MFA in Writing

The Michener Center for Writers is the only MFA program in the world that provides full and equal funding to every writer, yet it is the extraordinary faculty and sense of community that most distinguishes us.  Ours is a three-year, fully funded residency program with a unique interdisciplinary focus. While writers apply and are admitted in a primary genre—fiction, poetry, playwriting or screenwriting—they also study a secondary genre during their time in Austin.  There are no teaching duties, a luxury that allows our Fellows to commit themselves fully to their writing, and because only 12 writers are admitted each year, our faculty can devote ample time and energy to every writer.   With unparalleled support and the deeply held belief that literary art matters now more than ever, the Michener Center offers its writers three years of unencumbered space to make the work that only they can.

News & Events

MCW Alum Greg Marshall Awarded 2020 NEA Fellowship for Prose

Congratulations to Greg Marshall (Fiction, MFA 2013) who was named recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. “The National Endowment… Read more

MCW Alums Lara Prescott & Maya Perez Interviewed by Alcalde

Novelist Lara Prescott and Screenwriter, Editor, and Producer Maya Perez sat down with Alcalde to talk about creative life after their time at the Michener… Read more

MCW Playwright Selected for 2020 Austin Latinx New Play Festival

Congratulations to MCW Playwright Jaymes Sanchez, whose play, The Cucuy Will Find You, was selected for the 2020 Austin Latinx New Play Festival at Teatro… Read more

MCW Alum Donika Kelly Published in The New Yorker

MCW alum Donika Kelly’s poem, “From the Catalogue of Cruelty,” was published in The New Yorker. Read and listen to a recording of the poem… Read more

Students

Our MFA candidates have come from places as varied as western India, South Korea, eastern Europe, and northern Idaho. Their backgrounds and experiences are equally diverse, and the pages they produce are likewise unique and uniquely vital. We aren’t seeking writers of any particular aesthetic, but rather we are looking for writers whose work is distinct, urgent, and arresting.

Students are typically enrolled in three courses each fall and spring; there are no summer classes. The 54-hour degree plan includes workshops and “studies” courses in each writer’s genres, flexible supporting coursework, and a thesis in the primary field of concentration.

The Michener Center aims to be an inclusive, inspiring, and invigorating community where writers feel safe and supported to take chances on the page. We are extremely proud that there is no hierarchy here—all students receive equal funding—and we firmly believe that our egalitarian approach fosters a higher level of work that more competitive environments suppress.

Apply

We receive close to 1000 applications annually for twelve seats in our program. Our current acceptance rate is less than one-half of 1% in fiction, and between 2% and 3% for the other genres.

We only accept full-time, in-residence candidates for our three-year program. There is no low-residency or part-time option.

Starting with applications for Fall 2020, the Michener Center will no longer require GRE scores.

History

James Michener was the author of over 40 books, including Texas, Hawaii, and Tales of the South Pacific, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. In his final years, he and his wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa, moved to Austin, TX, where they endowed the Texas Center for Writers, a three-year interdisciplinary MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas. The first cohort of Michener Fellows graduated in 1996. After Mr. Michener’s death in 1997, the Center was renamed in his honor.

Faculty

To ensure both continuity and fresh perspectives, the Michener Center faculty is built with fixed and moving parts. Writers from UT’s departments of English, Theatre and Dance, and Radio-Television-Film comprise our resident faculty, and each year we also welcome a diverse roster of visiting faculty. That our faculty members—resident and visiting—are as passionate about their teaching as they are their writing is of the utmost importance. Like our students, our faculty afford the program a wealth of varied experience, an abiding sense of shared enterprise, and deep commitment to the making of literary art. For more on our outstanding faculty in each genre, visit our Faculty page.