Creative Writing

Creative writing is the artistic practice of composing and refining fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. It is an area of study very different from others within English. Creative writing students generally take workshop courses in which they submit their own work for constructive critique by their classmates, as well as by faculty with a strong national profile in publication.

The creative writing faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno specialize primarily in fiction and poetry, though we offer periodic courses in other areas such as creative nonfiction and screenwriting. Our fiction writers create and are familiar with a wide range of approaches (including YA fiction and work written within commercial genres such as fantasy, mystery, horror and so on). Our poets write in a broad spectrum of poetic styles and have published books in narrative, lyric and experimental modes.

Tablet, keyboard, plant, open blank book, coffee closed notebook and pencils sit on a marble desk

Interested in exploring creative writing more? Consider applying for our Master's program.

MFA in creative writing

Opportunities for students

A range of resources and opportunities are available for students to become involved in publishing and professional experience and to teach writing to the community. Many of our graduate students have presented their work at local readings and events.

Faculty in creative writing

Michael Branch

Michael Branch

My interests range from early and 19th century American literature to western American literature, environmental literature and the literature of humor. I teach courses in American literature, creative nonfiction and film studies. I am the co-founder of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment and series co-editor of the University of Virginia Press book series Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism. I have published nine books and more than 250 articles, essays, reviews and reprints, and have given more than 400 invited lectures and readings. He is currently at work on a book about jackalopes.

Chris Coake

Christopher Coake

I’m a fiction writer; I also currently direct the MFA program in creative writing. I’ve published a collection of short stories, We’re in Trouble and a novel, You Came Back. My work is literary, but edges into genre territory; I’ve had stories published in mystery, horror and fantasy anthologies (including Best American Mystery Stories and The Best American Noir of the Century), and I’m working on a fantasy novel. I have a new collection, You Would Have Told Me Not To, forthcoming in 2020.

David Durham

David Anthony Durham

I am the author of seven novels: The RisenThe Sacred BandThe Other LandsAcaciaPride of CarthageWalk Through Darkness and Gabriel’s Story. My stories have appeared in four of George RR Martin’s Wild Cards novels: Fort FreakLowballHigh Stakes and Texas Hold ‘Em. I enjoy writing across genres, with published work in historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror and YA. Four of My novels have been optioned for development as feature films. I have also been a screenwriter/consultant on several TV shows.

Frandsen Humanities

Steven Gehrke

My areas of interest include poetry and screenwriting. I’ve published three books of poetry and have had individual poems published widely in literary journals. I’m currently at work on a fourth book of poetry and a screenplay about the inventor of the dialysis machine.

Ann Keniston

Ann Keniston

Gailmarie Pahmeier

Gailmarie Pahmeier

I’ve taught creative writing and contemporary literature for over 30 years and during that time I’ve been honored to earn the University Distinguished Teaching Award, the Governor’s Award for Artistic Excellence and an induction into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. I serve the state of Nevada as a Poet in Residence and I served the City of Reno as its first Poet Laureate. My creative work is narrative in nature and I’m most interested in exploring the lives of rural Americans, particularly the lives of women in isolated areas. My most recent book is The Rural Lives of Nice Girls.

Jared Stanley

Jared Stanley

I write poetry, the odd essay and often do collaborative text-based work with visual artists. Currently, I'm working on my fourth collection of poetry, an artist's book and a long prose work.