Creative Writing at Century College



Century College is one of the largest and most diverse colleges in Minnesota, serving over 16,000 students each year.  The college is home to a wildlife refuge and a walking trail, providing ample space to read, write, and create.  Indoors, the college features advanced classrooms and facilities, including a beautiful Library, a supportive writing center, a brand new art gallery, and a vibrant Student Center featuring The Nest, a cozy stage that hosts literary arts events with a nearby cafe. Located in White Bear Lake, Century College offers a warm, welcoming, vibrant learning community and is a connected, engaged resource for our local communities. 


The English-Creative Writing Certificate at Century College was the first liberal arts certificate of its kind in Minnesota. It offers students a concentrated course of study in the area of creative writing, while also pursuing an associate degree of their choice. In Creative Writing courses, students read and write in a range of genres, which may include poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting. While improving their knowledge and skill in creative writing, students will work collaboratively with instructors and classmates in a workshop environment to build their body of creative work. Employer surveys indicate that the ability to write and communicate effectively are key for success in the workplace; the Creative Writing Certificate complements any career which benefits from knowledge and skill in creative writing, critical thinking, and cooperation.

The English-Creative Writing Certificate strongly believes that certificate students benefit most from completing an Associates in Arts (AA), Associates in Fine Arts (AFA), or Associates in Science (AS) degree during their time at Century College. With an associate degree, the English-Creative Writing Certificate serves as an excellent preparation for transfer students wishing to major or minor in Creative Writing at a four-year institution. We recommend working closely with Advising and Counseling regarding any transfer plans. We have course equivalency agreements established or in development with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Hamline University, MN State-Mankato, and Metro State. 


The English-Creative Writing Certificate is earned by completing 15 credits as outlined in our program guide. The English-Creative Writing Certificate is designed to be completed over the course of four semesters in conjunction with an associate degree. Students who wish to complete the English-Creative Writing Certificate on a faster track should consult with a program instructor, academic advisor, or counselor to map out their complete academic plan. Students should also consult their intended institution for any additional admissions or general education requirements.  

Creative Writing Requirements & Course Offerings

Required: One literature course Credits: 3 
Required: ENGL 1027 Creative Writing: Introduction to Creative Writing Credits: 3 

Students then select 9 credits, or three courses

ENGL 2024 - Creative Writing: Fiction Credits: 3 
ENGL 2026 - Creative Writing: Memoir & Nonfiction Credits: 3 
ENGL 2028 - Creative Writing: Poetry Credits: 3 
ENGL 2029 - Creative Writing: Screenwriting Credits: 3   


Besides classes in creative writing, Century offers students several other opportunities to get involved with the creative writing community.  

Century’s Creative Writing Club 

The Century Creative Writing Club provides an open environment for writers to share, create, and discuss their work with other members. The club plans literary events and writing workshops that support the student creative writing community. To learn more, contact Faculty Club Advisor   

Century's Visiting Author Series

Century regularly hosts visiting authors of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and other hybrid genres for private creative writing class visits and public events. We've hosted nationally acclaimed visiting authors such as Marjane Satrapi, Billy Collins, Reginald Dwayne Betts, and Thi Bui. We're so proud to host our nearby neighbors as well, including but not limited to local literary legends Lesley Nneka Arimah, Rachel Moritz, Su Smallen, Patrick Werle, Jasmin Ziegler, Anders Carlson-Wee, Erin Sharkey, Junauda Petrus, D. Allen, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Su Hwang, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin, and most recently Matt Mauch and Michael Torres.  

Century's Broadside Competition

Century's English and Art departments share many students and nurture the natural conversation between visual and literary art. Century's Broadside Contest to honor collaborative duos to develop a work of art where creative writing and 2-D meet is under development to launch in the 22-23 academic year for prizes and a featured presentation in our new campus gallery. Stay tuned for this exciting opportunity. 

Minnesota State Write Like Us

Minnesota State Write Like Us is an equity-based creative writing program at five Twin Cities metro-area community colleges: Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Century College, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Normandale Community College, and North Hennepin Community College. Write Like Us centers and celebrates the work of BIPOC writers and writing students, fostering literary mentorship and leadership as it builds a platform for shared stories, voices, and lived experiences.


Alumni from Century College’s English Department and English-Creative Writing Certificate are studying creative writing at four-year schools, publishing their work, winning awards, mentoring other writers, and going on to complete advanced degrees in a variety of fields. 

As a mixed-race Anishinaabekwe, An Garagiola was raised on Dakota Land in Imnizaska Othunwe (St. Paul, Mni Sota). Her mother, grandmas, and aunties are enrolled in the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. An blends poetry, research, and activism to reflect her lived experiences as an Indigenous Turtle Islander. An Garagiola graduated Magna Cum Laude from Century College where she earned her AA, a Certificate in Gender Studies, and an English-Creative Writing Certificate. She completed her BA in Sociology and Women’s Studies at Hamline University. Now a graduate student in the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, An’s scholarship includes social policy, tribal relations, and American Indian & Indigenous Studies. Set to complete her MA in Public Policy in 2022, she will be a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. Along with several endowed scholarships, An Garagiola was awarded two prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarships, both to complete both her undergraduate work and, later as a graduate student, to pursue an advanced degree. Her scholarship and journalism appear in peer-reviewed journals, magazines, and other media. An believes that poetry, storytelling, and art are tools needed to (re)imagine postcolonial Indigenous futurisms. Trained in creative writing and policy analysis, her work is interdisciplinary, rooted in Indigenous Feminisms and in the belief that healing happens in relationality with ourselves, others, and the land. She uses Indigenous research methods/analyses and modes of communication via cultural literary production to interrogate how colonial policies and ideologies construct, control, and suppress histories, voices, and knowledges. An will soon be seeking a home for her debut poetry collection.

DJ Hill is an award-winning poet, author, and mixed media artist. Her first full length poetry book, Homespun Mercies. garnered awards from the CIPA EVVY, IBPA Benjamin Franklin, Eric Hoffer, IPPY, Nautilus, and NYC Big Book Awards. DJ’s chapbook, Of Ash & Fire, will be available for preorder March of 2022 (release date July 2022) from Finishing Line Press. Who’s That I Hear, DJ’s first children’s book, received a gold medal from the NYC Big Book Awards in the Pre-K Picture Book category. Following her studies at Century College, DJ graduated summa cum laude from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a BFA in Creative Writing and delivered the student commencement address. DJ’s latest project, a video series titled Owlets & Co, will focus on education, empathy, and empowerment for children and their families. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her husband and labradoodle. 

Sarah Knieff graduated from Century College with her AA and English-Creative Writing Certificate, after which she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Since then, Sarah has worked as a full-time reporter for the Republican Eagle, Hudson Star Observer, Hastings Star Gazette and Cannon Falls Beacon. Sarah absolutely loves her job and the team she works with. She feels blessed to be able to write for a living and grateful to continue her passion. 

Davis Leaf completed his AA and English-Creative Writing Certificate at Century College. During his time at Century, he served as Editor-in-Chief of The Century Times – the student managed publication and a two-time winner of the Wood Duck Awards Student Leader of the Year award presented by Student Life. He was awarded the English Department’s Outstanding Student of 2019-2020 and co-lead a panel for acclaimed writer Thi Bui’s campus visit and conversation about her graphic memoir “The Best We Could Do.”  Davis’ main passion is film, which he lives and breathes, particularly the world of film analytics and screenwriting. He spends most of his leisure time watching movies, writing about movies, listening to music, and going to breweries. Davis is currently a Sociology major and a Pre-Law minor at the University of Maryland. 

Mainhia Moua (she/her/hers) is a Hmong American woman who is passionate about the intersection between literacy, language, and learning. Moua discovered the power and depth of words as she spent her childhood translating between Hmong and English, which motivated her to earn her Associate of Arts from Century College ('15) and Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from Concordia University, St. Paul (’17). She currently works in writing center and academic support settings, where she enjoys coaching and mentoring students to become confident in their voices through writing. Moua is also a writer with an interest in the intergenerational gap of the Hmong people. She has published her personal essay "My Name is Hmong" in Staring Down the Tiger: Stories of Hmong American Women, (2020, Minnesota Historical Society Press), a collection of stories about the strength and bravery of Hmong women. 

Rosetta Peters is a poet, an author, a public speaker, and an activist. She is of Yankton, Crow Creek, and Oglala descent. A procrastinator to the point of detriment and lover of the natural world, Rosetta has had her poetry published in the Yellow Medicine Review and has recently been awarded the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant 2021 to professionally record and release an album of her Spoken Word/Performance Poetry and the MRAC Next Step Grant 2021/2022 for creative support for the completion of her memoir titled, The Spider and The Rose. She completed her English-Creative Writing Certificate at Century College and now serves as a Write Like Us Mentor. 

Hillary Warolin is a Century College alum who transferred to Yale University after graduation. As an Eli Whitney student (a non-traditional transfer student at Yale) her passion for creative writing and literature that was fostered at Century, continues to lead her on the path to completing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her primary area of study is English literature, though her interests have expanded to include foreign language study and she is now working to acquire a Certificate of Advanced Language Study in Kiswahili. In addition to finishing her degree, Hillary recently started working as an Academic Strategies mentor for the Yale Prison Education Initiative, where she supports incarcerated students by connecting them with academic resources.   


Our faculty are well-published in the genres of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Most have won awards for their work and are well-respected writers and teachers in the Twin Cities literary community. 

Mike Alberti grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Minnesota. His fiction has appeared in Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, The Florida Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, One Story, and elsewhere. Mike has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Camargo Foundation, the James Merrill House, the Jentel Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the MacDowell Colony. His first book, Some People Let You Down, was awarded the 2020 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in short fiction. Mike lives in Minneapolis, where he works as the Managing Director for Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. 

Lisa Marie Brimmer is a poet, essayist and theatre artist living on Dakota and Anishinaabe-Ojibwe land in so-called Minneapolis, MN. Their work has been published in Gasher Journal, The Public Art Review, Open Rivers Journal, The Alliance of Adoption Studies and Culture Journal, Tennessee and Ishmael Reed's Konch Magazine and multiple anthologies including Fierce Lament (Red Bird Chapbooks), Walk Towards It and most recently in A Garden Of Black Joy: Global Poetry From The Edges Of Liberation And Living (Button Poetry-Wise Ink Pub. 2020). In 2019, Brimmer co-edited the anthology Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose, and Pride with John Medeiros and Andrea Jenkins. They are co-curator of Queer Voices Reading Series along with Sherrie Fernandez-Williams presented in collaboration by Quatrefoil Library and Hennepin County Library. 

Angela Coffee is a teacher, writer, and student living on Anishinaabe and Dakota land. A teacher of literature, writing, Gender Studies, and embodiment, Angela delights in cultivating spaces of wonder, care, trust, and play in the classroom and on the page. Angela is currently working on a memoir exploring bodies and stories' relationships with racial healing and justice, and her essays have been published in Pedagogies in the Flesh and Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies

Multi-genre writer Amy Fladeboe received her M.F.A. in creative writing from MSU-Mankato. She is a recipient of the 2016-2017 Loft Emerging Writers Grant and two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grants in prose supporting her work on her first novel, Let The Soil Rest. When not grueling away at that novel, she finds sanctuary writing poetry and short fiction. Her work has appeared in The Boiler Journal, Stanley The Whale, Poetry City USA, and others. She is a coordinator for the Write Like Us Program and an instructor with the Minnesota Prison Writer’s Workshop. She lives in Minneapolis, teaches English courses at Century College, and co-directs the Century College Creative Writing Certificate Program. 

Kim Gaffney (unpictured) is a lifelong learner and experienced teacher at Century College since 2006 where she teaches literature, creative writing and composition. Additionally, she has been actively involved in creating study abroad opportunities  for Century College students. Kim focuses on capturing the sights, sounds, and experiences of her frequent travels in her writing. She particularly enjoys working one-on-one with students as they progress in their creative writing, encouraging students to become comfortable with their in-class writing and risk-taking on the page as a means of self-discovery. Kim has a Masters in English from the University of St. Thomas, a Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts in French and Russian from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. She loves reading, studying foreign languages, baking bread, and writing creative non-fiction. 

Roy G. Guzmán is a Honduran poet whose work has appeared or will appear in Poetry magazine, The Rumpus, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Raised in Miami, Florida, Roy is the recipient of a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. A PhD student in Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota--where they also earned an M.F.A. in creative writing--Roy is the author of the chapbook, Restored Mural for Orlando, which raised funds for the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. Their debut collection, Catrachos, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2020. 

Caleb Klitzke earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2017. He specializes in Creative Nonfiction, especially personal essays and memoir. Two of his essays  have been published by Essay Daily. Caleb started his college career at Century College and now teaches English classes for Century. During the summers, Caleb works as Canoe Master for a YMCA camp on the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais. His latest writing is about growing up the son of a pastor in an eccentric church, masculinity, hip-hop, and whatever else fascinates him at the moment. 

Beth Mayer’s short story collection We Will Tell You Otherwise won the 2017 Hudson Prize with Black Lawrence Press and was published in July 2019. Her fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review, The Sun Magazine, and The Midway Review. Beth’s stories have been anthologized in New Stories from the Midwest (Ohio University/Swallow Press) and American Fiction (New Rivers Press). Her work was recognized by Best American Mystery Stories among “Other Distinguished Stories” and was nominated for Best of the Net 2017 by Jet Fuel Review. Beth holds an M.F.A. from Hamline University, was a finalist in The Missouri Review’s 2016 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in fiction, and was a Loft Mentor Series Winner in Fiction for 2015-16. She was voted an Outstanding Instructor by students at Century College, has served as the English Department Chair, leads the Creative Writing Work Group, founded the English-Creative Writing Certificate and now co-directs the program. 

Laurel Smith earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. Her work has appeared in College Bound Magazine; Coeval; Rock, Paper, Scissors; and Sleet Magazine. She has read for the Cracked Walnut series numerous times, and she is a member of the League of Minnesota Poets. Laurel writes in multiple genres and loves reading her work to audiences. She is interested in the ways that genres can intersect, overlap, and amplify ideas. She teaches English and creative writing at Anoka-Ramsey Community College and Century College. She lives in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.  

Stacey Wollschlager specializes in commercial genre fiction, mostly the Heroine’s Journey. She co- writes small-town, sweet with a little heat, romance books with her identical twin sister under the pen name, Ellie Rhodes. Currently, they are working on writing book three in their Deer Creek Falls series. She loves to write because everyone needs to escape from reality and laugh a little. Stacey has her B.S. in Elementary Education, an MA in Education with an emphasis in literacy and is an MA candidate in English and Creative Writing, Fiction at Southern New Hampshire University . She taught in the Reading/Student Success and English departments at Century College for 11 years. Prior to her work in higher ed, she taught elementary, middle, and high school students. Her first degree was in Advertising design which comes in handy when promoting books. She’s a fan of superhero movies, relaxing with a good book, and spending time with friends, family, and her two cats. 


For more information on the English-Creative Writing Certificate at Century College, visit our program page