Skip to main content

Writing the City

A detour sign

Thousands of stories begin with arrival in a city, full of trepidation or hope or maybe both. Thousands of other stories position readers as the new arrivals, offering us a virtual urban experience as we navigate characters and spaces, dangers and pleasures. Across literary genres and periods, the city is not just a setting, but also one of the most ubiquitous characters, with streets—arteries—pulsing with life-blood. Cities are thrilling. Cities are deadening. They serve as emblems of both collective potential and collective crisis. This is a hybrid course in which we engage with published works for one class every week, and workshop student creative writing in the other. Writers will include William Blake, Alicia Elliott, Mohsin Hamid, Hiromi Kawakami, Bryan Washington, and Virginia Woolf. Throughout the term students will undertake many short critical and creative exercises in many genres, and help other team members improve their writing; at the end of the course each student will undertake a more substantial writing project. 


  • Attendance & Participation (15%)
  • Weekly Writing (on onQ) (20%
  • Writers’ Aid (on onQ) (10%)
  • Portfolio (25%)
  • Final Project (30%)

**Assessments subject to change**


Level 2 or above

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74446 extension 74446


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.