Suggested Reading for Creative Writing Applicants

Thank you for your interest in the Governor's School's Creative Writing programs. These recommendations, suggestions, and tips are here to provide applicants with support and guidance. Questions? Contact us at

Residential High School: Suggested Reading

    ► Best American Essays (annual)
    ► Best American Essays of the Century, Oates, ed.
    ► In Short, Kitchen and Jones, eds.
    ► The Best of Brevity, Bossiere and Moore, eds.

    ► Best New Poets Anthology
    ► Best American Poetry Anthology
    ► The Poetry Foundation:
    ► Academy of American Poets:
    ► American Poetry Review:

    ► Best American Short Stories
    ► O. Henry Prize Stories
    ► The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories
    ► Pen America Best Debut Short Stories
    ► The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories
    ► WigLeaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions:

Summer Programs: Suggested Reading & Writing Tips

Firstly, read all instructions with care while applying. It's crucial to thoroughly go through the application guidelines to ensure you understand the requirements and provide all the necessary information.


► The biggest tip of all is to read what you genuinely enjoy! Whether it's fantasy, mystery, poetry, or any other genre, immersing yourself in books that captivate your interest will not only fuel your creativity but also expose you to different writing styles, genres, and perspectives, enhancing your understanding of storytelling.
► Chat with a librarian: Librarians are a wealth of knowledge and can guide you toward books and resources that align with your interests and goals. Don't hesitate to reach out to them for recommendations or assistance with research. They can help you discover new authors and expand your literary horizons. 
► Still not sure what to read? Check out the SC Association of School Librarians Book Awards Lists


► Read your work aloud: This is the number one tip for writers! Reading your writing aloud helps you identify awkward phrasing, pacing issues, and areas that might need improvement. It also allows you to hear the flow and rhythm of your words.
► Use specific details: Instead of using generic descriptions, incorporate specific details in your writing. For example, instead of saying "a car," you could say "a sleek Camaro." Specific details paint a vivid picture and engage the reader's imagination.
► Give yourself time before revising: After finishing a piece of writing, set it aside for a while before revisiting it. This allows you to approach it with fresh eyes and a new perspective, making it easier to spot areas for improvement.
► Save draft stages while typing: When working on a computer, save your drafts at different stages of your writing process. This way, you can easily go back and compare revisions, track your progress, and learn from previous versions.
► Practice active listening: Check out the "Poetry Unbound" podcast. It offers a wonderful opportunity to engage with poetry and enhance your understanding of the craft. Active listening to spoken word can inspire your writing and spark new ideas.

These suggestions and tips are meant to encourage and guide you. Use them as a starting point to cultivate your creativity and refine your writing skills!