Anna Sheffer

Class of 2015, BFA in Creative Writing, BA in Literature

Anna Sheffer

What was your favorite part of studying Creative Writing at UE?

The best part about studying creative writing at UE was the community. Class sizes are capped at 15, generally, so I really got to know my professors and my classmates. Department barbecues at professors’ homes, workshops at Turoni’s Pizza, and chatting together at student and visitor readings made the creative writing department feel like a family rather than just an academic department. I never felt too intimidated to ask my professors for advice, and I could always tell that they respected me and my work.

What did you experience in UE’s CRW department that feels special/unique to our program?

Because UE is such a small school, the opportunities available to creative writing majors are amazing, and I got to do so many things that others don’t do until grad school. In college, I worked for the school’s magazine, was an intern for the poetry journal Measure, and was a member of Sigma Tau Delta. I also had ample opportunities to present both academic and creative work in on- and off-campus conferences. One of my favorite experiences at UE was participating in the Wahnita DeLong workshop, where a visiting writer and a small group of students give feedback on student work. The creative writing program at UE really challenged me and helped me grow as a writer, and I think that’s what makes it so special.

What was your favorite Creative Writing class and why?

My favorite writing class was probably Professor McMullan’s Young Adult Fiction class. I’d never considered writing YA fiction before, but I enjoyed the whole process of planning and drafting a YA novel, and I was really happy with my finished work. I also really enjoyed Copyediting with Professor Griffith and Norse Mythology with Dr. Caldwell because in both cases the professors made the course work so interesting. But I enjoyed pretty much all of my writing and literature classes.

What are you up to now?

I just returned to America after two years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. On JET, I co-taught English in public Japanese high schools with Japanese teachers. JET was a great opportunity to live and work in another culture, and having majored in writing definitely helped me as an assistant teacher. I also wrote a couple of travel articles when I was abroad. Now I’m looking for work in copyediting or writing, and even though I’m not planning to continue teaching English as a foreign language, I still feel my time on JET was worthwhile.

As far as writing goes, I haven’t been too active, but I recently published an essay about The Handmaid’s Tale on the site Electric Literature.

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