Creative Writing

Creative Writing Programs

The Creative Writing minor, certificate, and option at the University of Ottawa not only offer access to some of the most successful writers in Canada through our Writer-in-Residence program, but also provide students with the opportunity to hone their writing skills in workshops and seminars, and to join a creative and supportive community of writers.

Available Programs:

  • Minor in Creative Writing (30 units)
  • Minor in Creative Writing for English Majors/Honour Students (30 units)
  • Certificate in Creative Writing (30 units) * The Certificate will be available for the Fall 2020 term
  • Option in Creative Writing (15 units)

While enrolled in these programs, you can ...

  • Take a range of workshops that enables you to build a portfolio of work and explore the range of venues for publication.
  • Learn how to write within different modes and genres, from poetry to essays, and from realism to science fiction.
  • Collaborate with well-known Canadian writers through our Writer-in-Residence program, where authors such as Madeline Thien, Erin Mouré, and Andre Alexis offer structured hours to work with students, offering unparalleled support and advice.
  • Participate in a lively community of writers and poets through events, such as Friday Circle and other poetry readings.
  • Get involved with the Ottawa Arts Review (OAR), University of Ottawa’s literary and visual art journal.


  • ENG2301 The Writing Process

    An introduction to the writing process with a focus on appropriate voice and style across genres and platforms.
  • ENG2303 Introduction to Writing Prose Fiction

    Introduction to prose forms and fictional story-telling techniques. Students will read exemplary works and relevant criticism and will compose their own works of short fiction.
  • ENG2304 Introduction to Writing Poetry

    Introduction to poetic forms and expressive techniques in verse; coordinating form and content. Students will read exemplary works of poetry and relevant criticism and will compose their own poems.
  • ENG2305 Introduction to Writing Creative Non-fiction

    Introduction to creative non-fictional genres such as memoir, personal essay, nature writing, and cultural commentary. Students will read exemplary works and useful criticism and will compose their own works in one or several genres.
  • ENG2306 Introduction to Writing for Stage and Screen

    Introduction to various dramatic forms and the writing of scripts for performance. Students will read exemplary works and relevant criticism and will compose their own short works.
  • ENG2307 Writing with Visuals: An Introduction

    Introduction to forms of creative writing such as graphic fiction, concrete poetry, collage, artists' books and illustrated texts that combine written texts and visual materials. Students will read exemplary works and relevant criticism and will create their own short works.
  • ENG2370 Writing for Digital Media I : Fundamentals of Digital Literacy

    Fundamental techniques for evaluating, organizing and presenting information across contemporary media, including interactive hypertext, social media, microblogging, instant messaging, and other platforms.
  • ENG3164 Advanced Workshop in Poetry

    Advanced Workshop in the writing of poetry. The focus will be on writing exercises, peer review, and the development of the student's portfolio.
  • ENG3170 Writing for Digital Media II 

    Writing techniques and strategies appropriate to new media such as the web (including interactive hypertexts), social media, microblogging, instant messaging, and other platforms. Applications for journalism, communication, activism, government, marketing, and the arts will be considered.
  • ENG3303 Advanced Workshop in Prose Fiction

    Advanced Workshop in the writing of fiction. The focus will be on writing exercises, peer review, and the development of the student's portfolio.
  • ENG3305 Advanced Workshop in Creative Non-fiction

    Advanced Workshop in the writing of creative non-fiction. The focus will be on writing exercises, peer review, and the development of the student's portfolio.
  • ENG3306 Advanced Workshop in Scriptwriting

    Advanced Workshop in the writing of scripts for various performance genres. The focus will be on writing exercises, peer review, and the development of the student's portfolio.
  • ENG3307 Advanced Workshop in Comics and Graphic Fiction

    Advanced workshop in graphic fiction and comic book writing. Students will work on both the textual and visual dimensions of this popular art form. The focus will be on creative exercises, peer review, and the development of the student's portfolio.
  • ENG4397 Advanced Workshop in Creative Writing: Selected Genres

    Advanced workshop in creative writing. Content and approach will vary, depending on the interests and expertise of the instructor. Students must have the instructors permission in order to enroll. As a preliminary to registration, applicants must submit a portfolio (up to 10 pages) of their creative work to the Department of English no later than November 15th for Winter term, July 15th for Fall term, or March 15 for the Spring/Summer session. They will be notified of their acceptance no later than one month before the start of classes.



Seymour Mayne

Seymour Mayne

“Creative writing seminars are meant to keep the pilot light flickering with energy and promise in each apprentice writer.  The courses offer students the opportunity to sustain the joy and fulfillment of writing while they pursue regular degree programs."

Seymour Mayne is author, editor, or translator of more than seventy books and monographs, including anthologies and critical texts. He is the founder of Bywords and the poster magazine Graffito. He has been published in over nine languages and has won several prestigious awards for his works, including the J.I Segal Award (2010) and the Canadian Jewish Book Award in 2007, 2000, 1997, and 1994.




Gerald Lynch

Gerald Lynch

"The creative-writing seminar provides students with the space and time to develop their own poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. It does so within an environment of mutual criticism/appreciation, rigorous analytical thinking, and disciplined writing—all under the direction of experienced published writers."


Gerald Lynch, winner of the gold award for short fiction in Canada’s National Magazine Awards, is the author of novels such as Missing Children (2015) and Exotic Dancers (2001) and has published numerous short stories and essays. His new novel, Omphalos, is forthcoming in 2017.




Amal El-Mohtar

Amal El-Mohtar

“Writing creatively is so often a lonely enterprise; my hope is always that the workshop environment will be a positive, supportive one that will give students the tools they need to examine their own work critically without just abandoning it in despair if there’s room for improvement.”


Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning writer of prose, poetry, and criticism. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the LA Times, NPR Books and on and her short stories has appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex, and Shimmer. Most recently, she has nominated for a Nebula Award for her short story, “Seasons of Glass and Iron.”





Student Testimonials

Lindsay Foran


"Creative writing is a necessary part of the university experience. Anyone who has wanted to write should try at least one class. Working with others will help you develop a stronger voice, and the ability to edit your own work. You can’t write in a bubble. A workshop allows you to share your work in a safe place, and throughout the year, you will have the chance to rewrite and shape your story or poem so that it becomes publishable.”

Lindsay Foran is full-time writer, and has published many short stories and poems over the years. She is currently finishing her first novel.





Maria Scala


“I enrolled in my first Creative Writing course at UOttawa without any prior knowledge of the program or of the faculty. That first poetry workshop, with Professor Seymour Mayne, was a formative experience, and shaped the direction I took, not only as a student of English, but also as a burgeoning writer. Twenty years on, these skills continue to serve me well as a writer and as an editor."


Maria Scala’s poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous print and online literary journals, as well as anthologies that focus on the Italo-Canadian experience.



Maximilian Monkhouse


“Seymour Mayne, my creative writing professor, helped with my writing. His style of teaching: encouraging students to find their own method and voice was particularly effective. It was a supportive environment, and remained challenging. The critiques and suggestions we received in class, especially from Professor Mayne, were helpful in improving our writing."


Maximilian Monkhouse still writes and is an active participant in Ottawa’s literary community.



How to Apply/Register



Register Now—Courses Fill Up Quickly

Students interested in discussing creative writing courses should send us an email at For inquiries regarding registration issues, please contact your faculty directly.

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