The Macalester English Department welcomes all students who love literature—from Shakespeare to science fiction, from nature poetry to graphic novels. As a Department we cherish the craft of writing and seek to understand the world through literary inquiry. Because we believe the worlds of critical thinking and imaginative creation are tightly linked, we are committed to teaching both creative and critical writing. Our majors will acquire a deep knowledge of literature in English, and will learn to listen carefully, read closely, argue cogently, and think boldly and resourcefully.

Our faculty bring a depth of experience in both teaching and writing, as well as in human rights, public health, and environmentalism. Our curriculum reflects the richness and variety of our faculty’s scholarly and creative work. Recent courses have included "Shakespearean Tragedy," "Gangster Cinema," "Latino Poetics," "Creative Writing: Screenwriting," "Nineteenth Century American Literature," "Postmodern African American Literature," and “Science Fiction: From Matrix Baby Cannibals to Brave New Worlds.”

Our faculty members publish scholarly works on a wide range of topics and periods: Shakespeare and feminist theory, human rights and narrative theory, the Harlem Renaissance, 20th-century Irish prison writing, foot-binding in modern Chinese culture, the sense of touch in 18th-century British literature, and contemporary Filipino poetry, to name just a few. Our creative writing faculty members have published numerous critically acclaimed and award-winning novels, collections of poetry, and nonfiction books.

English is a flourishing major at Macalester. Our courses contribute to other majors and concentrations as well, including Environmental Studies, Human Rights and Humanitarianism, and African Studies. Many of our courses support the college’s general education requirements in writing, U.S. multiculturalism, and internationalism.