Summer Creative Writing Institute

The Summer Creative Writing Institute

The Summer Creative Writing Institute offers students opportunities to write and share poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction under the guidance of a highly accomplished faculty member. At the same time, students will enjoy Paris life and culture while becoming steeped in some of its great literary legacy.

The Poetic Experience

The Poetic Experience

Learn how to apply elements of craft to memory and shape your imagination more powerfully through poetry.

>> Find out more

Fiction Writing

Fiction Writing

In this workshop, you will deepen your practices of  both process and craft in order to create original works of fiction.

>> Find out more

Creative Non-Fiction

Creative Non-Fiction

This Workshop gives students the opportunity to explore through their own writing an array of creative nonfiction forms

>> Find out more

Throughout its history, Paris has inspired writers from France and around the world, often providing a refuge from the intolerance, censorship, or the parochialism of their home countries. Paris is, and always has been, a place of literary salons and lively gatherings of artists and writers in cafés. Amid social and political upheaval, revolutionary approaches to literary form and subject matter have emerged more often from Paris than from any other metropolis, reflecting life in the throes of a modernizing world. The towering figures of French literature such as Hugo, Zola, Balzac, Baudelaire, and Apollinaire all took Paris as their subject, and the preeminence of the written word and the artistic spirit of Paris attracted foreign writers including Stein, Joyce, Hemingway, Beckett, Miller, Baldwin, Rhys, and Wright, to name a few.

Visiting students enrolled in the Summer Creative Writing Institute select a single writing workshop in Poetry, Fiction, or Creative Nonfiction.  They are also invited to enroll in a two-week module exploring  the creative process. 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)

Siân Melangell Dafydd

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, Siân Melangell Dafydd wants most to focus on care, playfulness and craft. >> Apply

Siân Melangell Dafydd is an author, poet and translator. Her first published novel, Y Trydydd Peth (The Third Thing; Gomer, 2009) won her the coveted 2009 National Eisteddfod Literature Medal. She writes in both Welsh and English and often collaborates with artists of other disciplines (dancer Sioned Huws’ Aomori Project; the book Ancestral Houses: the Lost Mansions of Wales/Tai Mawr a Mieri: Plastai Coll Cymru with poet Damian Walford Davies and artist Paul White [Gomer 2012]). She has been the co-editor of the literary review Taliesin and Y Neuadd online literary magazine for six years. Her second Welsh language novel and a collection of hybrid literature, Spitting Distance are forthcoming. She works closely with authors and poets internationally to translate literature between minority languages and is the course coordinator of the MRes in Transnational Writing at Bath Spa University, England.


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.