The Creative Writing curriculum enables you to explore all literary genres in workshops for poetry, prose, and dramatic writing. One-on-one tutorials will guide you through your independent journey of self-discovery. You can also collaborate with students from other IAA departments to see your work on the stage or screen, and share your work with other writers through our literary journal and public readings. Our regular faculty and frequent distinguished guest teachers will encourage you to take the risks that lead to authentic creativity.
- Parallax, Idyllwild Arts Academy’s own student-edited artbook and literary magazine
- “Coffee house” readings and spoken-word performances
- Working with prominent composers when they premier their works at Idyllwild Arts
- Field trips to community and cultural events
Hear about the genesis of one Idyllwild Arts student’s story,
from initial idea to award-winning publication.
- Fiction and Poetry Workshop
- Advanced Fiction and Poetry Workshop
- Literature and the Writer
- Author Seminar
- Multi Genre Workshop
- Senior Seminar
- Playwriting/Performance Workshop
- Screenwriting/TV Writing Workshop
- Novel Writing Workshop
- Creative Nonfiction Workshop
- Advanced Grammar
- Individual Tutorial
- Graphic Storytelling
- Young Writer’s Workshop (ages 11 – 13)
- Fiction Workshop (ages 13 – 18)
- Poetry Workshop (ages 13 – 18)
Claudia Rankine, National Book Critics Circle Award, Los Angeles Times Book Award, and NAACP Image Award winner for Citizen: An American Lyric; author of Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; professor of Creative Writing at Yale University, Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander, Paint it Black, and Revolution of Marina M.
Jane Wong, author of Overpour, published in Best American Poetry series, professor at Western Washington University
Allison Benis White, author of Self-Portrait with Crayon, Please Bury Me in This, Small Porcelain Head, professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside
Natashia Deon, author of Grace, practicing attorney, law professor, UCLA Creative Writing professor
William Lucas Walker is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer whose television credits include Frasier, Will & Grace and Roseanne. He co-created the critically-acclaimed one-hour Showtime comedy series The Chris Isaak Show. He regularly blogs for The Huffington Post in his column Spilled Milk, the first recurring humor column by a gay parent to appear in a major U.S. publication.
Ruth McKee is a founding member of the Ovation-Award winning theatre company Chalk Rep, and serves as the Literary Manager for the Black Dahlia Theatre. She is a member of the Los Angeles Playwrights Union, and teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Cypress College and the California Summer School of the Arts.
Kazim Ali, poet, novelist, essayist: Orange Alert (University of Michigan Press 2010) The Far Mosque (Alice James Books 2005), The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions 2008), The Disappearance of Seth (Etruscan Press 2009), Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (Wesleyan 2009), Quinn’s Passage (BlazeVox Books 2005). Co-founder: Nightboat Books. Recipient of Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. Poetry featured in Best American Poetry. Columnist for the American Poetry Review. Contributing editor for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Writer’s Chronicle. Professor at Oberlin College.
Zach Savich, poet: Full Catastrophe Living (University of Iowa Press 2009, winner of the 2008 Iowa Poetry Prize and recipient of a New American Poet honor from the Poetry Society of America), Annulments(University Press of Colorado 2010, winner of the 2010 Colorado Prize for Poetry). A chapbook, The Man Who Lost His Head, will be published by Omnidawn. Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
David Shook, poet, translator, reviewer, editor: co-founder and managing editor of Molossus: an online broadside of world literature. Poetry, translations, and criticism have appeared in Oxford Magazine, Poetry, PN Review, World Literature Today, and many other publications. A chapbook of his translations of Isthmus Zapotec poet Víctor Terán is available from the Poetry Translation Centre. Idyllwild Arts alum.
Chase Twichell, poet, publisher: Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), The Snow Watcher (Ontario Review Press, 1998), The Ghost of Eden (Ontario Review Press, 1995), Perdido (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1991), Northern Spy: Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981), Dog Language (Copper Canyon Press, 2005),The Odds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986). Editor: The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach (edited with Robin Behn: HarperPernnial, 1992),founder of Ausable Press. Winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, among others.
Lehua Taitano, fiction writer, poet: appalachiapacific (Merriam-Frontier award-winning chapbook, University of Montana), A Bell Made of Stones (forthcoming from TinFish Press). Featured in: The Fiction at Work Bi-Annual Report, USO’s on Freeways: Anthology of Pacific Island Writers in/from the U.S., Micronesia Anthology: Indigenous Writers of Micronesia, and Transpacific Poetics.
Oliver Mayer, playwright: Author of over twenty plays, including his two newest plays, Fortune is a Woman and Members Only, the sequel to his groundbreaking play Blade to the Heat. Professor at USC.
Chard deNiord, poet: The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010), Night Mowing (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). Associate professor at Providence College.
Alba Cruz Hacker, poet, translator: No Honey For Wild Beasts (Plain View Press, 2008). Served as Managing and Poetry Editor for The Pacific Review and as a Faculty Advisor for The Coachella Review and Planet Mexicali Magazine.
Daniel Rabuzzi, novelist: The Choir Boats (ChiZine, 2009), The Indigo Pheasant (ChiZine 2012). Executive at Year Up in New York City.
- American University
- Bard College
- Bennington College
- Case Western Reserve University
- Chapman University
- Emerson College
- Hendrix College
- Kenyon College
- Mills College
- New York University
- Reed College
- Sarah Lawrence College
- Sewanee: The University of the South
- St. John’s College
- UC Berkeley
- UC Irvine
- University of Iowa
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- University of Montana
- University of St. Andrews, Scotland
Parallax Literary Magazine has been published by the Creative Writing department of Idyllwild Arts Academy since 1997. Created, designed, and run by students, Parallax has always championed the high school writer by publishing the best of Idyllwild students’ creative writing and visual art.Parallax Online publishes the best work by high school students around the globe. Work is selected, edited and published by Idyllwild Arts Creative Writers.
Idyllwild Arts Academy Contest Guidelines
The Fall Contest Deadline is December 10, 2020
1st place winner – Boarding = $25,000
1st place winner – Day = $10,000
2nd place winner – Boarding = $15,000
2nd place winner – Day = $5,000
Once finalists are chosen, they will be asked to apply to Idyllwild Arts Academy; upon acceptance winner will receive their award as specified above. Additional need-based aid may be provided. All finalists will be considered for admission and need-based aid.
- Open to high school students going into 9-12 grade
- Submit one story or up to three poems. Double-space fiction. Use a readable font. Include page numbers. Please submit files as .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf.
- Do not include your name or contact information on the story or poem. You will include this information in the online submission form.
- First page of manuscript should include the title only.
Winners will be chosen by Idyllwild Arts Academy faculty. If no works meet the judges’ criteria, Idyllwild Arts Academy reserves the right to select no winner and offer no scholarship.
Note: If you miss our contest deadline, we will have another contest in the future. Please sign up to be notified of future contests by sending an email with “Future Contests” in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org
1st place winner
2nd place winner
The Creative Writing major encourages the creative powers of young writers, teaches skills and techniques, introduces the discipline of close reading and practical criticism, and prepares students for college and the many paths a professional writing life may take. Creative Writing majors study literary history, learn to think critically, and experience literary creation and revision firsthand.
Candidates must submit a portfolio that includes several representative writing samples. The portfolio must include some poetry and fiction, but may also include work from other genres such as nonfiction and dramatic writing. The submission should be 10-20 pages total. Applicants are evaluated on overall academic achievement as well as writing skills and experience. Due to the large amount of reading required, applicants should have a high level of reading comprehension.
For specific questions regarding the Creative Writing Admission Process, please contact:
Christy Wilke at 951.468.7223 or email@example.com
Writing at Idyllwild is an exploratory, self-motivated process. The teachers are there to guide you, but when it comes down to it, you’re in charge of what you create, and in that way, anything and everything you do becomes yours. You read, write, and think until your brain stops working. When you’re up at some ungodly hour of the morning but still can’t sleep because you’re repeating nonsense to yourself in the hopes it’ll turn into a piece of literature, the experience brings you near insanity. Then, though, there’s a break, the words and ideas flow, and you’re rewarded for your perseverance. The writing program at Idyllwild taught me try everything, and worry about taste and preference later. Risk is the greatest component to that education.
– Isaac Dwyer, Class of 2013, Creative Writing
Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Creative Writing teachers have had theatrical work performed at the Kennedy Center, published a full-length book of essays with HarperCollins, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, published books of poetry, and published short fiction in The Kenyon Review, Tin House, New South, The Southeast Review, River Styx, and elsewhere.
Patrick Farrell ‘97
Web Content Coordinator
Molly Mapel ‘01
Culture Coach at Mendocino Farms
Matt Gray ‘01
Rocky Mountain Innovation Lab
Jasmine Johan ‘03
Senior Executive in Social Innovation
David Shook ‘04
Poet, translator, and editor
Zack Kaplan ‘07
Coordinator for International Relations at
Niigata, Japan – Foreign Affairs Division
Amrita Khalid ‘07
Technology & Politics Reporter
Kathleen Jones ‘08
Playwright, actor, co-founder of Good Pilgrim theatre company
Jake Tapleshay ‘09
Custom Content Editor, IGN video game
and entertainment media company