MFA in Writing

Michener Fellows enroll in three courses (9 hours) each fall and spring semester. (There are no summer classes.) The 54-hour degree plan includes workshops and “studies” courses in both fields, flexible electives, and a 3rd-year thesis in the primary field of concentration.

Fields of Concentration

Fiction

Our goal in every fiction workshop is for the prose to be taken seriously and on its own terms. Regardless of formal distinctions—novel or short story, psychological realism or avant-garde experimentation—we want our writers to feel empowered and encouraged to produce the kinds of fiction they want to read.

Poetry

Our goal in the poetry workshop is simple: that students feel increasingly excited by and invested in poetry. That calls for an intelligently engaged and ambitious criticism that starts with a generous reading of each poem and respect for what may be an approach and intention very different from their own.

Playwriting

The playwriting concentration at MCW is a demanding, three-year course of study designed for artists committed to professional dramatic writing and its teaching. The curriculum emphasizes the generation and revision of new work, both by the individual playwright and in progressive collaborations with other writers and artists.

Screenwriting

Our emphasis is, first and foremost, on writing and immersion in a community of creative writers. We also want to provide you with access to film studies and production offerings that will both focus and expand your ideas. Whether you want to write for television, film, or both, our program aims to give you the tools, time, and community to write the script that will bring your vision to the screen.

Degree Plan

Michener Fellows complete three workshops in a primary field and two in a secondary field. Studies courses are also required in each field (two in the primary and one in the secondary). The remaining hours are flexible to allow for pursuit of electives.

By the end of the second year, Fellows will have typically produced a manuscript in the secondary field. In the third year, Fellows enroll in a year-long thesis course focused on developing a manuscript in the primary field.

Fellowship Support

All admitted students receive a fellowship of $27,500 per academic year, plus total coverage of tuition. The fellowship is paid monthly through the fall and spring semesters. Support is renewed each year with satisfactory progress towards the degree.

Michener Fellows also have the opportunity to apply for summer funding. The current summer funding allotment is $6,000 over three years.

Fall 2018 Course Descriptions

380W Fiction Workshop
Instructor: Elizabeth McCracken Time: W 1-4
Location: J. Frank Dobie House (FDH)

The good news and the bad news is: there are no rules. When it comes to writing, a piece of fiction succeeds or fails only depending on how it obeys its own rules, when it teaches the reader how to read and enter the particular fictional world. In our workshop, students will read each other’s work with generosity and optimism and rigor, to understand each piece’s best intentions and try to help the author to fulfill them-to learn, in other words, not only how to be critics, but how to read our own work critically. We will discuss in class and in conference both the smallest details of writing fiction as well as its loftiest aims.

380W Poetry Workshop
Instructor: Dean Young
Time: M 1-4
Location: J. Frank Dobie House (FDH)

This is a class for practicing poets. The majority of our class time will be discussing the work generated by the poets in the class. Each student is expected to submit one poem a week and be an active and prepared participant in workshop discussions.

WRT 380S (unique # TBD) BOOK ARTS STUDIO
Instructor: Kevin Auer
cross-listed with DES #; meets in Art bldg.

Letterpress printing was historically the process used to commercially print books until the middle of the 20th century. While not as commercially vibrant as it once was, artists, writers, and printers are still using the process to produce books and prints in multiples.

Instead of focusing on the production of set texts, this class will explore the process of writing through the limitations of the medium of letterpress printing.

Students will learn the technical aspects of letterpress through a preliminary assignment where they set type by hand, lay the type out on the press, and then print. Once the technical foundation has been set additional assignments will engage the writing process through the constraints of the medium. (Not dissimilar to Oulipian constraints.) Additional assignments will include physically manipulating Linotype to produce new texts, printing with photo polymer and found objects both to enhance existing text and to produce text in its own right, and working with wood type and metal type printed in multiple layers.