Department of Literature and Writing

The study of literature and writing has a number of goals: to familiarize our students with the work of important writers; to introduce them to the individual and cultural values, ideas, debates, and insights woven into literature; to sharpen their skills as writers and creative thinkers.

Faculty and Student working together

Discover Your Voice

Whether you aim to study literature or create your own written works, repeated practice in speaking, thinking, and writing about literature is a way of discovering your own voice, developing your skills of critical analysis, and gain confidence in yourself as an independent thinker.

Basic Disciplinary Skills

Students will be able to read closely and critically, write critical essays driven by their own insights in conversation with those of published scholars, do research independently, reflect critically on their own analytical thinking, intelligently about their insights in discussions or formal presentations.

Basic Disciplinary Content

Students will be able to think about literature on the basis of a reasonably broad knowledge of individual literary works, literary history in different periods (both British and American), and literary or critical theories.

Critical-Historical Awareness

Students will be able to discuss how literary works fit into the context of their times and grow out of a society with a particular history and politics. Students will be able to discern the complex relationship of representation to issues of power in relation to race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Life Skills after Graduation

Students will be able to write insightfully, read closely, think critically, and do independent research in ways that serve them after graduation, in a variety of career paths or further degree programs. They will be especially aware of the power of language and discourse to shape thought and action.

Caring about Literature as Art

Students will be able to recognize, appreciate, and express original insights regarding the artistry of literary works. Some will be able to pursue the creation of such art works on their own.

Self shot of Tracy K. Smith

Robert M. Gay Memorial Symposium

The Simmons University Department of Literature & Writing held a poetry reading by Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith on Thursday, Apr 27, 2023.

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Academic Campus under a blue sky

Fall 2023 Literature and Writing Courses

Learn more about the Department of Literature and Writing's courses for Fall 2023.

Fall 2023 Courses

Learn More About The Department of Literature & Writing

Student Groups

Learn more about the Literature and Writing Liaison and the student literary magazine, Sidelines

Student Work

View examples of some of the wonderful work our students have created.

Robert M. Gay Memorial Lecture

Hosted by The Department of Literature & Writing and the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities. Co-sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships and Eileen Friars '72.

Faculty Highlights

Learn more about the the Department of Literature and Writing faculty.

Literature & Writing in the News

Sex and the City Cast

Professor Suzanne Leonard Discusses “Sex and the City’s” Toxic Masculinity in Los Angeles Times

“Audiences [today] are much more aware of the dangers of toxic masculinity, and that doesn't read as sexy anymore. I think you have more sophisticated feminist viewers,” says Leonard.

A basic map of Haiti

Assistant Professor Patrick Sylvain Offers Insights into Crisis in Haiti

After armed groups overran Port-au-Prince, thereby displacing thousands of residents and hindering access to food, Haiti’s government declared a state of emergency on March 4, 2024. According to Sylvain, Haiti must cultivate strong leadership to overcome the current crisis.

Lawrence L. Langer

Remembering Professor Emeritus Lawrence “Larry” Langer

The recent passing of beloved Professor Emeritus of English Lawrence “Larry” Langer has deeply saddened everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him as a colleague, teacher, and mentor during a distinguished Simmons career that spanned over three decades.

Headshot of Suzanne Leonard

Why the World Needs Simmons: Insights on Contemporary Feminism from Professor Suzanne Leonard

Suzanne Leonard , Professor of Literature and Writing, and the director of the MA in Gender and Cultural Studies, teaches courses on Feminist Media Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and American Literature at Simmons. The co-editor of Imagining We in...

Photo of Sheldon George

Professor of Literature and Writing Sheldon George Discusses Innovations of Black Women Writers

Professor and Department Chair Sheldon George has diverse research and teaching interests in literary and cultural theory, race, and psychoanalysis. He spoke with us about his new scholarship that explores Black women authors from around the world, as well as...

Simmons MCB in Fall

Passionate Leaders Project: Fall 2022 Cohort

The Passionate Leaders Project (PLP) supports undergraduate students by funding research opportunities that transcend traditional coursework. Participants of the PLP develop research and critical thinking skills and bring the insights of academia to real world issues. This year’s cohort addresses mental health, neuroscience, environmental science, the foster care system, and technology.

Evelyn Bernard '20

Evelyn Bernard ’20 Inspires Young Students as Montessori School Teacher

Recent graduate Evelyn Bernard shares her experience teaching at a Montessori school, which introduces students to an ethical worldview at a young age. Tell us about the kind of work that you do. I am a lead Children's House teacher...


Adjunct Professor Anna Staniszewski ’06MAMFA on Fairy Tales and Writing Magic 

Anna Staniszewski ’06MAMFA teaches courses on writing and children’s literature and is the author of over twenty books for young readers, including the novels The Wonder of Wildflowers and Clique Here; the picture books Dogosaurus Rex and Beast in Show; and the Once Upon a Fairy Tale chapter book series.

Sheldon George photo

Sheldon George

Professor and Department Chair

Renee Bergland photo

Renee Bergland


Pamela Bromberg photo

Pamela Bromberg


Photo of Kelly Hager

Kelly Hager

Professor and Interim Dean of the Undergraduate Program

Suzanne Leonard photo

Suzanne Leonard


Farooz Rather Headshot

Farooz Rather

Assistant Teaching Professor

Photo of Patrick Sylvain

Patrick Sylvain

Assistant Professor

Professor Emeriti Afaa Weaver

Afaa Weaver

Professor Emeritus

Richard Wollman photo

Richard Wollman


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