UVA Creative Writing Celebrates First Graduating Class of Prose Students
This spring marks an early milestone for the UVA English Department with the first graduates of the Area Program in Literary Prose (APLP). The two-year program, available to rising third-years, was inspired by the highly popular Area Program in Poetry Writing (APPW), which was inaugurated in 2000. The APLP encompasses an array of creative writing from across the “literary prose” spectrum, including short stories, flash fiction, novellas, memoiristic essays, and more. Like its older, poetic sibling, the APLP is designed to offer an intensive and collaborative experience for dedicated to writing. It welcomes approximately ten students each year who are committed to the serious study of the craft of literature and the literary process, and offers substantial creative writing experience in workshop settings along with a variety of seminars on the poetics of prose and narrative and a senior capstone course that results in an extended creative thesis. The coursework combines multiple and varied writing opportunities combined with dynamic reading and literature studies that focus on the works of a variety of modern masters, ranging from Alice Munro to Junot Diaz to David Foster Wallace, Annie Dillard, Tobias Wolff, Jamaica Kincaid and more. “At the core of this program is the fact that students are inspired by one another,” said APLP Director Elizabeth Denton. “Our APLP students have become this close-knit group, a community in which they feel like writers, and have friends who are writers. It has allowed them to convey powerful and really extraordinary stories, with topics including growing up in a mixed-race household, surviving suicide attempts, returning to one’s birthplace in Africa, suffering a serious injury while serving in Iraq, and so on.”
Graduating APLP student Anna Tucker (College ‘16) says the Program has facilitated some of her most valuable UVA connections: "The Program has provided the opportunity for us to develop relationships with each other’s writing. There’s a camaraderie in watching our work evolve over time and considering what has been vital and constant in individual voices from day one. You can’t take their feedback for granted." The inaugural class is already taking measures to stay connected and continue sharing work after graduation and into the years to come.