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Mary Karr in front of a classroom.

Creative Writing Program

The three-year M.F.A. program in Creative Writing gives promising fiction writers and poets an opportunity to practice their art with dedicated fellow writers. This close-knit community is committed to addressing the challenges of the literary process and concentrates on the craft and quality of literary writing. For nearly five decades, one of the prime strengths of our program has been the excellence of our students. The strictly limited enrollment, with six poets and six fiction writers admitted each year, guarantees that students work closely together with a faculty that includes eight full time faculty of national acclaim and one renowned Visiting Writer a year. Students are selected on the basis of academic credentials and writing samples. High admission standards and small class size ensure that students' writing receives thorough, consistent attention from faculty and fellow students. The faculty include Michael Burkard, Jonathan Dee, Arthur Flowers, Brooks Haxton, Mary Karr (fall semester), Christopher Kennedy, George Saunders (fall semester), Bruce Smith and Dana Spiotta. A sample of past Visiting Writers: Heidi Julavits, Amy Hempel, Gary Lutz, Lynne Tillman, Brain Evenson, Christine Schutt and Rivka Galchen.

The MFA program in Creative Writing is committed to creating a supportive environment for its students. As a program that aims to nurture new voices, we particularly want to welcome writers from underrepresented communities. We encourage people of color to apply. We believe a program is at its best when it is comprised of strong writers from a full spectrum of backgrounds and experiences.

POC-identified students can join a POC student group that is responsible for annually nominating a candidate to represent diversity and general student concerns on the Creative Writing Committee.

Our program also aims to be a comfortable and supportive environment for LGBTQ students, international students, veterans, first-generation college students, disabled students, and for everyone who chooses to join us.

Students are presented with opportunities to teach in The Writing Program (a separate academic unit, specializing in composition) and in the Living Writers course, featuring prominent guest writers from the Raymond Carver Reading Series. Also, students can gain valuable editing and publishing experience through participation in Salt Hill, an award-winning campus literary magazine.During its nearly 50-year history, the Creative Writing Program has produced an outstanding array of writers whose work has been published by major presses and magazines and won prestigious awards. Distinguished alumni include Tom Perrotta, Jay McInerney, Larry Levis, and Claire Messud. Recent graduates are M.T. Anderson G‘98, Rebecca Curtis G’01, Phil LaMarche G’03 and Adam Levin G’ 04.

Read about the program's legacy and watch the video marking the 50th anniversary of the program:

A photo of three people talking on a panel: a blond woman wearing a turquoise dress and jewelry and a gold cardigan; a brown-haired woman wearing a white dress and leather jacket; and a brown-haired man wearing a navy-and-white-striped tee and grey pants. They sit in front of a taupe backdrop and orange banner.