Why Ithaca?

For the past century, a legion of famous writers have found their muses in Ithaca, so many that one of its downtown streets—Tioga—bears the nickname “Writer’s Block.”  Pearl S. Buck, Junot Díaz, Mark Doty, Lorrie Moore, Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Téa Obreht, Thomas Pynchon, Carl Sagan, Kurt Vonnegut, and E.B. White are just a few of the writers who have called Ithaca home. That rich literary history is alive today in Ithaca’s vibrant literary community, including a cooperative independent bookstore, Buffalo Street Books; a renowned M.F.A. program in creative writing, Cornell; a legendary biannual book sale, Friends of the Library; and a lively literary festival, Spring Writes. Read more about Ithaca’s writing scene here.

At Ithaca College, in the past three years alone, the writing department's Distinguished Visiting Writers Series has brought to campus Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Rae Armantrout; National Book Critics Circle Award Winners Eula Biss, Philip Gourevitch, and C.K. Williams; and National Book Award winner Jean Valentine—all of whom worked directly with our undergraduate majors on their writing.

In collaboration with the Department of English, the Department of Writing also hosts the New Voices Literary Festival, an annual three-day symposium featuring nine emerging writers, bringing more opportunities for interaction with our students.

Finally, two Writing faculty members run small presses in the area—Essay Press and Split Oak Press—for which our students work through the department’s thriving internship program. Read more about the Ithaca College Department of Writing here.