By 2050, the United States is projected to surpass Mexico as the country with the largest number of Spanish speakers in the world. Already, the US has more Spanish speakers than Spain. Given the increasing importance of Spanish in the US, the University of Houston is establishing a Spanish-language creative writing PhD program. UH Professor Cristina Rivera Garza says the program is “not just natural, but urgent,” according to Houstonia.

“This, for me, it’s a life project,” Rivera, who began conceptualizing the doctorate program when she taught creative writing in English at the University of California-San Diego, said. “I’ve been thinking about a new generation of writers, thinking about the dynamic presence of Spanish in the United States, thinking about making a community that’s eager to tell stories and put them in writing. Our main emphasis for this program is not thinking about writing as an activity in isolation, in an ivory tower, but as a practice that connects us in the community.”

Escritura Creative en Español (ECE) has accepted a small number of students for its program, which begins in the fall. Students will take seminars through the Department of Hispanic Studies, as well as through the PhD program, which will offer seven workshops, including Theory and Writing, Community and Writing, Editing, Cross-Genre Writing, Digital Writing, Translation, and Creative Writing in English.

ECE will also hopes to work closely with UH’s English-language creative-writing program. “We are very much interested in fostering a connection with the English program because that’s how we live,” Rivera Garza added. “Most of us work in Spanish, write in Spanish, yet lead a life in English.”

ECE is being touted as the first Spanish-language creative writing PhD program in the country. But other schools have offered graduate degrees in the subject as well. Back in 2012, the University of Iowa began its Spanish-language creative writing MFA program, following in the footsteps of University of Texas at El Paso and New York University.