HOUSTON'S CREATIVE WORKFORCE: CREATIVE WRITING
Kristen Turner, Communications Intern
While creative industries and occupations within Houston have steadily grown over the last several years, the multiple creative writing programs throughout the city have been a cornerstone of this expansion. Although most may not consider Houston a hub for creative writing, the many awarded poets, novelists, and alike who live in our city can easily disapprove the merit of this statement.
For starters, the University of Houston offers both a Master of Fine Arts degree and Ph.D. in Creative Writing. The Ph.D. program accepts 20 new students each year from around the world, focusing on writers from 3 different chosen genres for the year. While the emphasis of the program is on creative writing and literary study, all have the opportunity to participate in countless workshops, reading series’, and not to mention, have access to a large community of writers throughout the city. Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, a partially student-run publication, is housed within the University’s graduate Creative Writing Program. Both graduate and undergraduates are given opportunities to write, edit, and experience what publishing is like in a nationally syndicated magazine. Guided by their prestigious faculty and Director, James Kastely, the students within the University of Houston’s creative writing program undoubtedly represent the bright future of creative writers within the city.
While creative writing education is readily available throughout our higher educational institutions, it is also important to mention the countless nonprofit writing-oriented organizations that exist within our city limits. Writers in the Schools, an organization founded with the mission “to engage children in the pleasure and power of reading and writing” offers an array of writing workshops available to K-12 children. Similarly, through their WITS Collaborative program they offer lesson planning and classroom co-teaching, in order to enhance how writing is being taught throughout the city. Other notable writing organizations include Writespace Houston, Inprint Houston, and Houston Writers Guild. The abundance of readily accessible writing programs throughout the city, furthermore prove that the creative writing scene in Houston is both distinguished and alive.
The creative sector is a critical element of both creative and traditional businesses and it's no wonder that one can see a connection between the growth of businesses and the growth of creative occupations. Through Houston’s focus on creativity throughout the city and continued effort to distinguish itself as a city of opportunities for these individuals, we are able to compete with other well-recognized creative cities and in effect draw a consortium of talent. As creative writing represents one of the major cornerstones of Houston's creative economy, the caliber of programs represented throughout our community give hope to the fact that this growth and recognition will continue.