The University of Illinois Creative Writing Workshop

Our workshops are dynamic, small group discussions that study, evaluate, and encourage the creative writings of student participants. Workshops are powerful learning tools that use group discussion to sharpen writing skills, enhance critical judgment, shape aesthetic vision, and prepare participants to work in a diverse community of writing professionals.

A successful workshop is founded upon strong leadership, open communication, trust, and the collegiality of its members. You help us to maintain and build strong workshops through your commitment, communication, courtesy, and ethical conduct.


Come prepared for each workshop by reading the work of your peers well beforehand.

Provide written comments that are thorough and based on the text. Give every participant your full critical attention. Giving full, honest, and well-considered feedback to each workshop participant encourages them to give the same consideration to your work.


Differing opinions are encouraged and valued in workshops. By offering your opinion and by engaging in the dialogue about creative work, you help to maintain a strong workshop, improve your critical judgment, and sharpen the skills of other participants. At the same time, examine your own pre-conceptions about what makes for good writing, and remain open to the vision of the work at hand.

A successful workshop participant must also listen and invite constructive feedback. Being defensive, being self-flagellating, or being emotionally anemic weakens the workshop and creates a barrier between the writer and the free and open feedback a workshop can offer.


Workshops function best when they are grounded on the ancient principle of reciprocity: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Behaviors that foster communication or that support, creatively engage, or inspire the members of the workshop are always encouraged.

Ethical Conduct

As creative writers, we value not only each workshop participant (including the instructor) but also the workshop tradition itself. As a result, any behavior that interferes with or harms the creative-writing community, the group dynamics of a workshop, the workshop’s instructional goals, or the productivity of its members is prohibited and can result in disciplinary action.

Intellectual Property

Recognize and honor the intellectual property of other workshop participants. Students may not distribute or publish electronically or in print the creative work of another student or the instructor without prior permission. Taking the work of another student and distributing it outside of the workshop is artistic theft and a violation of copyright.


The discussions and feedback given during workshops are for participating members only and should not be shared electronically or in print without permission of the workshop leader and the participants.


The University of Illinois has high standards of academic integrity set out in Article 1, Part 4 of the University Student Code. According to the code, using words or ideas from another source as if they were your own is plagiarism, a violation of academic integrity.

Submitting your own work for more than one course or for more than one workshop without acknowledgment can also constitute plagiarism. Ignorance of the code does not excuse infractions, so if you have questions about the definition of plagiarism, please consult the code at The University Student Code also explains the consequences of plagiarism, which can include suspension or dismissal from the university. 

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