Young writers learn the value of craft and sound writing techniques from experienced, published authors.

Developed by professional writers, the Creative Writing program is intensive and highly challenging to ensure talent development and productivity. During their two years in the Creative Writing program, students will create short stories, poems, personal essays, and movie scripts.

The program attracts the finest young writers in South Carolina by offering a creative, supportive atmosphere and a course of study supervised by practicing, published writers. 

Creative Nonfiction  |  Fiction  |  Poetry  |  Screenwriting

Creative Writing students spend their time in small, collaborative sessions where they are constantly reading, writing, editing, and critiquing works under the guidance of practicing writers/mentors. Several times during the school year, students have the opportunity to meet with nationally-known, visiting writers.

Creative writers give two public readings a year and submit their work to a variety of state, regional and national  competitions for additional critique, publication, and awards.

Student Achievements

  • 12 students have received $10,000 Portfolio Awards in the national Scholastic Writing Competition.
  • 9 writers have been named U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, an annual honor bestowed on only 20 high school seniors nationally.
  • In the past decade, 32 Governor’s School writers were recognized as YoungArts National Finalists.
  • In 2017, a Governor’s School writer received the prestigious Thomas Wolfe Scholarship from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
  • Guest artists in the Creative Writing department have included an Oscar winner, a Tony winner, a National Book Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

When To Apply By Grade

Creative Writing students apply for the Residential High School program in the 10th grade to attend in the 11th and 12th grades.  Learn more about the application and audition process below.

Creative writing student writing in courtyard
Creative Writing students in class discussion
Creative Writing student reading book
Creative writing student giving public reading


Apply Now!

First Application Deadline: $50 application fee automatically waived if application form is submitted by November 30, 2020

Final Application Deadline: January 6, 2021

Components for Online Application Process

Inquiry & Login Credentials

Application Form

Passport-Style ID Photo

Writing Experience

Personal Essay *see details below*

Portfolio *see details below*

Art Area Recommendation

Academic Recommendation

Official High School Transcript

Current Report Card

Current Attendance Record

Guidance/Registrar Form

Personal Essay 

Finished essays will be uploaded to the application.

Write a 500-word personal essay on this topic: Describe a single, specific incident or event that has profoundly affected you as a writer. (If you attended the Governor's School summer programs for Creative Writing, you may NOT use this experience as the subject of your essay.)

This essay is an opportunity to give the Creative Writing faculty a sense of who you are as an individual. Use 12-point font, double-space, and include your name in the top right corner of the page. 500 words, maximum.

Upload the essay in Word or PDF format. Do not upload using the PAGES app.


The portfolio must contain one of the following:

  • Poetry (5 poems / 1 per page)  OR
  • Short Story (one story, no longer than five pages)

Mandatory Portfolio Format

  • Name (upper right-hand corner)
  • Page numbers (lower right-hand corner)
  • Poetry - typed and single-spaced with Times New Roman, 12-point font
  • Fiction - typed and double-spaced with Times New Roman, 12-point font

Upload the portfolio in Word or PDF format. Do not upload using the PAGES app.

Audition & Suggested Reading List

 The Residential High School Creative Writing Auditions will be held virtually this year.

Not all Residential Creative Writing applicants are selected for an audition. Faculty will evaluate application materials, portfolio submissions, grades and recommendations by mid-January to determine who will be asked to submit an Audition Interview Video. Please only submit a video if you are asked to do so.

Audition Interview Video & Submission Guidelines

Please only submit a video if you are asked to do so.

Audition Interview Video Guidelines Video Submission Guidelines

Tips for the Audition Interview Video

Be yourself. Be honest. We want to know who you are.

We accept students who are passionate about writing and passionate about strengthening their talents as a writer. If you seem apathetic, or if you say things like, "My mom made me apply" or "I'm just looking for a way to get out of the house," our program may not be the best fit for you. 

If you need a list of contemporary poets and fiction writers, take a look at the Suggested Reading List we've compiled. Check out some of the authors and tell us what you think about them. P.S. - know the names of the authors you have read.

You'll respond to the question: How often do you write? Tip: The correct answer is not, "When I'm really sad or bummed out." Be familiar with your own work.

Suggested Reading List

The Creative Writing program is as focused on reading as it is on writing, and the following link provides a list of suggested reading. Not sure where to start? Pick an author at random and start reading. Or, research a few authors to see who sparks your interest and start reading.

Suggested Reading List 

When you find authors you like, research to see what all they have written. Do they only write fiction or do they also write poetry or non-fiction? Read some of everything so you learn what you like and don't like. Also, find out who your favorite authors like to read and read works by those authors.