Creative Writing

As part of the Summer Creative Writing Institute you will have the opportunity to write and share poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction under the guidance of literary and artistic practitioners. Our highly-accomplished faculty members are here to inspire, encourage and support the work of young poets and writers like yourself. Come enjoy Paris life and culture while becoming steeped in the great literary legacy that has inspired generations of writers; from Victor Hugo to George Sand and Ernest Hemingway. Start your own story in the City of Lights!

Visiting students enrolled in the Summer Creative Writing Institute select a single writing workshop in Poetry, Fiction, or Creative Nonfiction. The three creative writing workshops are designed to help students to read their own work objectively, develop a critical vocabulary, and work deeply on issues of craft. Workshops meet three and a half hours per day, four days a week, allowing three-day weekends for writing, travel, and tourism. 

One evening per week, students will attend readings and question-and-answer sessions with inspiring authors. The event evenings also unite the full group of creative writing students to enjoy informal discussion and refreshments. The combination of workshops and evening events make up four transferable academic credits for those who are coming from other universities. For AUP students, these courses can be applied to the B.A. in Creative Writing or the Creative Writing minor. Lower fees are available to auditors.

During the day, students benefit from the University’s library, common spaces, student café and, of course, the richness of the surrounding 7th arrondissement. Bordered by the Seine to the north, the Eiffel Tower to the west, and Les Invalides to the east, the septième is among the most enchanting and elegant of Paris neighborhoods, offering a rich array of restaurants, cafés, stores, and public spaces that, in the height of summer, show Paris at its best.

A large variety of AUP’s own cultural excursions provides students with organized opportunities to experience Paris and France. Students wishing to travel independently will find a wealth of advice available through the Cultural Programs Office.

The Poetic Experience: A Writing Workshop (4 credits)

Heather Hartley

How can meaningful experience translate to memorable poetry? Learn how to apply elements of craft to memory and shape your imagination more powerfully. Poetry is not a members-only club. This course is designed to demystify poetic composition and help you gain confidence and produce new, original work. It introduces you to a wide range of poems and poetic techniques from all over the world via text, sound, video and special guest writers. The course will help you see poetry differently, in terms of how you write and how you read. Even if you are a prose writer at heart, it will allow you to explore a form that will bring poise and new freshness to your paragraphing and storytelling as well as write challenging new poetry. This course is designed to help you see your writing transformed if you’re an experienced or new poet. In summer 2018, we'll work on generating new material, focusing on both playfulness and craft. >> Apply

Heather Hartley is the author of Adult Swim (2016) and Knock Knock (2010) both from Carnegie Mellon University Press and Paris Editor for Tin House magazine. Her short fiction, poems, essays and interviews have appeared in or on PBS Newshour, The Guardian, Tin House, Slice, The Creative Process, The Literary Review and other venues. Her work has been included in numerous anthologies including Anthology of 12 Women from Carnegie Mellon University Press, Food and Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast and Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House, among other anthologiesShe has presented writers at Shakespeare and Company Bookshop over the years and has taught creative writing and college writing at the American University of Paris and creative writing at the University of Texas El Paso MFA Online Program. 

Fiction Writing Workshop (4 credits)

Stacey D'Erasmo

In this workshop, we will deepen our practices of both process and craft in order to create original works of fiction. We will study the basic elements of fiction—character, narrative, perspective, voice, and so on—but we will do this while engaging with Paris, with French writers (in translation) and with writers in other languages who have been influenced by French writers and/or by spending time in France. Our work together will include writing exercises, workshopping, adventuring, and, with any luck, getting lost and being changed. In this course, the writers we will read may include Mavis Gallant, James Baldwin, Colette, Marie N’Diaye, Francis Ponge, Patrick Modiano, Marguerite Duras, and Chester Himes. Bring your notebook, your imagination, and a good pair of walking shoes.  >> Apply

Stacey D’Erasmo is the author of the novels Tea, A Seahorse Year, The Sky Below, and Wonderland, and the nonfiction book The Art of Intimacy: The Space Between. She is a former Stegner Fellow, the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction, and the winner of an Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize from the Lambda Literary Foundation. Her essays, features, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, The Boston Review , Bookforum, The New England Review, and Ploughshares, among other publications. She is a Frederick Lewis Allen Room Fellow at the New York Public Library for 2016-17. She is an Associate Professor of Writing and Publishing Practices at Fordham University.

Creative Nonfiction: Crafting Personal Narrative (4 credits)

Jeffrey Greene

This workshop gives students the opportunity to explore through their own writing an array of creative nonfiction forms. These can include memoir, travel writing, food and nature writing, and social essays. Assignments help students strengthen their ability to create the self as character, a first person narrator who becomes an engaging personality to lead the reader into the world of personal experiences and research. The course explores narrative structure, description, characterization, dialogue, and tension, all key elements in making writing spirited and appealing. Choice examples come from the works of M.F.K Fisher, Baldwin, Seth, Nin, Steinbeck, Dinesen, Sedaris, Didion, McPhee, Colette, Patti Smith, and Ondaatje, among others. Ultimately, students share their writing for peer critique in a supportive and constructive workshop environment. Creative nonfiction includes guest speakers and exercises in Paris. This workshop accommodates students who are both new to creative nonfiction writing or have taken workshops before but wish to continue developing their skills in the discipline. >> Apply

Jeffrey Greene is the author of the memoir French Spirits and three personalized nature books. A fourth nature book, Seven Music Forests, is under contract. His fifth collection of poetry, Beyond Our Means, was released in October 2016.  He wrote Shades of the Other Shore, a collection of dialogue sketches, prose pieces, and poems, in collaboration with painter Ralph Petty as a part of AUP’s Cahier Series. He received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Rinehart Fund, and Humanities Texas, and won the Samuel French Morse Prize, the Randall Jarrell Prize, and the "Discovery"/ The Nation Award. His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Poetry, The Nation, Ploughshares, Southwest Review and the anthology Strangers in Paris. He directs creative writing at the American University of Paris and teaches for the Pan-European Low Residency MFA Program. 


Click on the course you would like to take, to view the individual dates and times under the header "schedule."  Pick from any of the courses below. Your choice is not limited to one category. 

3-week classes: