Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Creative Writing Club enables high school authors

Alyssa Hubbard thought she would study history, perhaps at the University of Chicago, and she was almost certain she wanted go to law school afterwards.

It was not until her junior year at Brookwood High School, when an AP English teacher suggested she take part in a creative writing program offered to high school students at The University of Alabama, that she finally began to second guess her plans. She loved to write and did so often, but she had long since given up any serious aspirations.

With an air of indifference, she followed the teacher’s advice and joined the Creative Writing Club, figuring if nothing else it would at least be worth checking out.

“It was an eye-opening experience for me,” Hubbard said. “Writing was what made me happy. Thankfully I was able to get on campus with the CWC and fell in love with the University.”

After graduating last year, Hubbard enrolled at the Capstone and chose an English major and creative writing minor. Since then she has also submitted a few manuscripts for journal publication.

“I can thank the CWC for many of the manuscripts I sent out – their workshops and topics led to the manuscripts’ creation and inspired me to work on them further,” she said.

Stories like Hubbard’s are exactly what University of Alabama professor of English Robin Behn, hoped to inspire when she created the CWC in 2004, and she hopes to inspire more when the spring component of the program begins Wednesday, January 30.

“For some, like Alyssa, the CWC is an entry into studying creative writing at the college level,” Behn said.

When a student signs up for the CWC, they enter a free 12-week program and meet twice a week in Morgan Hall. Graduate students in the University’s master of fine arts in writing program guide them in exploring literary genres from poetry to detective fiction. The CWC includes a spring and summer component, and at the end of each, the students gather to read their new writing, which they combine into an anthology.

“The kids get to know other kids who also like reading and writing,” Behn said. “We emphasize creativity, not competition. We want the CWC to be a place where you can explore intriguing, new and sometimes zany ways of using language for artistic ends.”

Christopher McCarter, an MFA student at the University, said this spring will be his second time volunteering with the CWC. He said he experiments most often with writing poetry and plays, something he hopes to incorporate in his lesson plans for the students.

“A lot of them write on their own and will come in and have stuff and want to talk about it,” McCarter said. “They already come in with a lot of interests, so our job is exposing them to new things. I think what it does is prepare them for college. A lot of them are seniors and then come to school here.”

The CWC is sponsored by the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, the UA College of Arts and Sciences, the UA Department of English and the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Registration for the summer component will begin in April. To learn more visit

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