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I also don’t know why other literary beacons such as Vladimir Nabokov, Chinua Achebe, and Joseph Conrad chose to write in their second languages.I’m not sure if these authors know their reasons themselves.
At Carleton, learning about creative writing happens both inside and outside the classroom.
For example, the English Department actively fosters a relationship between our students and the rich literary community here in Ottawa, which includes the Ottawa International Writers Festival and Verse Fest, both of which offer free admission to Carleton students.
Our department also hosts bi-annual showcases of student writers, providing an opportunity for students to read their work in front of a supportive audience of their peers, and we also organize competitions in both fiction and poetry adjudicated by acclaimed writers.
Samuel Beckett, Irish modernist playwright and novelist (among other titles), initially wrote in his second language, French.
Ultimately, students who take writing workshops hone their writing and communication skills, transferable to any course of study or career.
They also develop a deep life-long appreciation for the art and craft of expression oneself through creative writing forms.The writing professionals who lead our workshops are primarily facilitators, giving student the opportunity to share, discuss, and critique their writing and the writing of their peers in a collegial, supportive environment.Students are often given the chance to attend and review live readings, theatre, or exhibits at the Carleton University Art Gallery as part of their development as writers.One thing (the only thing) I have in common with Samuel Beckett, Vladimir Nabokov, Chinua Achebe, and Joseph Conrad is that we are all exophonic writers, meaning that we write in our second languages.Exophony is an interesting but seldom discussed phenomenon.We also offer a first-year “ENGL 1500: Introduction to Creative Writing” lecture/workshop course, available to students in any academic unit who want to express themselves creatively at an introductory level.At the other end of the spectrum, students who are at the fourth-year level and have maintained the requisite GPA can work individually with a faculty member to complete a longer, self-guided manuscript in a chosen genre.When I began writing creatively in English, the decision seemed so automatic and unnaturally natural that for a long time I thought it was driven by the subconscious.Perhaps we exophonic writers are all victims to unresolved Freudian fears.It is amazing to see students progress from writing short prompts at the first or second-year level to completing a novella or collection of stories in just a few years of focused, experiential learning within the concentration.Students who have completed the concentration or who have just taken one or two workshops have gone on to publish in chapbooks, anthologies, and in book form, and in numerous genres.