Welcome to the Department of Creative Writing

The mission of the Department of Creative Writing is to make our writers attentive readers of the literatures of the world and socially aware members of society, who can use writing for self-expression, explorations of the possibilities of the medium, as well as in service of social causes and concerns.

Why Creative Writing at SF State?

In Creative Writing classes, students work with an active, publishing faculty. They learn by vigorous practice; by focused studies of craft; and by extensive reading, analysis and discussion of their work, as well as that of published authors.

Our well-published and well-recognized faculty teach in our undergraduate, masters and masters of fine arts program, in which they guide students in the production and revision of their craft in creative nonfiction, fiction, playwriting, poetry and literary translation. Learn more about our faculty.

A great many of our students, and alumni go on to publish imaginative work of distinction; many others are in positions of leadership in publishing firms, foundations and art organizations. View our extensive list of alumni publications.


Professor Tony Foster. Photo by Erica Kaufman.

Endowed Chair Dr. Tonya Foster Wins 2023 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry!

Congratulations to Professor Foster! Read more about the award and Dr. Foster here

Professor Caro De Robertis in an off-white blazer, back top, and heavy chain necklace.

Congratulations, Caro De Robertis, John Passos Prize Winner!

Professor De Robertis’ named John Dos Passos Prize winner. Read more about the award!

Tomorrow in Shanghai Book cover

Tomorrow in Shanghai long-listed for the Story Prize

Tomorrow in Shanghai long listed for the Story Prize. Congratulations to Professor Chai! 

Michelle Carter, Nona Caspers, Matthew Davison, Junse Kim & Anne Galjour carrying sings that read Chop from the top; chop the top raise the floor 2% is tiny we want more On Strike; CFA On Strike

Strike! December 5th Action on SF State Campus



Trans Brilliance, Trans Futures: Leading Writers Speak Out is a Creative Writing Department virtual panel featuring three acclaimed trans writers: Julián Delgado Lopera (Lamba Award-winning author of "Fiebre Tropical"), Jo Livingstone (author and critic, winner of the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics’ Circle) and Denne Michele Norris (editor-in-chief of "Electric Literature" and author of the forthcoming novel, "When the Harvest Comes"). Moderated by Professor Caro De Robertis (John Dos Passos Prize for Literature-winning author of "The President and the Frog" and "Cantoras") Co-hosted by Creative Writing Department Acting Chair, Prof. May-lee Chai

The What’s Next Panel discusses the variety of pathways in which students might apply their Creative Writing degree. Writers Matt Ortile, Lydia Jen, Trevaughn Roach-Carter, Emily Hunt Kivel and Matthew Clark Davison share aspects of their personal writing journey post-graduation.

SF State Creative Writing Department Virtual Panel M.A. or M.F.A.: Q & A Thursday, October 26th, 2023, from 1 - 2 p.m.; featuring M.F.A. Candidates Gretchen Cion, Billy Gong & Ryan Jones and hosted by Professor and Graduate Coordinator May-lee Chai

The Department of Creative Writing presents a virtual panel of four distinguished authors describing their own pathways to publication in different genres of writing, including first publications, how they determine where and with whom they'd like to be published, working across genres, advice for emerging authors, etc. with a Q&A from audience members.

Hasti Jafari, Class of 2023 Commencement Speech

Hasti Jafari, recent graduate with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, was the class of 2023 graduate student selected to represent classmates in the College of Liberal & Creative Arts during Commencement.

Since coming to SF State from Iran, playwright and theatre artist Hasti Jafari has been extraordinarily active in the Creative Writing Department — whether they are creating a series of zines on the Jina revolution in Iran (also known as the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement), writing comedic plays and creative nonfiction, volunteering or teaching.