English Minor Profile: Carlos Williamson (B.A. 2015)

Carlos Williamson majored in journalism and minored in English, focusing on Creative Writing. He is currently an editor and designer at The Chicago Tribune. His creative writing has appeared in journals including Vol. 1 Brooklyn and Heavy Feather Review.

M&L: Why did you choose to minor in English at Western? 

I majored in journalism at Western, but I decided to minor in English because I knew I wanted to write fiction.

M&L: What is your current job?

I’m currently an editor and designer at The Chicago Tribune, and I’ve recently received a Fulbright award to Brazil, where I’ll be covering race, culture, and class in 2021.  

M&L: How did your study of English help you to succeed in your career?

The creative writing workshops at Western helped me hone my voice as a writer. I still think about the feedback I received years ago and apply it to my short stories.

M&L: What were some of your best experiences as a student in English at Western?

 I remember struggling with a rough draft during an independent study, and Erika (Wurth) gave me a copy of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders. When I finally read it, I understood what she’d been trying to show me all along. Since then, Saunders and many other contemporary authors have influenced how I approach structure and dialogue. 

M&L: What advice would you give to students considering studying English here at Western?

I think it’s important for English majors to listen to feedback from professors and try not to take criticism personally. Also, if you’re an English major who wants to write fiction, it’s important to not only complete all assigned readings, but also to read on your own. 

M&L: Where have you been publishing your work?

My work has appeared or is forthcoming at the Western Courier,Western Illinois MagazineMedill News ServiceFolha de S.Paulo, the Chicago TribuneVol. 1 Brooklyn, and Heavy Feather Review.