The Department of Literary Arts was established in the late 1960s as the Graduate Program in Creative Writing by poet Edwin Honig. The first Master of Arts in creative writing was granted in 1970. The Department of Literary Arts awards the Master of Fine Arts in fiction, poetry, digital language arts, and cross-disciplinary writing to 12 graduate students per year and the Bachelor of Arts in literary arts to approximately 50 undergraduate students.
- International Writers Project
- Since the early 1990s, the Department of Literary Arts been a leader in the field of electronic writing and digital language arts. Digital writers take courses offering the additional possibility of working in mixed hypermedia, including computer graphics, animation, electronic music, video, and virtual 3-D environments. An experimental workshop — CAVE writing — has been established in Brown’s immersive visual reality environment in the Center for Advanced Scientific Computation and Visualization (the “CAVE”).
Alumni of the program
More than 50 percent of alumni of the Graduate Program of Literary Arts go on to have a book published within five years of graduating. Notable alumni include:
- Nilo Cruz, M.F.A. 1994 (playwriting), Pulitzer Prize recipient
- Edwidge Danticat, M.F.A. 1993 (fiction), Noted novelist, National Book Award finalist
- Percival Everett, M..A. 1982 (fiction)
- Peter Gizzi, M.F.A. 1991 (poetry), Guggenheim recipient
- Jaimy Gordon, DA ’75, National Book Award winner for her novel, Lord of Misrule
- Ben Lerner, M.F.A. 2003 (Poetry), National Book Award Finalist
- Sarah Ruhl, M.F.A. 2001 (Playwriting), MacArthur Fellowship recipient
- Joanna Scott, M.A. 1985, MacArthur Fellowship recipient
- Meg Wolitzer A.B. 1981, novelist
- Jeffrey Eugenides A.B. 1982, novelist
The Brown Reader
In celebration of Brown’s 250th anniversary, this collection of newly commissioned essays, comics, and poems features 50 best-selling, prize-winning writers, poets, and artists reflecting on their time on College Hill. Contributors include Edwidge Danticat, Jeffrey Eugenides, Lois Lowry, Marilynne Robinson, and Meg Wolitzer. Scheduled for publication in spring 2014.
- Keith Waldrop, professor emeritus: National Book Award, 2009
- Forest Gander: Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry, 2012
- C.D. Wright: MacArthur Fellowship, and a National Book Award finalist in 2010
- Cole Swensen: Guggenheim Fellowship and a PEN USA Award for Literary Translation
- John Edgar Wideman: MacArthur Fellowship