Undergraduate Creative Writing

Your writing career begins here

Colleagues in the English department chat in the lounge.

It's not just about honing your craft here

It's about becoming a part of a literary movement that's making waves.

Ignite your creativity with guidance from masters of the craft

Our Creative Writing instructors at the University of Calgary aren't just teachers; they are accomplished writers who have left their mark on a diverse range of writing genres, styles, and aesthetics.

Our faculty are constantly pushing boundaries, learning from experiences, and exchanging knowledge across disciplines.

Each year, the vibrancy of our program is showcased through a myriad of readings and performances. Our courses include instruction in creativity, publication, editorial work, and journalism.

Here, you won't just learn about writing; you'll live it, breathe it, and start something extraordinary with it.

Creative Writing faculty member Suzette Mayr won the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel, The Sleeping Car Porter.

Ryan Emberley Photography

What you'll learn

Emphasis on craft

Our courses encourage diverse approaches to writing, but they're not courses in how to get published. They are intended to help you become a better writer.

Study language, structure, form and all the elements of poetry, fiction and creative writing in general. 


Anyone can take courses

You don't have to be an ENGL major to take Creative Writing courses. They are open to any student or community member who wants to apply, and they are all credit courses.

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Enhance your degree with a creative writing honours project

Engage in a creative writing project as part of your Honours degree.

Contact us to learn more about your options.

Email our undergraduate program director

Earn an Embedded Certificate in Creative Writing

If you complete 18 units from the field of Creative Writing, you are eligible to earn an Embedded Certificate. 

View certificate details

How to enrol

Portfolio classes require permission to enrol.

Because you cannot register in portfolio admission courses until you receive permission from the department, you should register in a second-choice course if you are an undergraduate student.

View current course listings.


ENGL 265

Open to all students.

ENGL 336

Open to all senior students.

400- and 500- level Creative Writing courses

  • Submit a writing portfolio to the instructor
  • See specific details for each course, below
  • The material you submit should match the genre of the course

Note on portfolio courses

The highly competitive nature of admission to Creative Writing courses means that not all students get in. If you are not accepted when you first apply, we encourage you to try again another year, and to make an appointment with the Canadian Writer-in-Residence, who is available to provide feedback on your work.

Portfolio-based creative writing courses

Descriptions and application instructions for 2024/25 portfolio-based courses.

Instructor: Suzette Mayr

Application Requirements:

To be considered for a place in this course, students must email an application form to smayr@ucalgary.ca by July 1, 2024

IMPORTANT: Please include "ENGL 436.04 Application Portfolio" in the subject line of the email

Instructor: Vivek Shraya

Application Requirements:

To be considered for a place in this course, please email engl@ucalgary.ca 

Instructor: Clara A.B. Joseph 

Application Requirements:

To be considered for a place in this course, students must email an application form to cjoseph@ucalgary.ca by July 1, 2024

IMPORTANT: Please include "ENGL 595.04 Application Portfolio" in the subject line of the email

Instructor: Anna Veprinska 

Application Requirements:

To be considered for a place in this course, students must email an application form to anna.veprinska@ucalgary.ca by November 1, 2024

IMPORTANT: Please include "ENGL 593 Application Portfolio" in the subject line of the email

Tips for creating a portfolio

In addition to reading carefully the specific details concerning portfolio submissions for individual courses, you should keep in mind the following general advice:

Try to demonstrate as wide a range of your writing abilities as possible. 

  • For instance, in fiction a range of narrative possibilities (even if they are fragments) will demonstrate your abilities (a good descriptive scene, a good action scene, a good scene that employs dialogue) better than one or two “complete” short stories that might fail. 
  • With poetry, instead of submitting a portfolio of 20 rhymed-stanza “hurtin’” poems about a love relationship you had that turned sour, include poems on other subjects and in other formats. Variety in the form and content of your submission alerts the instructor to the breadth and depth of your engagement with writing to date.

Your acceptance into the class (or not) is not necessarily an absolute judgment of your writing ability at this point. 

  • We receive many more portfolios than there are places in Creative Writing classes, and if you do not get into one class, you may get into another in another year, or you may gain admission to a class in another genre. 
  • If you are not accepted, please don’t be discouraged. Just keep writing (sign up for a Continuing Education Creative Writing class, if you can) and try again.

The questions asked on portfolio submission forms regarding your background (previous writing courses taken, which recent literary titles you have read, etc.) have no right or wrong answers. 

  • They are intended to give the instructor a sense of what level of previous writing or reading experience the members of the class possess. This is useful information for the instructor in fine-tuning their course curriculum. 

Creative Writing faculty

Kit Dobson

Kit Dobson

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Clara Joseph

Clara A.B. Joseph

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Clem Martini UCalgary Creative Writing faculty

Clem Martini

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Suzette Mayr UCalgary Creative Writing

Suzette Mayr

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L. Rain Prud'homme-Cranford Creative Writing Faculty

L. Rain Prud'homme-Cranford

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Vivek Shraya Creative Writing Faculty

Vivek Shraya

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Uchechukwu Umezurike

Uchechukwu Umezurike

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Aritha van Herk UCalgary Creative Writing

Aritha Van Herk

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Anna Veprinska

Anna Veprinska

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Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead

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Francine Cunningham and Leah Horlick smile at the camera.

Calgary Distinguished Writers Program

The Calgary Distinguished Writers Program launches the careers of Canadian writers, bridging the university and the wider Calgary community. The program offers free events, manuscript evaluations, and community connection.

Start something literary today

Planning your graduate studies? We offer MA and PhD degrees with a creative writing option. Learn more about our Graduate Creative Writing

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