The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing - About Us

The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing is a magnet for English-speakers in Israeli, as well as Jews and non-Jews from around the world. The two-year program, housed in the Department of English Literature and Linguistics at Bar-Ilan University, offers an MA in English Literature with concentrations in Literary Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, and Literary Translation.

Located on the outskirts of Tel Aviv and only an hour's bus ride from Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University enjoys a diverse student body.

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About the Program

In the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing, our students come from all over the world. The specialization explores the long tradition between Judaism and writing, yet our students range in ethnicity, religion, age, and life experience. In our classrooms, there are no agendas, only the pursuit of good writing and the building of a writing community. Our students and visiting writers often experience their time studying with us as a life-changing period.

We hold a biennial conference that is free and open to the public, featuring contemporary writers from around the world, and we sponsor ongoing programs and workshops for our students and alumni with international writers on campus.

To access the latest on our upcoming events, please visit our Facebook page


Who We Are

Permanent FacultyMarcela Sulak, Evan FallenbergWilliam Kolbrener, Ilana Blumberg, Michael P. Kramer 

Visiting instructors have included Yael Hacohen, Jane Medved, Ayelet Tsabari, Dalia Rosenfeld, Lazarre Simckes, Bret Lott, Tony Eprile, Rachel Kadish and Assaf Gavron.

Guest writers have included, most recently, Alicia Ostriker, Erika Meitner, Ilana Kurshan,  Sana Krasikov, Matti Friedman, Yossi Klein Halevi, Rana Abu Fraiha, Alicia Jo Rabins, Etgar Keret, Nathan Englander and Joseph Skibell, among many others.

The specialization is named in loving memory of Shaindy Rudoff (1966-2006). The program acknowledges with respect the contribution of our founders Shaindy Rudoff, z"l, Michael P. Kramer, Sharon Friedman, Allen Hoffman, Linda Zisquit, and our benefactors Sheldon, z"l, and Hedda Rudoff. We hope you will consider joining this extraordinary writing community.


Our Tracks

We offer full tracks in Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Literary Translation. 

Poetry: 

Poetry is the embodied literary art, written in units of feet, its prosody containing stress, pitch, clarity of enunciation, loudness, and its line breaks and punctuation speeding up and slowing down, not just the voice, but also the breathing. This is why, in nearly every land and epoch, poetry has been viewed as the most urgent and dangerous utterance--it is the closest thing to being there in person. The garments of poetry fit all body sizes and purposes: epics that embrace the history of wars, national narratives; magical incantations, cooking secrets, love potions, and instructions for the next life; lyrical elegies that consider the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the world to come, and nature, with its wine harvests, drinking songs, sonnets and their love pledges; haikus that mark the passing of each leaf.

At Bar-Ilan we offer workshops in documentary poetics, prosody and translation, poetic genre and poetic form, and special topics taught by visiting instructors.We bring in choreographers and performance artists, to augment our workshops and our excellent complement of literary poetic studies. In addition to publishing their own work, our graduates have become literary translators, editors, and literary agents, activists, performers, and teachers; some have used their training in poetry to enhance their work in midwifery, public service, performance, photography, music, painting, and choreography.

Fiction:

Storytelling is at the very root of our humanity, so it is no wonder that stories – whether they comprise a sparse few words or hundreds of thousands of them – have been at the center of human development and creativity since long before the first writing systems came to the world.  We write our stories down for myriad reasons, but often we need no better reason than the fact that we can’t help ourselves; our stories contain all that we think and believe and dream and are, and we wish to communicate those elements to the world.

Fiction writers in our program write all forms of stories, producing microfiction or short stories or novellas or novels according to what best suits them.  In addition, students learn to read their peers’ work and published literature closely, in order to gain insights into characterization, voice, story, plot, theme and other issues of the craft and construction of fiction.  Students and graduates have gone on to write professionally, but also use their skills in academia, publishing, journalism, translation, theater, hi-tech and virtually all other outlets for the written word. 

Writer Russell Banks summed it up beautifully when he wrote that "…reading and writing novels, from Cervantes to Rushdie, is a way of thinking that is essential for a coherent moral understanding of human nature and circumstance."  But it is also an incredible mix of joy, pain, self-expression, self-exploration, creativity and playful fun.

Creative Nonfiction:

In recent decades, creative nonfiction has become some of the most popular literature written, read, and sold. What is CNF? Whether memoir, personal essay, lyrical essay, or first-person journalism, CNF works with true stories and real life experience, rendering it as artfully and thoughtfully, and often with as much lifelike detail and scene, as fiction might. Such "true stories" open our worlds to people who have lived a wide range of experience and have reflected on it in ways that can sometimes bring it surprisingly close.  At Bar Ilan, students of creative nonfiction may take workshops specializing in memoir, essay, and lyrical essay, complemented by a host of literary seminars in the history of autobiography and life writing, as well as other genres. Students get to know the world we live in -- near and far -- and practice writing it honestly and powerfully. 

Literary Translation:

As the world shrinks and interest in multiculturalism grows, so too does the fascination with literature from around the globe.  Unfortunately, the rate and level of literary translation has not kept apace with demand.  The vast majority of literary translators are untrained and ill-equipped to master the many requirements of the genre, which, in the words of Susan Bernofsky, a prominent translator of German and director of Literary Translation at Columbia University, includes no less than the ability to write good literature: “When we translate literature, we are writing literature, and the text of the translation must adhere to the highest standards of literary quality at all times.” 

It is our goal to train a new generation of literary translators who will help bring world literature in a variety of languages to the English language and the English reading public.  For this task, Bar Ilan University is uniquely qualified, with an English Literature and Linguistics Department that offers the advanced study of literature and literary traditions, creative writing in several genres, and hands-on work in literary translation.

You are invited to write to Prof. Marcela Sulak with any questions about The Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at barilanwriting@gmail.com.


For information about Admission and Cost, click here.

To read more about Our Faculty, click here.

For Track Requirements, click here.

For FAQs, click here.

To see more about us in the Media, click here.

Last Updated Date : 31/03/2022