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English and Creative Writing

Cultivate your creativity, feed your curiosity, and engage with the world through language and literature. 

Student studying in Stuart Commons

Our students understand that the world is made of stories, that good writing is power, and that creativity has currency.  

Our program is thoughtfully designed to give students access to hands-on experience that will carry them into the future. Our curriculum enriches students’ understanding of literature and language while developing their skills as writers. With both creative writing and literature tracks available, students are empowered to pursue their intellectual interests and imaginative visions in order to prepare for future success. 

Make it constructive. Make it imaginative. Make it English.

Caroline Warrick-Skolnick
Majoring in English has given me more confidence, especially in a professional setting. With solid writing skills and a general desire to learn, interacting with the world becomes easier and much more interesting.
Caroline Warrick-Schkolnik ’22
Majoring in English can really support your life goals no matter what you choose to pursue.
Stephanie Hicks ’06

Two Academic Tracks to Choose From

The major offers creative writing and literature tracks, both of which offer students excellent training in the kind of clear writing, analytical reasoning, and creative thinking necessary for success in any career. Each track emphasizes the value and importance of critical thought while offering a variety of exciting opportunities that allow students to pursue their passions and prepare for the future. 

Student Involvement in English

In addition to off-campus study and internships, students take active roles in the Lake Forest College Press and the Lake Forest Literary Festival. Students can join clubs and organizations such as our vibrant literary club INK, which organizes used bookstore hops, literary debates and games, open mic nights, trips to the American Writers Museum, and other cultural attractions in the city. Other clubs and events include our annual fall party, the Writing Club, and weekly Russian Tea Time where we discuss Russian literature. We also make trips to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. 

Access to Chicago—Experiential Learning

Students and faculty regularly take advantage of a number of cultural resources that enhance their study of English, with trips to theaters like Chicago Shakespeare, Lookingglass Theater, Writers Theatre, and Second City. Additionally, our proximity to Chicago offers internship and experiential learning opportunities with an abundance of organizations in and around the city such as the American Library Association, Chicago Scene, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Facets, Harold Washington Library, June Media, Newberry Library, and 826Chi.

Why study English?

Sure, you love reading and embrace the creativity of writing, but you may be wondering what paths a degree in English can open up for you. With a focus on critical thinking, writing skills, research, and engagement, a major or minor in English can enrich your aspirations and elevate your engagement with the world around you.

More than ever, we're seeing employers ask for candidates with solid writing skills and a liberal arts background. English is a diverse field of study that can equip you with the skills you need to pursue a wide variety of paths. 

The Digital Chicago Project

Lake Forest College received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to involve students and faculty in exploring specific at-risk or forgotten sites in Chicago’s history, through urban archaeological digs, innovative digital humanities projects, and complementary coursework in a wide array of disciplines, including English, History, Art, Music, and others. 

The Digital Chicago project by Dr. Ben Goluboof offers retrospective on the life of minor Chicago playwright Kenneth Sawyer Goodman. 

You can view the entire collection of digital humanities projects at digitalchicago.lakeforest.edu.

Learn More

Why Study English?

Why Study English?

Perhaps you’ve asked, “Why should I major in English? I need a job when I graduate from college. I need a good income. Isn’t reading about and writing stories an impractical preparation for the world of work?  My parents and the news media tell me I should major in something practical instead.”  In fact, an English major is one of the most practical of all liberal-arts majors, either by itself or as a complement to another major, and studying English can richly reward those who understand its value. 

Carnegie English Essay Contest

Carnegie English Essay Contest

If you are applying as a first-year student for the fall of 2022, and plan to study English either through the literature or creative writing track, we invite you to participate in our annual Carnegie English Essay Contest. Five winners will be awarded $2,500 annually.

Student at Office

Opportunities After Graduation

Lake Forest College’s English majors pursue many different careers, running the gamut from software developer at Epic to art director at the New York Times; from lecturer at the University of Wisconsin to film producer and editor; from corporate communications writer at Abbott Labs to the local state’s attorney.

Lake Forest Press

Lake Forest College Press - &NOW Books

Lake Forest College Press publishes in the broad spaces of Chicago studies. Our imprint, &NOW Books, publishes innovative and conceptual literature, and serves as the publishing arm of the &NOW writers’ conference and organization.

Meet Our Students and Alumni

Lydia Wells ’15

Lydia Wells ’15

Teacher at Lake Forest Academy

Image of Stephanie Hicks

Stephanie Hicks ’06

Lecturer in the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Biz Hyzy ’14

Biz Hyzy ’14

Editorial assistant for the adult and audio departments at Booklist

Related Programs

Contact Us

Carla Arnell
Professor of English
Chair of English
Carnegie Hall 109
847-735-5272
arnell@mx.lakeforest.edu

Connie Hollingsworth
Department Assistant
Carnegie Hall 105
847-735-5265
chollingsworth@mx.lakeforest.edu