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SCWP Program Details


Program Overview (The large print)

At U.C. Berkeley’s Summer Creative Writing Program, you’ll get to work in the morning with extraordinary Bay Area writers -- and in the afternoons, you can immerse yourself in the writing life. Classes meet from 9-12:30 Monday-Thursday, leaving afternoons and weekends free to write.  On many afternoons, we host panels, readings, and other events.

You can hang out in our lounge, edit in the elegant Bancroft Library, or eavesdrop with friends in the nearby East Bay coffee shops where generations of poets and authors have sat: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Michael Lewis, Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Michael Chabon, Ishmael Reed, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Haas, Philip K. Dick, and Czeslaw Milosz to name only a few.

Writers cannot live by pen and pixel alone. There are no classes on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays, so why not come along for a stroll through Oakland’s Art Murmur, or hop on BART with us for a jaunt into Fog City for Literary Clown Foolery at the Booksmith?  Pass 826 Valencia in the Mission, founded by Dave Eggers, on your way to witness a Literary Death Match at The Elbo Room. Or join us at Vesuvio after you browse the shelves at the famous City Lights bookstore.  Are you a foodie? Visit Off the Grid as the gourmet food trucks circle their wagons at Fort Mason, or enjoy dim sum in the hills of Chinatown.  And, of course, there’s always Wine Country. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to be in good company, even if you stay home to write!

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Program Details (The fine print)

Summer 2012 Faculty

Master Classes: Daniel Alarcón, Camille Dungy, Brenda Hillman, Anthony Swofford

Workshops: Faith Adele, Shane Book, David Lau, Micheline Aharonian Marcom, Justin Torres, Ryan Van Meter

Readings Courses: Jim Mattson, Kaya Oakes, Tess Taylor



Workshops and readings classes are offered in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction (memoir, travel writing, and the lyric essay). Admitted applicants participate in a workshop and readings course in their chosen genre. For example, poets will attend a poetry workshop and a poetry readings class. Because our program is based on the immersive studio model, there is no multi-genre track.

Writing workshops

These seminars are limited to 15 to ensure that every writer receives individual attention. Your original works are the primary topic of discussion. Having your work read with careful attention by other writers reveals valuable new perspectives. Reading closely the works-in-progress of other writers develops the editorial eye so necessary during revision. The small class size creates an atmosphere conducive to exploring new voices and directions, as well as polishing mature drafts. Tuesdays and Thursday from 9-12:30.

Readings courses (reading like a writer)

What can Philip Roth teach us about point of view, or Chekhov teach us about scene?  What can John d’Agata teach us about language? What can Dylan Thomas teach us about form? What can your favorite writer teach you? This course develops the author’s eye for prose and verse, so in these sessions we will read like writers. We will ask what makes our favorite poems, essays, and stories work and answer that question through the careful examination and discussion of masterworks -- both traditional and contemporary. The central philosophy is that by learning to explicitly identify specific features of work we admire, we become more adept at making use of those same techniques in own writing. As T.S. Elliot once said, Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.  Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-12:30.

Master classes

Led by esteemed writers, these are in-depth explorations of form and practice, ranging from mastering craft to harnessing inspiration. There is a master class in each genre. Each is followed by a colloquium or a Q&A, giving you ample opportunity to ask questions about the art of letters, the writing life, and other topics during an intimate audience with a master.


Participate in and attend panels on publishing, securing an agent, book arts, and other topics. These are also opportunities to meet writers and faculty in other genres, and gain practical knowledge on subjects ranging from selecting MFA programs to supporting yourself as a writer.


Read your own work and attend readings by faculty. Hearing writers read their work live is always an edifying experience.  Writing is a solitary craft; readings afford vital community in celebration of our art.


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Admitted writers can download the registration form below.


College Writing Programs


University of California
112 Wheeler Hall #2500
Berkeley, CA 94720-2500

Hours: M-Th 8-2:30
Phone: (510) 642-5570
Fax: (510) 642-6963
Email: collegewriting@berkeley.edu

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by Dr. Radut.