Campus & Community

Authors’ aerie

A row of books lines a shelf in the Department of English's creative writing program in Lamont Library.

Fiction and poetry books by creative writing faculty members line the hallway of the new space atop Lamont Library dedicated to the Department of English’s creative writing program.

Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

2 min read

A new bright, open, inviting home complements the creative writing program

Faculty and students have settled into the new home of creative writing atop Lamont Library. The bright, windowed fourth-floored space featuring a workshop conference room and faculty offices is a move up from the basement of the Barker Center, where most of the program, which is part of the English Department, was previously housed. Michael Pollan, the Lewis K. Chan Arts Lecturer and professor of the practice of non-fiction; Claire Messud, the Joseph Y. Bae and Janice Lee Senior Lecturer on Fiction; Musa Syeed; and Darcy Frey, Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser Director of Creative Writing,  are among those who lead small workshops in genres such as fiction, playwriting, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry.

“Creative writing has long been at the heart of the Harvard art-making community,” said Frey. “With the Lamont space, we’re now at the heart of the actual campus. A writer — student or otherwise — would be hard put to find more inspiring views than the ones we have from our fourth-floor aerie: sunlight, clouds, the tops of steeples. We feel like we’re looking out on a sky painted by Constable.”

The nameplate for Michael Pollan's office is pictured.
Michael Pollan is pictured in his office.

Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence,” is professor of the practice in Harvard’s creative writing program.

Claire Messud is pictured in her office.
The nameplate for Claire Messud's office is pictured.

Claire Messud, author of “The Emperor’s Children” and “The Woman Upstairs,” is a senior lecturer in the English Department and host of the Writers Speak series at the Mahindra Humanities Center.

A table and chair for reading sits at the end of the corridor.
Books line a shelf in Michael Pollan's office.

Comfortable chairs for reading are situated at the end of the corridor.

Darcy Frey teaches a creative writing class.
Darcy Frey teaches the writers’ workshop “The Art of the Personal Essay” in the conference room.
Jamie Halper is pictured during the writers' workshop.
Katherine Li is pictured during class.

Jamie Halper ’20 (left) and Katherine Li ’21 focus during Frey’s writers’ workshop.

White boards show drawings of the written page.
White boards await students’ stories.
Students gesture during class.
Pranati Parikh is pictured during class.

Students, including Pranati Parikh ’21 (right), discuss each other’s work.

A smart phone decorated with text from Shakespeare's Hamlet sits on writing materials during class.
A smartphone decorated with text from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” sits on writing materials during class.
Gregory Guitchounts, PhD student, is pictured during the writers' workshop.
Meena Vankataramanan is pictured during class.

Ph.D. student Grigori Guitchounts (left) and Meena Venkataramanan ’21 discuss personal essays around the conference room table.

The view from the top floor of Lamont Library of Harvard Yard from above the treetops is pictured.
The broad vista from the program’s new space may inspire young writers.