A day in the life
Jenna Harvie (King's)
Workshops can seem intimidating at first. But you learn that hearing criticism about your work is actually a good thing.
Jenna Harvie first took a creative writing class back in high school. “It sparked my interest in writing. So when I found out about Dal’s Creative Writing program, I was like, ‘yes!’” she says, with a grin and a little fist pump.
Jenna started out in the Foundation Year Program (FYP) at the University of King’s College, then declared English her major and started taking classes at Dal. Now, she’s about to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English and Creative Writing. “I’ve definitely felt at home in the Creative Writing program,” she says.
What happens in a creative writing class? “This year, we had one three-hour class per week. We e-mailed our work to each other the Friday before class, wrote a page of critique, and then discussed the work in class,” Jenna explains.
“It was so helpful! And Shashi Bhat was an amazing professor,” she says. “Everyone was very blunt, so it was a little bit scary. But the feedback was very nice to hear. You don’t want people only to tell you they like it—you want to grow.”
After graduating, Jenna will continue to develop as a writer: she and some workshop classmates are forming a writing group. She plans to keep working on the series of three science-fiction novels she workshopped in creative writing classes.
Jenna has some advice for students hesitant to have their work read in class: “Just do it!” she laughs.
“And take advantage of the writer in residence,” Jenna recommends. “Workshops with them were so incredible—I was blown away because they have so much experience.”
Jenna also got to see another side of the writing process, working on two student-run journals: Fathom, for creative writing, and Verso, for essays. “I’d love to be editor-in-chief of a huge literary journal,” Jenna says. “I love the Paris Review—it inspired the design work I did on Fathom. But first and foremost, I want to be a published novelist!”
In the meantime, Jenna will continue her education in Dal’s Computer Science program, specializing in graphics. “I love writing, but I need a back-up plan,” she smiles. “And with my interest in science fiction, computer science fits right in.”