zukofsky

Prose Craft

Baxter, Charles. Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction
Bernays, Anne. and Pamela Painter. What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.
Burroway: Writing Fiction
Dillard, Annie: The Writing Life
Gardner, John: The Art of Fiction, On Becoming a Novelist
Gerard, Philip: Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life
Heilbrun, Carolyn: Writing a Woman's Life
Hills, Rust: Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
Johnston, Bret Anthony: Naming the World
King, Stephen: On Writing
Kundera, Milan: The Art of the Novel
Lamott, Anne: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Lott, Brett: Before We Get Started: A Practical Memoir of a Writer’s Life
Mamet, David: Writing in Restaurants
O’Connor, Flannery: Mystery and Manners
Stern, Jerome: Making Shapely Fiction
Woolf, Virginia: A Room of One's Own
Yeats, W.B.: Essays and Introductions



Ashbery, John: Selected Poems (Penguin Poets)
Becker, Robin: The Horse Fair
Bernstein, Charles: My Way: Speeches and Poems
Bishop, Elizabeth: Poems, Prose and Letters (LOA edition)
Dickinson, Emily: The Poems of Emily Dickinson, (ed. by R. V. Franklin)
Eady, Cornelius: Brutal Imagination
Estrada, Álvaro: María Sabina: Her Life and Chants
Fulton, Alice: Cascade Experiment: Selected Poems
Gay, Ross: Against Which
Gilbert, Jack: The Great Fires, Refusing Heaven
Ginsberg, Allen: Howl
Gluck, Louise: The Wild Iris, The Seven Ages
Groff, David: The Theory of Devolution
Hacker, Marilyn: Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons
Hall, Donald: Without
Hoagland, Tony: What Narcissus Means to Me
Jabes, Edmond: From the Book to the Book: An Edmond Jabes Reader
Jordan, A. Van: Quantum Lyrics: Poems
Justice, Donald: Collected Poems
Kenyon, Jane: Otherwise
Koch, Kenneth: Selected Poems: American Poets Project
Komunyakaa, Yusef: Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems
Levertov, Denise: Selected Poems
Levine, Philip: New Selected Poems
Levis, Larry: The Selected Levis
Lorde, Audre: The Selected Poems of Audre Lorde
Matthews, Sebastian: We Generous
Matthews, William: Search Party: Selected Poems
Merwin, W.S.: Four Books of Poems: The Moving Target, The Lice, The Carrier of Ladders, Writings to an Unfinished Accompaniment
Nelson, Marilyn: The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems
Olds, Sharon: Strike Sparks: Selected Poems
Oliver, Mary: Thirst, Red Bird, or any collection
Parker, Alan Michael: Elephants and Butterflies
Pound, Ezra: The Cantos
Rich, Adrienne: The Dream of a Common Language
Roethke, Theodore: Any poetry collection
Rosal, Patrick: Uprock, Headspin, Scramble and Dive, My American Kundiman
Shelley, Percy B.: Poetical Works
Simic, Charles: Sixty Poems
Spahr, Juliana: Response
Spicer, Jack: The Collected Books of Jack Spicer
Stern, Gerald: This Time: New and Selected Poems
Stevens, Wallace: Collected Poems
Stewart, Susan: Columbarium
Thomas, Dylan: Collected Poems
Trethewey, Natasha: Bellocq’s Ophelia
Voigt, Ellen Bryant: Messenger: New and Selected Poems
Weiner, Hannah: Little Books, Indians
Whitman, Walt: Leaves of Grass, Poetry and Prose, Library of America College Edition
Williams, C.K.: Collected Poems
Wilner, Eleanor: Reversing the Spell
Winters, Anne: The Displaced of Capital
Wright, Charles: The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980 – 1990
Yeats, W.B. Yeats: Collected Poems


Plays, drama

Albee, Edward: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Goat: Or Who is Sylvia?
Durang, Christopher: Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, The Marriage of Bette and Boo
Fuller, Charles: A Soldier’s Play
Guare, John: Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves
Hansberry, Lorraine: A Raisin in the Sun
Hellman, Lillian: Little Foxes, The Children’s Hour
Henley, Beth: Crimes of the Heart
Howe, Tina: Coastal Disturbances, Painting Churches
Hwang, David Henry: M Butterfly
Inge, William: Picnic, Come Back, Little Sheba
Kushner, Tony: Angels in America
Mamet, David: American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross
McDonough, Martin: The Pillowman, The Beauty Queen of Leenane
McNally, Terrence: Master Class, Love! Valour! Compassion!
Miller, Arthur: The Crucible, Death of a Salesman
Norman, Marsha: ‘night, Mother
O'Neill, Eugene: Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Morning Becomes Electra
Parks, Suzan-Lori: Topdog/Underdog
Pinter, Harold: Betrayal, The Homecoming
Shange, Ntozake: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf
Shepard, Sam: True West, Buried Child
Stoppard, Tom: The Real Thing, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Travesties
Strindberg, August: Miss Julie
Vogel, Paula: How I Learned to Drive
Wasserstein, Wendy: Uncommon Women, The Heidi Chronicles
Williams, Tennessee: A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Summer and Smoke
Wilson, August: Fences, Ma Rainey’s Fat Bottom, The Piano Lesson
Wilson, Doug: I Am My Own Wife


Short Fiction

Anderson, Sherwood: Winesburg, Ohio
Barrett, Andrea: Servants of the Map
Barthelme, Donald: any of his short story collections
Bausch, Richard: The Stories of Richard Bausch
Bloom, Amy: Come to Me
Boyle, T.C.: T.C. Boyle Stories
Butler, Robert Olen: A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain
Buzatti, Dino: Restless Nights
Bynum, Sarah Shun-lien: Madeleine is Sleeping
Carver, Raymond: Cathedral, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
Colwin, Laurie: The Lone Pilgrim,
Diaz, Junot: Drown
Dinasen, Isak: Winter Tales
Gurganus, Alan: White People
Haslett, Adam: You Are Not A Stranger Here
Hempl, Amy: Reasons to Live
Hijuelos, Oscar: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
Jen, Gish: Who’s Irish?
Jin, Ha: The Bridegroom
Johnston, Bret Anthony: Corpus Christi
Joyce, James: The Dubliners
Lahiri, Jhumpa: Interpreter of Maladies
Link, Kelly: Magic for Beginners
Malamud, Bernard: The Magic Barrel
Millhauser, Steven: In the Penny Arcade
McPherson, James Alan: Elbow Room
Moore, Lorrie: Like Life, Birds of America, Self-Help
Munro, Alice: Runaway, or any of her short story collections
O’Brien, Tim: The Things They Carried
O’Connor, Flannery: A Good Man is Hard to Find, Everything that Rises Must Converge
Richter, Stacey: My Date with Satan
Saunders, George: Civil War Land in Bad Repair
Smiley, Jane: The Age of Grief
Trevor, William: After Rain
Welty, Eudora: A Curtain of Green, Collected Stories


Memoir, essays & other creative non-fiction

Allison, Dorothy: Bastard Out of Carolina
Baldwin, James: The Fire Next Time
Barthes, Roland: Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
Beard, Jo Ann: Boys of My Youth
Brown, Claude: Manchild in the Promised Land
Burroway, Janet: Writing Fiction
Capote, Truman: In Cold Blood
Daum, Megan: My Misspent Youth
Dericotte, Toi: The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
Didion, Joan: The White Album, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking
Dillard, Annie: The Writing Life, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Dinasen, Isak: Out of Africa
Eggers, Dave: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Fadiman, Anne: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Fraser, Joelle: Territory of Men
Grealy, Lucy: Autobiography of a Face
Guibert, Herve: Ghost Image
Lewis, C.S.: Surprised by Joy
Markham, Beryl: West with the Night
Nabokov, Vladimir: Speak, Memory
O'Connor, Flannery: The Habit of Being
Patchett, Ann: Truth and Beauty
Roethke, Theodore: Straw for the Fire
Sanders, Scott Russell: A Private History of Awe
Scalapino : Zither & Autobiography
Sedaris, David: Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked
Sontag, Susan: Against Interpretation, Illness as Metaphor
Thomas, Lewis: Lives of a Cell, The Medusa and the Snail
Thompson, Hunter S.: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream
Vowell, Sarah: Partly Cloudy Patriot
Walls, Jeannette: The Glass Castle
Williams, Terry Tempest: Refuge
Wolff, Tobias: This Boy’s Life
Woolf, Virginia: A Room of One’s Own
Wright, Richard: Black Boy
Yeats, W.B.: Autobiographies



Atwood, Margaret: The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin
Bechard, D.Y.: Vandal Love
Bloom, Amy: Away
Byatt, A.S.: Possession
Cain, James M.: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce
Cary, Joyce: The Horse’s Mouth
Chabon, Michael: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys
Chopin, Kate: The Awakening
Coetzee, J.M.: Disgrace, Waiting for the Barbarians
Colwin, Laurie: Happy All the Time
Crace, Jim: Being Dead
Cunningham, Michael: The Hours, A Home at the End of the World
Dalton, John: Heaven Lake
Danticat, Edwidge: The Farming of Bones
DeLillo, Don: Mao II, White Noise, Underworld
Diaz, Junot: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Doctorow, E.L.: Ragtime, The March
Early, Tony: Jim the Boy
Eugenides, Jeffrey: Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides
Faulks, Sebastian: Birdsong
Flagg, Fannie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Flaubert, Gustav: Madame Bovary
Gibbons, Kaye: Ellen Foster
Gordimer, Nadine: The House Gun, July’s People, The Conservationist, Get a Life
Gruen, Sarah: Water For Chocolate
Hagedorn, Jessica: The Dogeaters
Haruf, Kent: Plainsong
Hosseini, Khaled: The Kite Runner
Hulme, Keri: The Bone People
Hurston, Zora Neale: Their Eyes were Watching God
Jones, Edward P.: The Known World
Kundera, Milan: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unforgettable Lightness of Being
Kennedy, William: Ironweed (or any of the Albany Trilogy)
Kingsolver, Barbara: The Poisonwood Bible
Lahiri, Jhumpa: The Namesake
Livesey, Margot: Eva Moves the Furniture, Criminals, The House on Fortune Street
McCarthy, Cormac: The Road, Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men
McDermott, Alice: Charming Billy, That Night
McEwan, Ian: Atonement, The Child in Time, Enduring Love
Miller, Henry: Tropic of Cancer
Millhauser, Steven: Martin Dressler
Min, Katherine: Secondhand World
Mitchell, David: Cloud Atlas, Black Swan Green
Morrison, Toni: Beloved, Song of Solomon
Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita
Oates, Joyce Carol: Them
O'Brien, Flann: At-Swim-Two-Birds
Ondaatje, Michael: The English Patient
O’Neill, Joseph: Netherland
Patchett, Ann: Bel Canto, The Magician’s Assistant
Petersen, Per: Out Stealing Horses
Robinson, Marilyn: Housekeeping, Gilead
Russo, Richard: Empire Falls
Salter, James: A Sport and a Pastime
Saramago, Jose: Blindness
Saterstrom, Selah: The Pink Institution
Schutt, Christine: Florida
Sebold, W.G.: Austerlitz
Sharpe, Matthew: The Sleeping Father
Shields, Carol: The Stone Diaries
Smith, Lee: Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History
Spencer, Scott: A Ship Made of Paper
Stegner, Wallace: Angle of Repose
Stephens, James: The Crock of Gold
Strout, Elizabeth: Amy and Isabelle
Styron, William: Sophie's Choice
Tan, Amy: The Kitchen God's Wife
Trevor, William: Any of his books
Truong, Monique: The Book of Salt
Updike, John: The Centaur, Rabbit Run
Vonnegut, Kurt: Slaughterhouse Five
Walker, Alice: The Color Purple
Warren, Robert Penn: All the King’s Men
West, Nathaniel: The Day of the Locust, Miss Lonelyhearts
Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse
Yates, Richard: Revolutionary Road

Amy TanVonnegutVirginia WoolfJohn UpdikeGwendolyn BrooksEmily Dickinson