The UP Board of Regents, in its 908th Meeting on 7 December 1978, approved the proposal for the establishment of the U.P. Creative Writing Center (UP CWC). It was officially established on 1 June 1979. In July 2002, the Board of Regents approved the proposal to change the name of LIKHAAN: The UP Creative Writing Center to UP Institute of Creative Writing (ICW).

1. To stimulate writers from all parts of the Philippines to create and contribute to national cultural development; and
2. To assert the leadership of the UP in creative writing and, at the same time, to recognize the assistance of the University to the government in the formation of policies and programs related to the development of culture, particularly of creative writing.
Likhaan: The UP Institute of Creative Writing has lived up to its role and mandate to the hilt, and has become known for its major outreach programs the benefits of which had their unquantifiable multiplier effects. Its major outreach programs are the following: 1) the National Writers Workshop, 2) the CWC Fellows Program (for National and Local Fellows) which was downscaed to the National Fellows Program; 3) The ICW Panayam Series, formerly called The Living Voice in Conversation Series (a lecture series involving not only the National and Local Fellows, but also other select writers, including foreigners); 4) Philippine Writers Series, now known as the Likhaan Journal Series, a publication program in coordination with the UP Press, for books written by the ICW staff, its National & Local Fellows, and writers who pass its rigorous screening standards.
Under its Publication Program, the ICW put out the best of Philippine writing, from 1995 to 2003, in eleven anthologies – The Likhaan Book of Poetry, Fiction (1995,1996,1997 and 1998), Ang Aklat Likhaan ng Tula at Maikling Kuwento(1995,1996,1997,1998), The Likhaan Book of Criticism, The Likhaan Book of Drama and Ang Aklat Likhaan ng Dula 1997-2003 – edited by the Associates and Resident Fellows.
As an institute, the ICW is taking a more aggressive and vigorous stance in pursuing its mandate. For example, the ICW introduced the “new” UP National Writers Workshop for advanced writers in 2006. The ICW also made a giant step by presenting the LIKHAAN: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature. The Likhaan Journal serves as the definitive local publication Filipino writers aspire to be published in. The ICW also launched, the portal to Philippine literature, a comprehensive and non-centric gateway to the country’s literature in Filipino, English, and regional languages. It also documents the ever-changing landscape of the Filipino literary community online.
Together with the UMPIL and Filipinas Institute of Translation, Inc, the ICW launched a poetry contest through texting: Textanaga, Dalitext, Textsawikain, and Textula Pinoy.
In recognition of our National Artists for Literature, the ICW launched the Pagpupugay sa Pambansang Alagad ng Sining sa Panitikan as part of National Arts Month. Pagpupugay is on its second year of promoting literature through lectures and performances held throughout the country.
It also has other ongoing activities like the Madrigal-Gonzalez Best First Book Award, Likhaan Foundation Scholarship, the Francisco Arcellana Scholarship in Creative Writing, and the UP Writers Night.
In celebration of 100 years of the University of the Philippines, the ICW has recently awarded the Gawad Likhaan: The UP Centennial Literary Prize to five writers.