Arts & Culture / Mosaic / November 13, 2019

Creative writer integrates coding in to work

Franzi Hofhansel shows another student an edition of Catch, one of the campus literary magazines in which she is the editor-in -chief. (Rob Nguyen/TKS).

Writing has always been a part of senior Franzi Hofhansel’s life.

“I’ve been writing, in some ways, before I could write. I used to tell my parents stories and ask them to write them down so I could have it,” she said.

Her decision to become a creative writing major was not something that she stopped to question. Studying it at Knox seemed like the only logical solution due to the passion she held for writing.

While Hofhansel is a creative writing major, she also has a computer science minor that has influenced her writing.

She has found out how to use her major and minor together through an honors project based around creating programs to write poetry and narratives. Though she recognizes that none of these computer generated stories are necessarily good or compelling narratives, she finds a lot of value within the randomness of it and its relation to creativity. Hofhansel will typically take the output of these programs and reshape and rewrite them into her own words.

Though what it means to be a writer has shifted within society, Hofhansel still felt it was necessary to pursue it in a college setting.

At Knox, Hofhansel has found a lot of value within her major. Being what initially drew her to Knox, she has found that being in a community with other writers has been very helpful. Hofhansel is able to learn from everybody else within it who all have different approaches to writing, which is something that is very helpful in expanding her worldview and improving her writing.

Something that Hofhansel also values at Knox is the connection it has to its various literary magazines. She now works on some of them, and Hofhansel sees that connection as part of the reason why she initially chose Knox.

“I think one of my admission counselors said that there was one year where people were showing up to events for the lit mags more than sports and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s kind of my jam,’” Hofhansel said.

Hofhansel has gone on to become editor-in-chief of campus literary magazine Catch.

Since coming to Knox, Hofhansel has seen her personal writing style shift from very surreal and absurd short stories featuring non-human characters that questioned God and the gendered nature of divine entity, to stories that explore womanhood featuring allegories on capitalism.

As for the future, Hofhansel plans to apply to graduate school and see where it goes from there. Though it is her dream to get a PhD and to teach creative writing, she does not know if that will be an option for her.

Hofhansel has found that writing has become a crucial part of her self-expression. Not being taken seriously when speaking has led to her relying on written word to shape and manage what she says.

“It feels to me like if I want to say what I want to say and have people understand me, I have to write. There’s no real other option. I don’t know how else to express myself,” Hofhansel said.


Tags:  Artist of the week catch magazine computer science Creative writing

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