Creative writing program makes headlines

Creative writing teachers at Florida State University are using lots of their own creativity to inspire students enrolled in a program that has received a stream of national awards and recognition over the past five years.

A recent article in the Palm Beach Post focuses on how Pulitzer-Prize-winning Professor Robert Olen Butler and other faculty members, along with their students, have built a creative writing program that’s tops in the nation.

The creatively written article “is a story about how FSU’s young creative writing program has become during the past five years what some believe to be the best in the country – overshadowing the University of Florida’s, Florida International University’s and even possibly the granddaddy of creative writing programs, the University of Iowa’s.”

According to the article by Palm Beach Post reporter Kimberly Miller, “It did it with the help of patent money from the cancer drug Taxol, developed by an FSU scientist; the energy from pontifical mobster writer Mark Winegardner; and support of an established and respected English department.

“In 1997, U.S. News and World Report ranked creative writing programs. FSU’s came in 37th.

“In 2007, the National Research Council will publish a new ranking of creative writing programs. FSU unabashedly plans to win that race. While other schools downplay competition among programs, FSU puffs out its chest, plumps up its feathers and struts,” the article continues.

The article notes that FSU is the only school in Florida to offer a Ph.D. in creative writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing – a new designation for FSU granted earlier this year. In addition, FSU is the only school in Florida with a Pulitzer Prize winner on its creative writing staff.

Further, FSU has been included more often in Harcourt’s Best New American Voices than any other school in Florida and has raked in numerous accolades during the past few years, with students and professors represented in New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best and Atlantic Monthly.

Students also have won awards such as the Brittingham Prize for poetry and the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize.