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Bilingual Study

Estudio Bilingüe / Bilingual Creative Writing Study at Mount Saint Mary's University, Los Angeles

To reflect the cultural diversity of our Los Angeles location, this unique option allows students to complete the culminating thesis in Spanish. Students may submit coursework in Spanish for selected classes.

Los Angeles is a multilingual city, reflective of America’s human reality.  In particular, our city has a large Spanish/English speaking population.  We sit two hours from Mexico, with its magnificent literary tradition of Juan Rulfo, Octavio Paz, Ángeles Mastretta, Carlos Monsivais, and many other outstanding poets, novelists, and writers of crónica.  Our first international literary conference was titled “Latin American and Latino/a Writers in Los Angeles, to honor and reflect that reality.  We offer Study Abroad in South America each June.  Our guest writers have included Héctor Tobar, Rocío Cerón, Jorge Ortega, and other leading lights along the Latin-American/Latinx spectrum.

Beginning in Fall 2019, we will offer an optional set of Spanish-English bilingual courses.  You do not have to be perfect in Spanish to participate.  Juana Moriel-Payne and Johnny Payne, veterans of a pioneering bilingual creative writing program in Texas, are used to integrating students of varying abilities into a single workshop.  You only need an intermediate level of Spanish, heart, and the willingness to take risks. Students may also write their culminating thesis, in any genre, in Spanish or bilingually.  As this facet of the program expands, we will bring in more bilingual writers to teach, whether as guests artists or on a recurring basis. 

Already students are writing in Spanish and bilingually in our existing workshops.  As in other areas, the MFA in Creative Writing sits at the forefront of study in our area.  Come be a part of our adventure in learning. 


CRW 216 Bilingual Creative non-writing I: Latin American & Latinx Memoir 

*Bilingual: the course welcomes students who manage the two languages from 10% to 100%, students able to participate to the best of their ability in bilingual discussions and workshops, able to read with diligence peers’ manuscripts written in Spanish, and willing to attempt to read half of the assigned books in Spanish (English-version is available in all cases). This is a creative writing course that looks at Spanish beyond grammar. Its aim is NOT to limit the writing process-experience but to encourage it without boundaries. 

In this course we will analyze autobiographies/memoirs of Latin American and Latina authors from the last decade of the 20th as we write our own memoirs. Through the memoirs of Reinaldo Arenas, Gioconda Belli, and Rosario Ferré, we will explore how they used the memoir to reflect and expose a time of transformations and contradictions among the Latin American cultural & literary world. With Reyna Grande and Esmeralda Santiago, we will see memoirs that explore themes as immigration, assimilation, bilingualism, among others, in United States. Together, those works will open us a door to explore and write about our unique cultural-transcultural personal and/or literary experience in Spanish/ English-Spanish.