Kidd Workshops

Formerly called the Kidd Tutorial Program, The Walter and Nancy Kidd Creative Writing Workshops are a unique studio experience in which students pursue their passion for creative writing. Students enter one of two tracks: fiction or poetry. They then workshop their creative work in small classes with the support of peers and a graduate mentor. 

Students also learn to read like writers, analyzing literature as part of a rigorous critical discourse. They attend lectures by visiting writers and Creative Writing faculty, with the opportunity to engage with critically acclaimed working writers. The Kidd Workshops provide a supportive community for writers to grow and thrive.

Admission to the Kidd Workshops is by application only. Generously funded by the Walter and Nancy Kidd endowment, the Kidd Workshops award scholarships each year of up to $3,000* each to all admitted students who receive financial assistance from the University of Oregon. All disbursements are made through Student Accounts (balances due may be subtracted from the award amount) and are distributed in equal installments at the beginning of fall, winter, and spring terms. 

Recipients must remain in good standing and continue in the Kidd Workshops through subsequent terms to retain their scholarships. Departure from the Kidd Workshops during the year, for any reason, terminates funding. Scholarship recipients are notified by email.

There are no prerequisites for the Kidd Workshops. All eligible students who are interested in Creative Writing at the UO, regardless of major or academic background, are encouraged to apply.

*Financial awards are subject to available funding. Eligibility is determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarship pursuant to university guidelines, not those of the Creative Writing program. Post-bac undergraduates are not eligible for program scholarships.

Applying to the Kidd Workshops

Successful applicants are motivated to develop their writing and their literary craft through serious intellectual engagement. In addition, they have a deep commitment to helping their peers grow as artists.

Many students also pursue a minor in creative writing. The Kidd Workshops fulfill half of the requirements for the minor.

If you have questions after reading through our website, please contact the Kidd director, Brian Trapp.

Application Season

Undergraduate application materials must be submitted online. Applications are accepted during winter term for fall entry only.

Season Status: Applications are currently closed.

Deadline: TBD

Applicants are notified of committee decisions mid-May by email.

Application Packet

Undergraduates must submit an online application and upload the following submission materials:

Personal statement. We would like to know your favorite single sentence or two lines of poetry in all of literature. Fiction writers need not limit their selections to prose, nor should poets feel the need to limit themselves to poetry. In a brief statement, use the chosen passage to give us an idea of your relationship to the literature you love, and what you hope to achieve in the Kidd Workshops.

Writing sample. Upload your creative writing sample:

  • For poetry—four poems or up to four pages of poetry (single-spaced).
  • For fiction—up to a maximum of 10 pages in length of fiction or creative nonfiction (double-spaced). Unfinished stories are acceptable; however, please provide the beginning pages (rather than the middle or end) of any given sample.

Applicants wishing to apply to both genres may do so in a single application by submitting a shorter submission for the second-choice genre:

  • For poetry—three pages of poetry (single-spaced).
  • For fiction—five pages in length of fiction or creative nonfiction (double-spaced).

Transcript. Submit unofficial current transcripts with your overall GPA. A copy of your DuckWeb degree audit is acceptable.

Apply to the Kidd Workshops

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Course Credits and Components

Students accepted into the Kidd Workshops register for CRWR 225 in the fall and, as admitted, CRWR 235 (Poetry) or CRWR 245 (Fiction) in winter, and CRWR 335 (Poetry) or CRWR 345 (Fiction) in the spring. Each course is four credits for a total of 12 credits.

The Kidd Workshops fulfill half of the requirements for the minor in creative writing. Students pursuing a minor in creative writing may use CRWR 225 and either CRWR 235 or 245 to fulfill the lower-division (introductory) requirements. Successful completion of CRWR 335 or 345 fulfills one of the 300-level (intermediate) course requirements for the minor.

For English majors, CRWR 335 or 345 also helps fulfill English major upper-division elective credits. With the approval of the English department’s director of undergraduate studies, CRWR 335 or 345 may be accepted to fulfill one of the other requirements for the English major.

Sections meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2-3:50 p.m. (all three terms).


Students are encouraged and challenged in their writing all year long, workshopping stories, poems, or essays with the support of their peers and graduate tutors. Although the classes are not solely workshop courses, workshops are the main component throughout the program. Students generate new work in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction—both assigned and self-directed—and respond constructively to their peers’ writing. In this way, we build a creative community to help students grow as writers.


Learning to read closely and critically is an essential life-long skill for all writers. Just as a musician studies other musicians and a visual artist studies other visual artists, writers examine how authors have put together a story, poem, or essay; what craft choices they have made; and why they made those choices and to what effect. Students read widely and deeply throughout the year from core texts (as well as from texts their tutors assign) and respond, both through reading logs and class discussion, with a rigorous and analytical mind.

Inquiry and Research

The process of inquiry—a close examination of a question in search for truth—is a cornerstone of the Kidd Workshops. Asking questions—analyzing, probing, digging deeper into texts—is how writers identify and clarify issues at stake in their own work. Students submit a proposal in the fall that describes their creative preoccupations and the readings they will study to extend and investigate those concerns. Winter term focuses on reading and research for an annotated bibliography. In the spring, students present their findings to their peers and write a Line of Inquiry (LOI) essay that is both scholarly and craft driven.

Student Anthology

In spring term, all students contribute a selection of their work to be included in The Walter and Nancy Kidd Creative Writing Workshops Student Anthology, which they also help edit. At the end of the year, they read from this selection as part of a literary reading to celebrate their work.

Final Creative Project

Completion of the Kidd Workshops culminates in a significant body of work, the equivalent of an undergraduate thesis, consisting of 15-20 poems, 3-4 short stories, a novella, or, on occasion, essays in creative nonfiction. Many students go on to take advanced courses in their genre with Creative Writing faculty, often in preparation to apply for graduate study.

Craft Talks and Visiting Writers

Students attend all of the evening readings by visiting writers who come to campus as part of the Creative Writing Program’s annual Reading Series. In addition, visiting writers and faculty give 50-minute talks to the students in an intimate setting. These talks vary from lectures about craft elements to discussions about the visiting writers’ work. Students then have an opportunity to personally engage with the visiting writers and faculty during a Q&A session. Former students have frequently named these craft talks as one of the highlights of our program.

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History of the Kidd Workshops

In 1991, with an endowment of over $1 million from Walter and Nancy Kidd, Garrett Hongo (then director of the Creative Writing Program) founded the Kidd Program. The Kidd Program was modeled after the Watson Foundation of Rhode Island, the Hopwood Lecture and Contests at the University of Michigan, and the Harvard Tutorials.

However, the program we seek to emulate most is the Watts Writers Workshop, which was created through federal funding and by community leaders in Watts following the riots of 1965. Community leaders proposed the workshops as a way for the community to rebuild itself, and as an avenue to enhance and promote cultural life, raise morale, and provide education. In addition to helping the community, the Watts Writers Workshop did a great deal for an emerging Black literary consciousness and helped build a literary tradition for young Black artists. This kind of community continues to inspire the Kidd Workshops at the UO.

Walter Evans Kidd (1901 – 1990)

Walter Evans Kidd was a noted poet and short-story writer and held numerous academic positions during his career. He was born in Long Creek, Oregon, in 1901 and was raised in the Portland area. Kidd attended the UO, earning a BA in 1926 and an MA in 1935, both in English. As a university student, Kidd wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald and was a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. He also earned an MFA from the University of Iowa. During the 1930s, he taught at Washington High School in Portland. Kidd earned his PhD from the University of Denver in 1943.

During his career, Kidd held teaching posts at the University of Nebraska, Stephen F. Austin State College, Fresno State College, and the University of Michigan. He published four books of poetry, two scholarly books, and numerous articles. Many of his works were published under the pseudonym Conrad Pendleton. Kidd was also director of the Pineywood Writers conference.

In 1926, Kidd married Nancy Olivia Pendleton, who had also attended the UO. In their later years, the two established the Walter and Nancy Kidd Fund to award prizes and awards to undergraduate writing students at the UO. After his retirement, they resided mainly in Portland. Walter Kidd passed away in 1990, leaving an endowment of over $1 million to support undergraduate creative writers at UO. Walter and Nancy Kidd’s passion for writing and literature lives on in the Kidd Program, as their gift allows generations of emerging writers to pursue art.

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