- Aspiring writers can spend a month honing their craft in Paris, Florence, or New York City.
- These summer programs are open to current NYU undergrads as well as visiting students.
- Writers immerse themselves in their cities and learn from leading literary and creative minds.
Writers draw inspiration from their own experiences, and for many, global cities become their muse. At NYU, aspiring poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers can enroll in a monthlong immersive summer program through the College of Arts and Science. Participants choose between Paris, Florence, and New York City, and then hone their creative writing skills against the backdrop of an iconic city. Below, three aspiring wordsmiths share their experiences living a writer’s life.
Enjoy a Moveable Feast in Paris
NYU English and American Literature major Isean Bhalla chose to study in Paris because a friend completed the program and loved it. Their endorsement? “‘It was the greatest month of my life,’ word for word,” Isean recalls. “Plus, one does not say no to Paris. Ever.” Reflecting back, Isean credits growing as a creative writer to the program’s high-quality faculty and “excellent” nightly readings from “world-class writers.” “It gave me a greater understanding of my own voice as well as things I want to write about in the future,” Isean affirms.
Most importantly, however, Writers in Paris connected Isean to an inspiring community that was rich in writing talent and friendship. “The program put me in constant contact with other writers who were better than I was. They pushed me in ways I couldn’t. Being around writers 24/7 doesn’t sound like it’s that important, but I found it more stimulating for my writing than anything else. That’s all anyone ever talked about or thought about. So we’d feed off each other and get better.” And, of course, being in Paris didn’t hurt. Isean says, “Paris is a muse; Paris has always been a muse; and I suspect Paris will always be a muse.”
Get a Room with a View in Florence
Katherine Ertman always considered writing a hobby, but after attending Writers in Florence, she realized it could be a career. The NYU Vocal Performance major is training to be an opera singer, but in Florence, she found that “writing my own stories instead of performing stories written by others was a refreshing experience.” In fact, Katherine spent the past summer completing a Creative Writing minor by enrolling in both Writers in Florence and Writers in Paris. “It seemed like an amazing opportunity to complete all 16 credits while exploring two inspiring European cities,” she explains.
In Florence Katherine drew inspiration from a day trip to Castello di Fosdinovo, a Tuscan medieval castle. In Paris she attended readings by renowned authors outside the iconic Shakespeare and Company bookstore. “The locations really influenced me, and I ended up writing a few stories set in both locations,” Katherine says. In the end, she urges anyone interested to enroll, even if they’ve never shared their creative writing with others. “Just try it!” she exclaims. “Writing was a hobby for me, and I went in without any prior workshop experience. Also, I was intimidated because I’m not an English major. However, my fears were unfounded because the faculty and students alike were so supportive. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
A Writer Grows in New York City
Esmé Warmuth grew up close to New York City, admiring the city from afar but never spending much time there. So when the English major learned that she could join NYU’s Writers in New York program as a visiting student, she jumped at the chance. “I’ve been a longtime admirer of NYU’s creative writing faculty,” she adds. Living in Greenwich Village, Esmé connected with published authors, literary agents, and magazine editors, gaining valuable professional experience. She particularly enjoyed a panel with program alumni. “It was helpful to hear from authors who had started where we were and wound up with book deals, jobs teaching creative writing, and overall successful careers,” she explains.
During her month in New York City, Esmé sharpened her skills as a writer and gained confidence in her abilities. “Receiving, giving, and listening to advice in class helped me grow my craft and gave me the opportunity to share my writing with a receptive and positive audience,” she says. All in all, the experience was better than she could have imagined. “The Writers in New York program was like nothing I ever experienced before,” she concludes. “Being among students my age who were just as passionate about books and writing as I am was wonderful. Plus, everyone came in with a great attitude and a willingness to learn. I’m very grateful.”