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English and Creative Writing

There are many places to learn to write well at Hamilton, but nowhere better than in English classes, where great writing is the first concern every day. You may get a chance to collaborate with faculty members on research and publications, and there are grants to fund the work.

Nate Lanman '15
Nathaniel Lanman '15

A student’s shot at pure poetry

When a Hamilton College professor asked Nathaniel Lanman ’15 if he wanted to join a summer research project, the answer was yes, absolutely. “I don’t think you get many opportunities in your life to spend all your time on your writing, and that’s what this summer really was for me,” says Lanman, a creative writing major.

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Through a grant from the College, Lanman and other students in the project studied an abandoned school building in a nearby city and its significance to the community. Lanman created a series of poems inspired by interviews with residents, and the poems became the basis of a theater performance.

Here’s the short version of why he chose creative writing as his major: He is following his passion. Lanman has always felt an “inexplicable connection to creative writing,” and poetry does something for him nothing else can.
“So I guess that’s what a passion is,” he says.


Lauren Magaziner ’12 returned to the Hill in November 2014 to give an informal talk about her newly published children’s book and share advice with current students on how to make it in the publishing world.

A graduate’s progress: A book and a job at Scholastic

Lauren Magaziner ’12 wrote her recently published children’s book, The Only Thing Worse Than Witches, during her junior year at Hamilton College. During her semester abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, the old city served as her muse.

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“I was feeling pretty inspired from the witchy, cobblestone-y, spooky atmosphere of the city, and so I decided to try my hand at a witch novel of my own,” Magaziner says.

Aside from writing, Magaziner works at Scholastic’s children’s magazine department.

The Only Thing Worse Than WitchesPenguin Books published The Only Thing Worse Than Witches in August 2014, and Magaziner has another book scheduled for release with the same publisher for the summer of 2015.

She knew she wanted to write books before coming to Hamilton and chose the College because it offered her the option to major in creative writing as opposed to English. “I love that Hamilton recognizes that studying literature and writing literature require different hats,” Magaziner says.

She had an internship at HarperCollins children’s books the summer between her sophomore and junior years. In her application, she submitted as her writing samples three workshop critiques she had written for a class at Hamilton.