Creative Writing at Anoka-Ramsey Community College


Anoka-Ramsey is a Top 10 community college in the nation, as named by the Aspen Institute. The award-winning faculty are committed to student success and deliver challenging courses in an encouraging atmosphere. With great support services, academic advising, and multicultural initiatives, students enjoy a personalized college experience and the lowest cost tuition in the state of Minnesota. Anoka-Ramsey boasts riverside campuses in Coon Rapids and Cambridge, offering beautiful places for students to socialize and study. 


One of the largest and most successful creative writing programs in the country, Anoka-Ramsey Community College offers two degrees—a Certificate and an AFA—which offer students an in-depth opportunity to study creative writing with talented faculty who are also published authors. Students enhance their public speaking, analytical thinking, written and verbal communication skills, and teamwork and editing abilities while exploring the literary genres of their choice in workshop-style classes. Both degrees can be taken fully online or seated or in a combination of formats to accommodate students’ schedules and learning styles. 

Our unique course A Writer’s Life: Paths to Publication gives students the tools they need to become professional creative writers. It covers topics including writing careers, book and magazine publication, authors’ websites, grants and book proposals, and author PR via social media. In our Manuscript Development class, students work one-on-one with an experienced writer to create a polished manuscript. We offer courses in playwriting/screenwriting and creative writing for children and young adults as well as poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Students graduate from the program with resumes and portfolios showcasing marketable skills for a variety of career paths, such as web content creation, advertising, editing, and freelance writing. 

Our AFA program also has strong transfer partnerships with Augsburg University, Metropolitan State University, Hamline University, and University of Wisconsin-Superior. Our Creative Writing Certificate is a streamlined degree that consists of our core creative writing classes without the 40-credit Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) and can be completed on its own or it can be taken in conjunction with other degrees. Both degrees help students explore their creative writing skills, build their resumes, and expand their editing abilities. We welcome all students and offer individualized support to help every student succeed and meet their creative writing goals. 


The Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) in Creative Writing degree program is intended to constitute the first two years of a baccalaureate degree program. In addition to lower division introductory coursework in Creative Writing, the 40-credit Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) is completed within the degree to facilitate transfer. Students complete a total of 60 credits to earn the AFA. 

For assistance in program planning, or to explore additional transfer options, students should schedule a time to meet with an Anoka-Ramsey academic advisor and an English faculty member. 


Required writing courses: (21 Credits, 7 courses)

ENGL 2241           Introduction to Creative Writing                3 credits 
ENGL 2261           Creative Nonfiction Writing                       3 credits 
ENGL 2262           Poetry Writing                                            3 credits 
ENGL 2263           Fiction Writing                                           3 credits 
ENGL 2281           A Writer’s Life: Paths to Publication          3 credits 
ENGL 2291           Manuscript Development                          3 credits

Choose one of the following:

ENGL 2251           Creative Writing for Stage and Screen        3 credits


ENGL 2271           Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults  3 credits 

Program Electives (9 credits, 3 classes):

Choose from these 3-credit literature courses. (These also fill Goal 6 of the MnTC.)

ENGL 2203          The Novel 
ENGL 2204          Short Stories 
ENGL 2207          Drama 
ENGL 2208          Poetry
ENGL 2209          Children’s Literature 
ENGL 2210          Global Literature 
ENGL 2220          British Literature to 1800 
ENGL 2225          British Literature since 1800 
ENGL 2230          American Literature to 1865 
ENGL 2235          American Literature since 1865

Note: As part of the 29 required credits in General Education/MnTC, students also take ENGL 1120/1121: College Writing and Critical Reading and ENGL 2202: Introduction to Literature. 


The Creative Writing certificate program provides students with a focus in the written creative arts that can include screenwriting and playwriting, the writing of creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction, and writing for children and young adults. Students must complete a certificate application and a minimum of 12 semester credits at Anoka-Ramsey. 

Creative Writing Certificate Program Requirements 
Required writing courses (7 credits, 2 courses) 
ENGL 1120/1121 Cross-Current College Writing and 
Critical Reading OR College Writing and Critical Reading    4 credits 
ENGL 2241           Introduction to Creative Writing 3 credits 

Choose two of the following (6 credits, 2 courses): 
ENGL 2261           Creative Nonfiction Writing                          3 credits 
ENGL 2262           Poetry Writing                                              3 credits
ENGL 2263           Fiction Writing                                              3 credits

 Choose two of the following (6 credits, 2 courses)

ENGL 2251:         Creative Writing for Stage and Screen           3 credits 
ENGL 2271          Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults    3 credits 
ENGL 2281          A Writer’s Life: Paths to Publication                3 credits 
ENGL 2291          Manuscript Development                                3 credits


Students in both the AFA and Certificate Creative Writing programs are connected to our vibrant literary community through our Two Rivers Reading Series (Rapids Campus) and Minnesota Writers Series (Cambridge Campus), Careers in Writing speaker series, the Creative Writing Clubs, literary magazines, and internship and volunteer opportunities. Students graduate from our degrees with greatly improved writing skills that prepare them for the job market and four-year degree programs.  

Creative Writing Clubs, The Rapids Review and Spirit River Review literary magazines, and student readings

Both campuses have active creative writing clubs that publish the Spirit River Review (Cambridge Campus) and The Rapids Review (Rapids Campus), and all students are invited to submit original works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama, and visual art for publication. Creative writing students gain editorial experience while working on the literary magazines, and students celebrate the literary magazines’ publication with a spring reading each year.  

Two Rivers Reading Series (Rapids Campus) and Minnesota Writers Series (Cambridge Campus)

Each semester The Two Rivers Reading Series and Minnesota Writers Series bring acclaimed and award-winning authors to campus. Students study these authors’ stories, novels, essays, plays, or poetry in their English courses and attend the public events to meet the author, ask questions, and have their books signed. Public events are video recorded to enable online students access to these readings and interviews. The English Department is pleased to offer these events free to Anoka-Ramsey students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the public. For more information, visit Minnesota Writers Series and The Two Rivers Reading Series.  

Careers in Writing Speakers Series

At Anoka-Ramsey, students join a vibrant community of peers and professors and learn about the marvelous literary resources in the Twin Cities. The Careers in Writing Speakers Series brings working editors, grantors, agents, writers, and content creators to meet with students to explore career pathways that utilize writing skills. Past speakers have included travel editors, Minnesota State Arts Board grantors, literary agents, screenwriters, authors, book editors, music critics, professional bloggers, cookbook authors, and more. 

Awards and Scholarships:

Anoka-Ramsey has a plethora of scholarships to support creative writers. There is the English award for those who demonstrate strong writing skills; the Dorothy Sauber Award for students who have a passion for creative writing; the Humanities Award for academic achievement in the fine arts; the Dora Keillor award for those going into teaching; and many others for academic-achieving students. 

Minnesota State Write Like Us:

Minnesota State Write Like Us 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. 


Anoka-Ramsey’s Creative Writing graduates have transferred to Hamline University, Augsburg University, University of Wisconsin—Superior, the University of Minnesota, Metropolitan State University, and many other universities. Alumni have worked as freelance writers, received MFAs in Creative Writing, and have utilized their creative writing skills in other fields. 

Julia Kramer is a screenwriter and novelist. She earned her Creative Writing AFA at Anoka-Ramsey where she participated in the Creative Writing Club, serving as Vice President. She held the position of editor-in-chief of the 2021 edition of the Rapids Review. She is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Screenwriting at the University of Nebraska Omaha and producing plenty of material for publication. 

Katrina Monroe’s short fiction and essays have been featured at Great Jones Street Magazine, Dark Comedy Productions, and The Rapids Review, among others. Her debut horror novel, They Drown Our Daughters is forthcoming from Poisoned Pen Press (Sourcebooks). They Drown Our Daughters features queer representation and has been called “haunting” and “beautifully tragic.” Monroe has worked for several years as a private investigator but promises it’s not as exciting as you think. She holds an Associate of Arts in Creative Writing from Anoka-Ramsey Community College. 

Fanaka Ndege participated in the AA program for Creative Writing at Anoka Ramsey Community College. Since being a creative writing student, Ndege (stage name “Fanaka Nation”) has been utilizing his writing experiences to create a career in music. He calls his style “Culture Rap,” a marriage between African and other world sounds with hip hop. Ndege has headlined Minnesota’s historic venue First Avenue twice, performed with rapper Soulja Boy, named “Top 10 artists to listen to from Minnesota” by The Current, appeared on some of the biggest television shows in Africa including The Churchill Show, 10 over 10, The Nation. He was winner of “Best New Artist” in 2018 via the Diaspora Awards in Dallas, Texas, and recently released an album titled “Culture Rap I: AfroTrap.” 

Hank Strandberg will complete his BFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University in December 2022. He has been placed on the Dean’s List three times during his two years there. He writes for various e-sports figures and organizations by producing scripts, articles, and business writing. Strandberg lives in Zimmerman, Minnesota.  


Anoka-Ramsey English Department faculty are accomplished writers, poets, editors, and literary critics with a wealth of books and publications in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. Our award-winning faculty are working writers who are active in the regional and national literary community. 

Katie Berg is the author of two outdoor adventure sports guidebooks for the state of Minnesota: North Shore Adventures: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Paddling from Duluth to Grand Portage, and her soon-to-be released Rock Climbing Minnesota, the only climbing guide for the state. She received her MA from University of Minnesota-Duluth, teaches English and Literature at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, and is a PCIA certified rock and ice climbing guide for Midwest Mountain Guides. 

Bill Breen received his MFA in poetry from the University of Arkansas. His poems have been published in Alaska Quarterly ReviewMeasure, and elsewhere. His work in fiction has been supported by The Loft Literary Center and the Jerome Foundation with a Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant. Breen is a 2016 recipient of the Minnesota State Board of Trustees Excellence in Teaching Award and a volunteer instructor with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. 

Melody L. Heide received her MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State, Mankato with a focus in Creative Nonfiction. Her writing has appeared on the Brevity Nonfiction blog, in Whale Road Review, Blue Lake Review, The Beard Literary Journal, Switchback Magazine, and the young adult anthology Love & Profanity: A Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life and received a residency at the Collegeville Institute. 

Kathryn Kysar is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and she edited the anthology Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. Her poems, book reviews, travel articles, and essays have been published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota Women’s Press, Great River Review, Permafrost, Mizna, The Underreview, and other magazines and anthologies. She performs with the Sonoglyph Collective, a poetry/improvisational jazz group and holds an MFA in poetry from Wichita State University. 

Paige Riehl is the author of the poetry collection Suspension (Terrapin Books, 2018) and the poetry chapbook Blood Ties (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications such as Artful Dodge, Crab Orchard Review, Water-Stone Review, Portland Review, and Meridian. She was a finalist for the 2017 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and was a 2016 and 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee. She served for many years as Poetry Editor for Midway Journal and as a volunteer poetry mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. She earned her MA in English from North Dakota State University and her MFA in Creative Writing with a focus in poetry from Hamline University. Read more about Riehl here 

Kassy Skoretz earned their BA in Creative Writing, MA in Literature, and PhD in Theatre. They have presented research at Sirens, SoTL, MATC, and International Theatre Conferences. They write plays, poems, and short fiction, in addition to academic research on performance, veterans and reintegration narratives, first generation college students, and trauma. This year, they are directing and devising a production about Long Covid. They teach writing, literature, and theatre.   

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.  

Scott Wrobel has published stories and essays in Minnesota Monthly, Great River Review, Blue Lake Review, The Rake, Pindeldyboz, Night Train, and Sententia, among other places. He is the winner of a Loft Mentor Series Award in Fiction and the Third Coast Nonfiction Contest. His book of short stories, Cul De Sac, was published in 2012 to positive critical reviews. See: Scott earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University Mankato and has been teaching English at Anoka Ramsey Community college since 2004.   

Tracy Youngblom first earned her M.A. in English from the University of St. Thomas and then went on to earn her MFA in Poetry from the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers.  She has been teaching and writing since the early 1990s. Her book publications include two poetry chapbooks: Driving to Heaven (Parallel Press) and One Bird a Day (Kelsay Books). In addition, she has published two full-length poetry collections: Growing Big (North Star Press) and Boy (forthcoming in 2023, CavanKerry Press). Besides teaching English at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, she teaches Community Ed creative writing classes and works with adult writers in the community. 


Information about the English Department at Anoka-Ramsey.   

Information about the AFA in Creative Writing.

Information about the Certificate in Creative Writing.

Visit the Anoka-Ramsey Creative Writing website or contact Scott Wrobel (763-433-1397)