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Creative Writing - Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry

Ministry Title: Creative Writing
Start Date Between:  
Program Code: 12231 Credential: Ontario Graduate Certificate Program Length: 2 semesters
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Program Overview

Humber’s Creative Writing – Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry graduate certificate program helps you improve your writing from the comfort of home. You’ll work one-on-one with a professional writer-mentor to improve your short stories, poems, memoir, or novel-in-progress, learning how to develop plot, character, dialogue, style and more through feedback on your own manuscript. The program is intended for those working on book-length projects, and you'll have the satisfaction of completing a large body of work which may include all or parts of a novel or memoir, a volume of short stories, or a book of poetry.
 
This year we've added a playwright to our list of available mentors. As of our Winter 2021 session, students will have the opportunity to work through a full-length play with a playwriting mentor.
 
Humber is noted for its exceptional creative writing mentors, including authors of world stature. Past mentors include Martin Amis, Peter Carey, Miriam Toews, David Mitchell, Esi Edugyan, Nino Ricci, Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Hill, Anne Michaels, Edward Albee, Ha Jin and Alistair MacLeod. Recent international authors have included Jenny Offill, Nell Freudenberger and Samantha Harvey.

This is a project-based program in which you meet the learning outcomes by working through your own manuscript.

Learning Outcomes

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Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:

  • Reflect on editorial feedback to determine core strengths and weaknesses of one’s own work.

  • Self-evaluate written work focusing on key elements of creative writing such as character, dialogue, plot, theme, setting, imagery and structure/form.

  • Apply techniques and strategies acquired through editorial feedback, self-evaluation, reading and self-directed learning to revise and improve one’s own writing.

  • Employ conventions of grammar, punctuation, spelling and other aspects of technical style within the context of narrative/poetic traditions to write in a clear and professional manner.

  • Revise and improve elements of literary style such as detail, diction, syntax, active voice, rhythm and tone to sustain reader engagement at the level of the sentence/line.

  • Manage point of view and associated issues of narrative/poetic voice such as the sociocultural identity and reliability of the narrator/speaker to create a consistent, convincing reading experience.

  • Employ a variety of research methods to support authentic, convincing writing in narrative/poetic forms.

  • Explore techniques and strategies used in published works to assess for application to one’s own writing.

  • Identify prevailing genres, forms and submission requirements present in the publishing industry and literary community to discover professional options for writers.


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Mentorship

Learn from industry professionals while earning your credential online!

Apply early to increase your chance of being paired with your preferred mentor.

Have a Question?

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section or read more on How to Apply.


September 2020 Faculty

David Bezmozgis

David Bezmozgis

David Bezmozgis, a writer and filmmaker, is the author of Natasha and Other Stories, The Free World, The Betrayers and Immigrant City.

Dennis Bock

Dennis Bock

Dennis Bock has been hailed by The Globe and Mail as “Canada’s next great novelist."

Danila Botha

Danila Botha

Danila Botha is the critically acclaimed author of two short story collections, Got No Secrets, and For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I've Known, which was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award, The Vine Awards and The ReLit Award.

Trevor Cole

Trevor Cole

An editor and writer for more than 30 years, Trevor Cole has won nine National Magazine Awards, including three gold medals.

Marina Endicott

Marina Endicott

Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads, and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Canada and Caribbean.

Kim Fu

Kim Fu

Kim Fu is the author of two novels and a collection of poetry. Her most recent novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award.

Trilby Kent

Trilby Kent

Trilby Kent was born in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in cities on both sides of the Atlantic. After completing degrees at Oxford University and The London School of Economics, she trained as a maps specialist in the rare books department at Bonhams.

John Metcalf

John Metcalf

John Metcalf is a writer and editor. He directs editorially the Porcupine’s Quill Press and also edits the critical journal Canadian Notes and Queries

Alison Pick

Alison Pick

Alison Pick is the author of the novel FAR TO GO, longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

Robert Rotenberg

Robert Rotenberg

When Robert Rotenberg was 15, he sent a short story to the New Yorker. He kept the rejection letter, on their letterhead no less, for years.

Richard Scarsbrook

Richard Scarsbrook

Richard Scarsbrook is the award-winning author of nine books: the novels Cheeseburger Subversive, Featherless Bipeds, The Monkeyface Chronicles, Nothing Man and The Purple Zero, The Indifference League, and Rockets Versus Gravity, the short story collection Destiny’s Telescope, and the poetry books Six Weeks and Apocalypse One Hundred.

Diane Schoemperlen

Diane Schoemperlen

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Diane Schoemperlen is the author of fourteen books, including 9 short story collections, 3 novels, and 2 books of literary non-fiction.

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Richard Scrimger

Richard Scrimger, the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and adults, has led writing workshops around the world. Recent novels feature an almost epic superhero and the back end of Laura Secord’s cow.

Shyam Selvadurai

Shyam Selvadurai

Shyam Selvadurai's first novel Funny Boy, won the W.H. Smith/ Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award in the US. He is the author of Cinnamon Gardens and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, and the editor of an anthology, Story-wallah! A Celebration of South Asian Fiction.

Olive Senior

Olive Senior

Olive Senior is the prizewinning author of 18 books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature. Her many literary awards include the Commonwealth Writers Prize for her first book, Summer Lightning and most recently the 2016 OCM Bocas Award for Caribbean Literature for The Pain Tree.

Sarah Sheard

Sarah Sheard

Sarah Sheard, novelist, editor, and multidisciplinary artist, has published numerous personal essays and four literary novels (Almost Japanese, The Swing Era, The Hypnotist, Krank: Love in the New Dark Times)

Antanas Sileika

Antanas Sileika

Antanas Sileika is the author of five books of fiction and a memoir. He has written extensively for newspapers and magazines. He is a winner of a National Magazine Award and has been short-listed for the Leacock Medal for Humour as well as the Toronto book Award.

Cordelia Strube

Cordelia Strube

Cordelia Strube is an accomplished playwright and the author of ten critically acclaimed novels, including Alex & ZeeTeaching Pigs to Sing, and Lemon.

Sam Wiebe

Sam Wiebe

Sam Wiebe is the author of the Vancouver crime novels Cut You DownInvisible Dead, and Last of the Independents, and the editor of the anthology Vancouver Noir.


January 2021 Faculty

David Bergen headshot

David Bergen

David Bergen has published nine novels and a collection of short stories. In 2005 he won the Giller Prize for The Time in Between. His novels have been shortlisted for the IMPAC Literary Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Giles Blunt headshot

Giles Blunt

Giles Blunt's first "Cardinal" novel, Forty Words for Sorrow, won the British Crime Writers Silver Dagger award, and the second, The Delicate Storm, won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis award for best novel, as did the latest, Until the Night.

Karen Connelly Headshot

Karen Connelly

Author of twelve books of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, Karen Connelly is a writer, educator and therapist in private practice.

Elisabeth de Mariaffi headshot

Elisabeth de Mariaffi

Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the critically acclaimed author of three books: the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated short story collection How to Get Along with Women, the literary thriller The Devil You Know, and the brand-new Hysteria, released in March, 2018.

Elizabeth J. Duncan headshot

Elizabeth J. Duncan

Elizabeth J. Duncan is the multiple award-winning author of two traditional mystery series: Penny Brannigan, set in North Wales and Shakespeare in the Catskills, set in upstate New York.

David Bergen

Adam Foulds

Adam Foulds has been the recipient of a number of literary awards, including the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, the Costa Poetry Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the South Bank Show Prize for Literature, the E. M. Forster Award, the Encore Award, and the European Union Prize For Literature.

Camilla Gibb headshot

Camilla Gibb

Camilla Gibb is the author of four novels—Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement—and has been the recipient of the Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the CBC Canadian Literary Award and has been short listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. 

Marcia Johnson

Marcia Johnson

Playwriting students will work with Marcia Johnson. Marcia is a Toronto-based actor, writer, dramaturge and audiobook director. Her most recent play (in which she also acted) had its world premiere at Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops in February 2020.

Ashley Little headshot

Ashley Little

Ashley Little has written three novels for young adults and two novels for adults. Her work has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, been a finalist for the ReLit Award, The City of Vancouver Book Award, and more.

Colin McAdam headshot

Colin McAdam

Colin McAdam has a PhD in English from Cambridge University. He has mentored writers at the Banff Centre and the University of Guelph-Humber. His first novel, Some Great Thing, won the Amazon/Books in Canada Best First Novel Award.

Pamela Mordecai headshot

Pamela Mordecai

Pamela Mordecai’s debut novel, Red Jacket, was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction award. A collection of short fiction, Pink Icing was recently released as an audiobook, read by herself, in ECW’s Bespeak Audio Editions.

Donna Morrissey

Donna Morrissey

Donna Morrissey has published six award-winning and nationally best-selling novels through Penguin Canada. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S. and England and her novel, Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize.

Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation on Georgian Bay. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies.

Dianne Warren

Dianne Warren

Dianne Warren is a fiction writer from western Canada. She is the author of six books of fiction, including the novel Cool Water, which won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 2010.

Tim Wynne-Jones

Tim Wynne-Jones

Tim Wynne-Jones is an English-Canadian author of thirty-seven books for people of all ages from picture books to young adult novels as well as three adult novels.

Alissa York

Alissa York

Alissa York’s internationally acclaimed novels include MercyEffigy (shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize), Fauna and, most recently, The Naturalist. Stories from her short fiction collection, Any Given Power, won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award.

The Advantages of Applying to Humber's Creative Writing Program

Two women speaking at a workshop panel

Summer Workshop in Creative Writing

Since 1992, the School for Writers has offered an immersive, focused workshop to jump start your creative writing. Mornings are spent in classes with one of Humber’s esteemed writing advisors, and afternoons are devoted to craft and industry talks by faculty, publishing experts and special guests. Whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced writer, there’s something for you in this six-day workshop! In 2019, the Workshop in Creative Writing runs from July 7 to 12 at Humber's Lakeshore Campus.


Workshop Rebate

The Creative Writing by Correspondence Program is a complement to the Humber Summer Workshop in Creative Writing, the two together comprising a flexible and affordable alternative to a standard low-residency MFA.

As of 2017, students who complete the Correspondence Program are eligible for a $300 rebate for the Summer Workshop and vice versa.

The rebate is valid for three calendar years; thus students who complete the Creative Writing by Correspondence program in 2019 will be able to apply their rebate for the Summer Workshop through July 2022.


Graduates Offered Advanced Standing in University of Gloucestershire Distance MA in Creative Writing

Humber Creative Writing by Correspondence graduates can work towards a master’s degree from the comfort of their own homes! Thanks to a new arrangement, graduates are eligible for advanced standing in the highly regarded University of Gloucestershire (U.K.) distance MA Creative Writing program. Furthermore, this pathway may lead to a PhD for those who qualify.


Expert Faculty

Creative Writing mentors and professors are among the most accomplished poets, novelists and memoirists working in Canada and the United States. Full-time professors include David Bezmozgis, a critically acclaimed filmmaker and the author of two novels and two short story collections, and Alissa York, an award-winning novelist and story writer with five published books to her name.

“Humber School for Writers was one of my first experiences with writing workshops. I was amazed by how my work jumped to a new level in such a short period of time due to the generosity, experience, and intelligence of my peers and mentors. I said I’d do it again, and I did! Two summers in a row.”

Madhur Anand, Author, A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes

Woman smiling at laptop

Scholarship Support for Aspiring Authors

Thanks to the dedicated support of our generous donors, the Humber School for Writers is able to offer a variety of needs-based and merit scholarships to support and foster emerging literary talent.

  • Bram & Bluma Appel Scholarship
  • By the Lake Book Club Scholarship
  • Harlequin Diverse Voices Scholarship
  • HarperCollins Writer of Promise Scholarship
  • Joe Kertes Scholarship for Creative Writing
  • Karen Hill Memorial Scholarship
  • Simon & Schuster Scholarship

All scholarships are available to Canadian residents only, and Appel scholarships are available to Ontario residents only. If you wish to apply for a scholarship, please indicate your interest on Slideroom, the website where you complete your application to the program. If you are accepted to the program, you will be contacted directly to initiate the process of providing documentation to demonstrate financial need. Those who do not provide supporting documentation will not be considered for needs-based scholarships.

If you are awarded a scholarship, payment will come some weeks after the program begins. You must make payment up front and be reimbursed later.

Your Career

The main goal of the program is to improve your writing, and publication is a possibility for some. Graduates of this program may use their writing and editing skills in a wide variety of careers and professions in addition to writing books. Some of our graduates write for newspapers, magazines, television, the web and other media. More than 300 Humber School for Writers alumni have published books. Dr. Vincent Lam, who won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his literary debut, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, is just one of our distinguished former students. Other alumni have been on the bestseller lists in Canada: Suzanne Desrochers for Bride of New France, Cathy Marie Buchanan for The Painted Girls, Shari Lapena for The Couple Next Door, and Eva Stachniak for The Chosen Maiden.

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Program Availability

START DATE LOCATION STATUS INTERNATIONAL STATUS
January 2021 Online Open Open
September 2021 Online Open Open
January 2022 Online Open Open

This program is part of:

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Every attempt is made to ensure that information contained on this website is current and accurate. Humber reserves the right to correct any error or omission, modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable or campus location at any time without prior notice or liability to users or any other Person.

On October 21, 2019, the Provincial Government of Ontario announced the renaming of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). Both names may appear on this website.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet all the requirements below in order to meet minimum program eligibility. Meeting minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission. Admission decisions will be available via MyHumber, or by email and mail. Admission decisions will not be released by phone.

Admission selection is based on the following 6 requirements:

  • Academic

    To be eligible for admission, you must possess the following:

    • A bachelor’s degree, diploma or advanced diploma

    Mature Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or other postsecondary school, and will be 19 or older as of the first day of classes. Humber will invite you for testing to demonstrate that you meet program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a mature applicant if they have not completed secondary school or attended postsecondary studies, and will be 21 or older as of the first day of classes. Mature applicants for degree programs will be required to meet course requirements at the U/M level or equivalent.

    College Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a college transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a college-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or college courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants must have an overall minimum grade point average (GPA) of 65 per cent in the program. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

    University Transfer Applicants

    Diplomas and Certificates

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility.

    Degrees

    An applicant is considered a university transfer applicant if they have completed some or all of a university-level credential. Humber may use a combination of secondary school and/or university courses and grades to determine program eligibility. Applicants are required to disclose and provide academic transcripts for all course work completed at the postsecondary level.

  • English Language Proficiency

    All applicants whose first language is not English must meet Humber’s English Language Proficiency Policy.

  • International Credit Evaluation

    Canadian citizens or permanent residents with international education are required to provide a WES or ICAS evaluation.

  • Work-in-Progress Form

  • Applicants must submit their work-in-progress form.

  • Writing Sample

  • Applicants must submit a sample of their writing that is no more than 15 pages in length. The manuscript must be prepared according to professional standards: double-spaced, and with name, title, and page number on each page.

  • Cover Letter

  • Applicants must submit a cover letter describing their project and writing experience, as well as any relevant life experience.

    Submission Instructions

INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC EQUIVALENCY

Admission equivalencies for Humber depend on your country of study. Please enter your location or choose detect my location to see the requirements for your country below.

Post-Admission Requirements

Once you have been accepted, and have confirmed your offer, you may need to complete a further set of requirements related to your program (Post-Admission Requirements).

Not available

Fees

The 2020-2021 fee for two semesters was:

  • domestic: $3,650.90
  • international: $17,027.00

Fees are subject to change.

Scholarships

Humber offers a variety of scholarships each year.

Learn more

Fees by Semester

Domestic Fees International Fees

Pathways

Pathways are academic routes that students can take to move from one credential to another.

PATHWAYS OUT TO ANOTHER PROGRAM:

TO A PARTNER INSTITUTION

Master of Arts (MA) Creative and Critical Writing (distance)

Humber College and the University of Gloucestershire (UoG) have entered into an agreement to facilitate entry from Humber's Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing – Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry program to the Masters Stage of UoG's MA Creative and Critical Writing.

International students for whom English is not their first language should demonstrate and must provide evidence that they have attained a level of English equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall.  Alternative acceptable English Language qualifications can be found at: English Language Entry Requirements.

Students admitted to UoG from Humber will be eligible to receive the international bursary. This award, and its ruling terms and conditions, is subject to change on an annual basis. For September 2020/January 2021 entry, the applicable bursary is £3,000, and will be automatically applied against tuition for successful applicants from Humber. Please note that the bursary is only available to students who are studying full-time at the UoG on campus in the UK, and completing a full degree (not available for distance learning or master's stage students).

Contact us for more information:

Shandin Rickard-Hughes
International Marketing & Student Recruitment Manager, Americas
srickardhughes@glos.ac.uk

Admission to the academic programs listed is at the sole discretion of the partner post-secondary institution. Please contact the institution for detailed admission requirements.

Contact Us

Program Specific Questions

Alissa York, program co-ordinator  
416.675.6622 ext. 3451
alissa.york@humber.ca

Admissions Questions

Domestic Students  

Phone: 416-675-5000
Email: enquiry@humber.ca

International Students  

Contact the International Centre

How to Apply

Applications to Humber are made through ontariocolleges.ca. Be sure to submit your application by the equal consideration deadline of February 1. You may apply after February 1, however, post-February 1 applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the availability of the space in the program. To check program availability refer to the Campus/Availability listing on Humber's program pages or ontariocolleges.ca.

Admissions Road Map

Apply through Ontario Colleges

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

If you’re an international student, you can apply directly to Humber via our International Centre.

Apply through the International Centre

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