This course has everything to “write” for budding literati


For 19 years, the Visiting Writers series has drawn nationally recognized authors to campus. As the constraints of the pandemic necessitated a format change for fall 2021, two writers – award-winning novelist Yaa Gyasi and poet Victoria Chang – visited for virtual readings on Zoom.

But there’s more to the series than inviting guest speakers to inspire the aspiring creative writers of TCNJ. This is part of a creative writing minor course called Writing Communities, in which students study editing and editing, apply their writing skills in real-world scenarios, and engage with the world. contemporary literary as curators, researchers, publicists and critics.

“I had two main goals when I designed the course almost 20 years ago: to provide students with unique experiences that would set them apart in the job market and connect our community of writers on campus to the national community. at large. »English teacher Catie rosemurgy noted.

Students in the class organize and run the TCNJ Guest Writers Series, gaining hands-on experience working with writers and planning events. They create websites, design posters and displays, and promote events on campus and local communities. They are also looking for writers who are making waves in contemporary literature and together decide who to bring on campus next year.

Novelist Yaa Gyasi visited this semester’s Writing Communities course (Photo: Chelsie Derman ’23)

“Working on the Visiting Writers series was particularly rewarding as it allowed me to practice all the tasks related to advertising and planning – such as writing and presenting introductory speeches for authors – that can be learned from. ‘wait when working for a publishing house. Samantha segreto ’22 says.

Segreto recently applied for an internship at a literary agency, where he was asked to write a reading report – “something I would have been completely unprepared for had I not learned such a skill in the classroom. of Professor Rosemurgy, “she said.

For many alumni, the Writing Communities course was a first step to a successful career.

“Writing Communities was one of the most hands-on courses I took at TCNJ,” said Nicolas elliot ’12, who now works in content marketing at Audible. “It teaches you a lot of foundational skills that will help you in an internship and in your first job. “

Even the smallest class assignments, like writing blurbs or book reviews, are resume builders, he says.

Fall semester guest writer Yaa Gyasi offered students a simple but essential tip: read as much as possible.

“Remember that at the end of the day, the point is to have your book on a shelf next to all these other books, and that feeling of community and possibility,” Gyasi said. “It will always enrich your work and you only get it by reading. So read on.

For spring, the series will present poet Ada limin. Learn more about the minor in creative writing and follow @tcnjvws on Instagram for information on upcoming events.

– Emily W. Dodd ’03 with reporting by Chelsie Derman ’23


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