Creative Writing classes include introductions to the writing of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, as well as intermediate and advanced classes, mixed genre classes, and classes in special topics, such as Poetic Forms, and Creative Writing on Nature and the Environment.
While the Creative Writing minor was initiated in 2002, it has always been an important part of the experience of English at Centre. In recent years, the pace of student activity and interest has been especially lively. In 2001, the Cantrell poetry prize was inaugurated, endowed by a Centre alum in honor of a much-loved emeritus professor of English at Centre, the late Paul L. Cantrell. Recent winners have been Kristie Kachler in 2004, Ginger Pennington in 2005, and Natalie Armstrong in 2006.
Directing creative writing at Centre is poet, Lisa Williams whose widely praised first volume, The Hammered Dulcimer, won the May Swenson poetry award. In 2004-05, Williams was honored by being selected for the Rome Prize in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Williams teaches poetry workshops at all levels, a class on poetic forms, and creative non-fiction.
To supplement the creative writing courses, each year the English program brings in at least one accomplished fiction or poetry writer to Centre to teach a creative writing course during the winter term and to serve as a mentor for student writers. Recent writers-in-residence include Christian Moody, Kevin Wilson, Sydney Blair, francine j. harris, Daniel Mueller, Talvikki Ansel, Kate Daniels, Mary Gaitskill, Kelly Cherry, Julia Johnson, and Sena Jeter Naslund.
In addition, the Centre College Reading Series provides students with on-campus readings and class visits by nationally-acclaimed poets, fiction writers, and non-fiction writers every year. Over the last few years, the Centre College Reading Series has included Paul Muldoon, Roger Reeves, Eavan Boland, Bianca Spriggs, Joshua Mehigan, Lisa Russ Spaar, Jennifer Atkinson, Charles Wright, Heather McHugh, Larissa Szporluk, Ciaran Carson, Mebh McGuckian, Sarah Arvio, Maurice Manning, Andrew Hudgins, Mary Gaitskill, Sena Jeter Naslund, William Henry Lewis, Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones, Roxane Gay, former poet laureate Billy Collins, and Danville native Frank X Walker.