Creative Writing

Scroll down to view our Creative Writing course offerings for Spring 2022 and to learn about the Creative Writing Minor!

Creative Writing at NYU Shanghai: Worlds within worlds

Crafting a compelling narrative or poem is not only deeply satisfying in and of itself. We tell stories, memorize our favorite lyrics, and share lines from our favorite films because the right words in the right order create deep connections between and among us that resonate not only with our times, but with our pasts and our hoped-for futures. 

Sharpening and refining your skills as a writer and as a reader also makes enormous practical sense. Whatever your career path, the better you are at communication, persuasion and at reading people and situations, the greater your success will be. Careful, sustained practice in reading, writing and discussing fiction, poetry, drama, screenplays, games, films, creative nonfiction and today's emerging digital storytelling forms transfers directly to skills essential to success in business, marketing, journalism, game development, interactive media arts, the sciences -- you name it. 

And at NYU Shanghai, we focus not only only writing in English, but on ways in which multilingual writing and literary translation can further enhance and deepen both your creativity and practical communication, analytic, and persuasion skills.

You can also gain valuable experience by working with fellow students and faculty on print and digital publication projects, whether it‘s our annual print journal, The Poplar Review 杨高, our student-run online journal Bright Lines 青色, or our BackLit video interviews with renowned visiting writers and translators who appear in our NYU Shanghai Literary Reading Series.

At NYU Shanghai, creative writing is not just about you and your words alone -- it's also about community, events, connection, learning new skills, and growth.

Finally, if you're a Humanities or Interactive Media Arts major at NYU Shanghai, many of our courses can both fulfill elective credits and enrich and inform your studies in your major. Talk to your advisor or to Creative Writing Coordinator David Perry to learn more.

Creative Writing Minor requirements 

You can complete the Creative Writing Minor with 16 credits:

  • Introduction to Creative Writing (4 credits)
  • 8 credits of intermediate or advanced level Creative Writing craft courses
  • 4 credits of an additional Creative Writing craft course (of any level) or a designated elective (usually in literature, theater, or film).
  • Note: There are 2-credit options both within the Creative Writing area as well as 2-credit electives in other areas that count towards the Creative Writing minor.

You can also take creative writing courses at a number of NYU’s global academic centers. Those looking for intensive summer course have opportunities to enroll in three engaging summer programs: Writers in Paris, Writers in Florence, and Writers in New York.

Humanities majors may take creative writing courses to fulfill some of the major requirements. Please see your academic advisor for more details.

2021-22 Creative Writing courses

Fall 2021
Introduction to Creative Writing: Literary Translation

CRWR-SHU 245 | 4 credits | Instructor: David Perry

In this new version of our introductory course, students will focus on writing their own stories, poems, and dramatic dialogues, as in any Intro to Creative Writing course. However, instead of working with a more conventional creative writing textbook, students will study craft through the lens of literary translation, getting “inside” exemplary works of literature by producing their own translations among and between Chinese, English and other languages. Translation will serve as a prompt for student’s own works, providing models and patterns for close study that students can then experiment with, take inspiration from, and adapt (or depart from) in creating their own work. This class recognizes and celebrates the global nature of reading and writing literature in the 21st century, and encourages students from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds to draw on their native tongues, traditions, and techniques in creating compelling work in English — but not just in English (or in one variety of English).
This course fulfills the Introduction to Creative Writing requirement for Creative Writing minors or a Humanities Survey requirement, with approval.



Speculative Fictions

CRWR-SHU 200A | 4 credits | Instructor: Claire Whitenack

Science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird fiction, alternative histories—all fall under the heading of speculative fiction. In this class, students will study and practice worldbuilding, combining imaginative writing with research to create compelling, believable worlds, characters and stories—whether they are situated on other planets, in other dimensions, in magical realms, in super-high-tech futures, or wherever else the imagination can take us.

This course satisfies IMA Seminar and Creative Writing Minor. It is cross-listed with INTM-SHU 295. This course counts for an elective in Creative Writing, IMA and the Humanities major. 


Intermediate Creative Nonfiction: Forms of the Personal Narrative

CRWR-SHU 209 | 4 credits | Instructor: Genevieve Leone

In this intermediate creative writing workshop, students will write with the “I.” They will explore narrative possibilities across genres and modes, working at times from direct observation: observation of the self, of the world, and of the shifting relationships between and among all of us and it in its and our countless points and moments. At times, students will draw upon memory, at other times they will pay close attention to that which presents itself to us (as we present ourselves) “in the moment,” and at yet others upon research and reading. Throughout, students will experiment using techniques associated with fiction and poetry to push the “personal essay” in the direction of inspired creative nonfiction, memoir, autofiction, lyric and experimental poetry, and cross- genre hybrids. Along the way, they will develop a richer and more nuanced critical vocabulary to help us talk and think about what they are reading and writing.

This course counts for an elective in Creative Writing, IMA and the Humanities major.   


Spring 2022
Introduction to Creative Writing

CRWR-SHU 159 | 4 credits | Instructor: Frances Hwang | Tue/Thu 1:45-03:00pm,

This workshop course offers a broad introduction to the art of capturing the world around you in your own original fiction and poetry. Through close readings of classic and contemporary examples, intensive in-class workshops, and vigorous revision, students will learn to make their stories and poems live on the page through attention to plot, character, dialogue, language, heartbreaking images and the mystery of the perfect line break.

Pre-requisites: None Equivalency: This course counts for CRWRI-UA 815 Creative Writing: Introduction to Fiction and Poetry Introduction to Creative Writing is a requirement for all intermediate/advanced workshop classes. Fulfillment: Humanities Introductory course.

Intermediate Fiction Writing Workshop: Writing the Novella

CRWR-SHU 248 | 4 credits | Instructor: Frances Hwang | Mon 4:15-6:45 pm


Too long to be a short story and too short to be a novel, the novella has been described by Stephen King as a country with “ill-defined” borders situated between “two more orderly regions.” The novella’s intermediary length can make it less palatable to magazine editors and book publishers alike, but in spite of its perceived lack of commercial viability many of our most enduring stories are novellas—Heart of Darkness, The Turn of the Screw, The Metamorphosis, Animal Farm, and A Christmas Carol, to name just a few. In this course, geared toward intermediate and advanced fiction writers, we explore the exciting possibilities of the form through our readings and work on novellas of our own. By the end of the course, students will have read a wide range of novellas by international authors such as Saul Bellow, Robert Bolaño, Eileen Chang, Anton Chekhov, Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaimin, Yasunari Kawabata, and Alice Munro. They will also have completed a significant portion of their own novellas, gaining a deeper understanding of what Ian McEwan calls “the modern and post-modern form par excellence."


Prerequisite: CRWR-SHU 159 Intro to Creative Writing or CRWR-SHU 161 Intro to Literary Translation or Junior/ Senior standing.


Fulfillment: This course will fulfill one of the two the Intermediate Workshop components for the creative writing minor. Humanities other Advanced course.

Intermediate Poetry Workshop

CRWR-SHU 221 | 4 credts | Instructor: Daniel WoodyWed 4:15-6:45 pm

In this intermediate creative writing workshop, students will explore the possibilities of poetry by writing and sharing their own work while also engaging with exemplary works by great poets from a range of traditions, background and times, with a practical emphasis on contemporary poetry and its many vibrant modes and methods. At times, students will experiment with age-old forms such as the sonnet, haiku and sestina; at other times students will pursue the possibilities of contemporary performance poetry and spoken word, Modernist collage and pastiche, postmodern hybrid poetries, and emergent digital poetics. The goal for each student will be to create a body of work that draws on knowledge of traditional forms while also speaking directly to the unique circumstances of our times -- and each individual poet's experience.

Prerequisites: Students must have either 1) completed an Introduction to Creative Writing Course (CRWR-SHU 159 or CRWR-SHU 161) or 2) be of junior or senior standing.

Fulfillment: This course will fulfill one of the two the Intermediate Workshop components for the creative writing minor. Humanities other Advanced course.

Writers on Writing

CRWR-SHU 260 | 4 credits | Instructor: Amy Goldman | Tue 3:15-5:45 pm

The premise of this course is that gifted writers highly conscious of their craft teach us more pointedly about creative writing when, juxtaposed to the creative work of each, we hear, see and experience what each identifies as fundamental to his or her writing practice — whether technique, discipline, recurrent battle, avenue of inspiration, self-imposed rule or other. This course looks to such writers as guides from whom we may learn by studying the steps they have taken over time to develop and hone their craft. The course typically (but not always) pairs, each week, one or two pieces of an author’s creative work with another that reflects critically on some aspects of their writing practice, and on the craft of writing. In essence, this is a hybrid course that blends study of creative work with that of writers' critical self-reflection. Students also pursue their own creative writing projects, reflecting critically on their own process along the way. The course readings draw from multiple cultures, literary traditions, and genres including the short story, flash fiction, the novella, the essay, memoir, diary, children’s literature and poetry.

Prerequisite: Writing as Inquiry WRIT-SHU 101/102 OR CRWR-SHU 159 Introduction to Creative Writing OR CRWR-SHU 161 Introduction to Creative Writing: Literary Translation Focus

Fulfillment: This course counts as one of the three intermediate/advanced creative writing workshops required for completion of the Creative Writing Minor. 

Digital Storytelling: Lessons of the Out of Eden Project

WRIT-SHU 245 | 4 credits | Instructor: Don Belt | 4:45-6:00pm Tue-Thu

In this seminar and workshop, students use digital storytelling techniques and technologies to capture and make sense of the world around them. Students will use the affordances of various technologies to enhance the impact of their stories. In addition to attending to traditional elements of storytelling, such as language, structure, and style, students will incorporate image, sound, haptics, and design of various media interfaces. Different semesters will focus on different themes or story topics

Prerequisite: A final grade of C or higher in Writing as Inquiry

Fulfillment: IMA/IMB Elective; designated elective for Creative Writing.