About Our Creative Writing Program


The Creative Writing Program at Grossmont College fosters the development of creative writers at all skill levels in a supportive, professional, and dynamic atmosphere. It is our mission to serve and engage students, faculty, and the community actively through a rich variety of readings and other literary events that are always free and open to the public. The Creative Writing Program seeks to cultivate a diverse literary community and to celebrate and promote literature and its vital role in our culture.



All courses focus on the reading of established authors, classic and contemporary, and provide the opportunity for extensive feedback on original work, attendance of literary events, publication in the college literary journal, Acorn Review, participation in student performance events, and inclusion in on-line event programs.


Creative Writing: English 126

Introduction to the basic elements of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and drama writing, including study and analysis of techniques in the works of contemporary and established writers. Practice in writing in the four genres as well as introduction to the workshop method. Transfers to CSU, UC.
Short Fiction Writing: English 130-131-132-133
Repeatable writers workshop focused on the composition and revision of short fiction, as well as an analysis of genre, structure, techniques, and style. Transfers to CSU, UC (credit limited).
Creative Nonfiction Writing: English 134-135-136-137
Repeatable writers workshop focused on the composition and revision of creative nonfiction, including memoir, the personal essay, literary journalism, cultural criticism, music, travel, and nature writing. Transfers to CSU, UC (credit limited).
Poetry Writing: English 140-141-142-143
Repeatable writers workshop focused on the composition and revision of free verse and formal poems, as well as an analysis of the fundamental tools, techniques, and forms of poetry. Transfers to CSU, UC (credit limited).
Acorn Review Editing: English 145-146-147-148
Reading, selecting, editing, proofreading and arranging student creative writing and art for Acorn Review, the Grossmont College student literary journal. Transfers to CSU, UC (credit limited).
Drama Writing: English 160-161-162-163
Repeatable writers workshop focused on the composition and revision of writing for the stage and screen, as well as an analysis of genre, structure, dramaturgy, and style. Opportunities to participate in local productions. Transfers to CSU, UC (credit limited).
Novel Writing: English 175-176-177-178
Repeatable writers workshop focused on the composition and revision of novels, as well as an analysis of novel construction, character development, plot outline, scenes, and themes. Transfers to CSU, UC (credit limited). 


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Creative Writing Faculty

Sacramento native JULIE CARDENAS co-coordinates Grossmont College’s Puente Program and teaches a variety of subjects for the English Department, including composition, creative writing, and Chicano literature. She also serves as advisor to the student-produced literary journal, Acorn Review, for which she also teaches English 145-148: Acorn Review: Editing and Production. Julie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Spanish from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master’s Degree in English from the University of San Diego. In addition to having served as the faculty advisor of a college newspaper for two years before coming to Grossmont, she edited a variety of professional newsletters and trade journals. Her writing career includes the publication of news and feature articles, poetry, and short fiction. Her writing career includes the publication of news and feature articles, poetry, and short fiction.


RYAN GRIFFITH holds an MA degree in Creative Nonfiction from Fresno State and an MFA degree in Creative Writing from San Diego State University.  He served as resident storyteller for The Lounge on KPBS radio, where he read from his acclaimed series, The Midnight Pharmacy.  His stories and poems have also appeared in a variety of literary journals, and in 1997 Ryan received the Editor’s Choice prize for best fiction in The Beacon Street Review and an Honorable Mention in the 1995 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. Wigleaf Magazine selected his story “Thrill of Fire” as one of the top fifty short stories of 2012.  During July 2012, he served an artistic residence at the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock, NY, where he worked on a novel, and, during the 2015-2016 school year, Ryan took sabbatical leave to work on his novel while living abroad in Iceland, Russia, Turkey, and other countries. His current project is a multimedia narrative installation, “Relics of The Hypnotist War,” which developed out of his sabbatical project and is now on display at Space4Art studios in downtown San Diego.
KARL SHERLOCK carries an M.A. degree in Creative Writing from Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and an M.F.A. in Writing from University of California, Irvine. A Fulbright alumnus and a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, he obtained his M.A. degree in Creative Writing from Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, received his Master of Fine Arts in Writing from University of California, Irvine, and completed a year of Doctoral studies in English at Binghamton University. His play, "Things I’m Afraid Of," was scripted into a short film in 1992. His queer and disability themed poetry and literary nonfiction have been published, or are forthcoming, in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Cream City Review, The Jacaranda Review, Matador Review, Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature, Dickinson Review, South Coast Poetry Journal, The Alsop Review, Far East: Everything Just As It Is, The Radvocate, The James White Review, Assaracus, Lime Hawk, Easy Street Magazine, Temple University's TINGE Magazine, Embodied Effigies, and others. His personal essay, “Clear,” about his pre-Prop 8 marriage to a torture survivor of electroconvulsive conversion therapy at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, was a 2014 finalist for Sundress Publication's Best of the Net. He currently co-coordinates the Creative Writing Program.


DANIELA SOW is co-coordinator the Grossmont College Creative Writing Program and teaches English 126: Creative Writing. She received her Master’s of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) from San Diego State University, and her Post-secondary Reading and Learning Certificate from California State University, Fullerton.  Her poetry has been published in San Diego Poetry Annual, A Cappella Zoo, and Encompassing Seas. As a spoken word artist, Daniela has competed in the National Poetry Slam. She also coordinated events as VP of Publicity on the Greater San Diego Council of Teachers of English, celebrating and awarding talented young writers through the annual CATE Creative Writing Contests.


RICH FARRELL is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In addition to leading workshops on narrative for San Diego Writers, Ink, he is the Creative Non-Fiction Editor at upstreet and a Senior Editor at Numéro Cinq. His work, including fiction, memoir, essays, interviews and book reviews, has appeared, or is forthcoming in, Potomac Review, Hunger Mountain, New Plains Review, upstreet, Descant, Contrary, Newfound, Numéro Cinq, and elsewhere. His first novel, The Falling Woman, was recently acquired by Algonquin Books and is expected to be released in 2019.


ADAM DEUTSCH carries a Master of Arts degree from Hofstra University (2005) and a M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2008). This Long Island New Yorker has held editorial positions on a variety of small presses and journals, including Ninth Letter and Barn Owl Review. Adam lives in San Diego, instructs college composition and writing, and has work that is recently published or forthcoming in Across the Margin, Thrush, Spinning Jenny, Ping Pong, and Typo. He's also active in the neighborhood of Normal Heights and can be found there, and at www.adamdeutsch.com. The owner of Cooper Dillion Books, Deutsch has been instrumental in the launch of Chest-O-Drawers Press, the official press of the Grossmont College Creative Writing Program. He is planning a nationwide tour this spring to promote his new poetry collection.


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About the Literary Arts Festival

  • Daniela Sow, Literary Arts Festival Co-Director
  • Adam Deutsch, LAF Co-Director
  • Karl Sherlock, LAF Art Designer/Webmaster 

An annual tradition since 1996, the spring LITERARY ARTS FESTIVAL brings a diverse range of living, established and respected authors from around the country. The experience of writers who read their work, teach their craft, and discuss their sources of inspiration, proves the power and relevance of contemporary literature. Always free of charge.

Visiting LAF Writers

The LAF brings to the campus, as well as the community, the experience of live readings, book signings, lectures, workshops, master classes, and craft talks, but it also provides students rare opportunities to showcase their own original writing in student readings, writing competitions, and other special literary projects sponsored by the Creative Writing Program of Grossmont College. Student Readings, Workshops, Drama Writers' Showcase, Open Mic performances, and other events originating from our campus and community are featured alongside celebrated and award-winning guest writers, including


Duff Brenna

Cathy Spagnoli

Lidia Yuknavitch

Paula Gunn Allen

Steve Kowit

Judy Reeves

Marilyn Chin

Lizzie Wann

Taco Shop Poets

James Brown

Nick Flynn

Aimee Bender

Victor E. Villaseñor

Kim Addonizio

Anthony Swofford

Jimmy Santiago Baca

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

Brandon Cesmat

Ella de Castro Baron

Matt de la Peña

Gary McDowell


Marge Piercy

Roger Bonair-Agard

Dorothy Allison

Sandra Cisneros

Tim O'Brien

William Nericcio

Dunya Mikhail

Tobias Wollf

Nayomi Munaweera

Luis J. Rodriguez


Jennifer Knox

Roxane Gay

Ken White

Brian Turner

Tod Goldberg

David T. Martinez

Natalie Diaz

Luis Alberto Urrea

Jim Ruland

Ada Limón

Kazim Ali


All Literary Arts Festival events are free of charge and open to members of the general public. (Campus parking regulations apply; see Maps & Directions for further details.)


Subject Matter and Event Etiquette

Guest readers and presenters at our literary events are neither censored for language nor edited for the content of their readings, which may at times be considered suited for mature audiences only. Visitors who attend with young children, or who may be sensitive to such language and topics, are urged to research the writers in advance using the event pages on this website, which provide bios, bibliographies, selected media, and links to sample works and reviews. Select a Festival date from the menu at left to find out more about our featured guests and events.


Whether you're an off-campus visitor or you're a student, if this is your first time attending a literary event, we're excited to initiate you to the inspiring experience of hearing live performances of literature. Just as with live theater, attending public literary performances comes with practical rules of etiquette that make the experience as enjoyable for all as it is rewarding. Our PDF brochure about literary event etiquette, Protocols For Literary Events, will help to clarify the dos and don'ts of attending a live literary performance.


Foundation CW FundThe Creative Writing Program at Grossmont College is generously supported and sponsored by a variety of organizations and programs that, over the years, have helped to make our Literary Arts Festivals a reality, one of which is the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges.


We invite you to use the "Foundation Giving" link to make a secure, tax deductible contribution to The Foundation on behalf of the Creative Writing Program. Your support helps us to achieve excellence in our literary events and our Program mission.


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Acknowledgments and Festival Sponsors


This year's Literary Arts Festival is made possible because of the collaboration, planning, volunteerism, and support of the many individuals and agencies. Though we can't name them all, here are a few deserving special recognition:

  • The Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, and the generous patrons of the Creative Writing Fund
  • Dr. Cindy Miles, Chancellor
  • Chancellor Dr. Cindy Miles
  • Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, Ed.D., Grossmont College President 
  • Agustin Albarran, Dean of English and Social/Behavioral Sciences
  • English Dept. Chair, Dr. Oralee Holder
  • MaryAnn Landry, Administrative Assistant
  • Lorena Ruggero, Dir. College and Community Relations
  • CW Program faculty Daniela Sow, Julie Cardenas, Ryan Griffith, Karl Sherlock, Adam Deutsch, and Rich Farrell
  • Latin@ Alliance
  • Puente Project
  • Denise Robertson, Coordinator, Disabled Students and Programs Services 
  • ASL interpreters
  • Joel Lopez & Kurt Brauer, Facilities, Maintenance and Custodial Services
  • Business and Communication Services
  • Holly Phan and the entire Printing Dept.
  • Dave Steinmetz and Ryan Cline of Instructional Media Services
  • student volunteers


These sponsoring organizations and programs have helped to make the annual Literary Arts Festival a reality:
  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Local 1931
  • Associated Students of Grossmont College
  • Creative Writing Program of Grossmont College
  • The Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges
  • Grossmont College English Department
  • Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District
  • Poets & Writers
  • WACC, the World Arts and Cultures Committee of Grossmont College


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