MFA in Creative Writing - A Sample of publications by our alumni

In the past year alone we have celebrated the success of 10 of our students whose books have been published or accepted. David Fitzpatrick, a graduate of the MFA program, was recently featured in USA Today for his brilliant memoir, Sharp; Deborah Henry’s book,The Whipping Club, was selected by Oprah's O Magazine as a 2012 summer read; poet Annabelle Moseley's "Still Life" was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize; Travis Baker's screenplay, One Blue Tarp, was named Best Play for the State of Maine in the prestigious Clauder New England Playwright Competition, presented by Portland Stage Company. Additional students and faculty have also published hundreds of articles, essays, stories, and poems in renowned literary journals and magazine. Currently 2 of our students and one of our faculty members are contenders for the 2013 Pushcart Prize.

If you are interested in not only writing your book but getting it published, as well as being part of a vibrant, close-knit community of writers, then Fairfield's MFA is the program for you.


mfa_belden_book"From its grimly hilarious scene in the economy cabin of a plane headed west,Carry-On takes us on an unforgettable journey through the shifting terrain of a marriage gone wrong. As Caleb struggles to understand what has become of him and his wife, we move through bars and cheap motels, through the stark beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and through intricate layers of memory to approach slowly, inexorably, the darkest regions of anger and love. A powerful novel that tightens like a net around an unsuspecting reader; you will not put it down."

- Nalini Jones, author of What You Call Winter

‌‌"I'm enormously proud to be among the inaugural cohort of the Fairfield University MFA Program. Over the course of those two years I learned even more than I thought I would - about writing, about the writing life, about teaching, and about myself as a person. They say the journey is more important than the destination, and in this case, they are right. Now that I've reached the end, I find myself wishing the journey would last forever."

- Chris Belden


cas_mfa_jcarvalko_cover_2‌"Carvalko writes with such convincing realism and lyricism that I was at once brought into the landscape of his literary vision and grip of his storytelling. His prose is wiry and wise, steely yet soulful. His tales are tethered to real life, lived and thoroughly pondered. In right light, he is a cross between James Patterson and Scott Turow, only wiser and much more generous." 

- Da Chen, author of Colors of the Mountain ‌cas_mfa_jcarvalko

"When I joined the MFA in Creative Writing program, I set sail for a place I had never dreamed, waking each ‌morning to inspired writers, new ideas, and better ways to express what I needed to say. I learned that a writer must use the measured eye of the artist, gain the insights of the poet, and use the pen to enlighten, to ‌entertain, to bring readers into his or her imagination. My mentors, all of whom worked hard learning their craft, shared so much of themselves with me, which I now integrate into a writer's-life. Time came for me to return to the ordinary world, this time to hear, smell, touch and see it through a finer-tuned perspective, a keener sense of what things are, what things mean, a writer's world that lets me put finishing touches on thoughts that had been buried for so long." 

- Joe Carvalko


cas_mfa_jcarvalko_cover"‌Want to laugh at your life and at the bizarrely familiar life of others? Read Alena Dillon's sparkling collection of personal essays about love, food, money, fitting into jeans (or not) and using Starbucks as a home office. Dillon's voice is not only original and fiercely entertaining -- it's also the voice of hard-won experience. That's why her humor is both generous and delightfully entertaining. A fun and funny read, with heart and smarts."

- Gina Barreca, author of It's Not That I'm bitter...or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World. ‌cas_mfa_adillion

"No matter your genre or style, the Fairfield University MFA program nurtures writers from the sentence level through the rugged terrain of publication. I entered the program with a desire to be a writer, and perhaps an aptitude for it, but lacked the tools to furbish my passion into a craft. The mentors, students, and tranquil island provided me with that and so much more: confidence, identity, and a community that continues to teach and support me years after graduation.


mfa_sharp_book"In Sharp, David Fitzpatrick is our tour guide for a harrowing journey from self-destructive psychosis to a cautious re-emergence into the flickering sunshine of the sane world. Fitzpatrick writes about mental illness with the unsparing intensity of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton but also with the hard-won self-knowledge of William Styron, Kay Jamison, and other chroniclers of disease, recovery, and management. While reading Sharp, I was at turns frightened, appalled, enlightened, and overcome with sadness. Throughout I was fully engaged and, by book's end, reassured about the triumph of the human spirit and the healing power of a family's patient and abiding love. For those of us who seek a better understanding of mental illness, David Fitzpatrick's Sharp is a must read, remarkably told."

- Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believedmfa_fitzpatrick_bwand She's Come Undone

‌"Fairfield University's MFA program helped my writing dreams come true. On Enders Island, I found inspiring faculty and fellow writing students that pushed me, that made me pick my game up and bring it to the next level. My two years was a wonderful experience, and now I've got great friends in a writing community to keep me connected."

- David Fitzpatrick


mfa_henry_book"Deborah Henry is a natural storyteller and she is far more. Her novel The Whipping Club is a compelling read, but it also seriously explores the terrible ways the world - as a society, as individuals - often fails its children. And most importantly, her book offers a searingly lovely vision of how wrongs can be made right. Deborah Henry is a splendid young novelist who deserves a wide audience."


- Pulitzer Prize-winning author 

Robert Olen Butler

- Deborah Henry
‌"Art is collaboration. At a certain point, feedback is required. It was with great joy and gratitude that I heard about Fairfield University's brand new MFA program and joined the group in Enders Island for their first summer session. That first summer was a turning point in my writing. Filled with positive energy from the summer residency, I found ways to integrate formerly divided story lines and to pull threads of important subplots through to the end."


Winner of the 2012 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award

mfa_halloran_shortly"To achieve not just perspective, but an authentic and convincing point of view required both a highly disciplined sensibility and a risky willingness to put into articulate detail that which most veterans cannot speak of, let alone write about when in the theatre of war. With a sure and deft hand, Colin created a multitude of forms perfectly suited to his material and what resulted was a work of true importance."

- Elizabeth Kirschner

"Long after official reports on the war in Afghanistan are forgotten, Colin D. Halloran's collection - brimming with human detail and demonstrating a mastery of juxtaposition - will still resonate. It should be required reading for any public official eager to send young men and women off to battle."

- Lary Bloom


‌"I came into this program a wounded warrior trying to find himself with nothing but a handful of poems to serve as a road map. Literally. I will never forget the support I got from these people I'd only just met as I waited for a phone call informing me if I'd be returning to Afghanistan for a 2nd tour during my first residency. Then again as I had a major surgery in the middle of my 4th residency to repair injuries sustained in my first (and only) tour of duty. And throughout the entire process of converting those wounds into words.

"In the end I found more than myself. I found my voice. I found understanding. I found forgiveness. And perhaps more importantly, I found a community of likeminded individuals, who, in spite of not having been in combat themselves, sought to understand and support and heal along with me through my writing and their own."

- Colin D. Halloran


mfa_good_things_book_cover“Spare, tightly constructed and meticulously crafted, these stories tell of lives of lower-middle-class Americans, the isolated and marginalized people many of our contemporary writers somehow manage not to notice. These are tough, realistic and well-told stories. Knittel has a deep understanding of his characters and their complicated and often hopeless circumstances, but he doesn’t judge them. He writes of them with compassion, and, as he does, the reader cannot help but be moved too.”


- Charles Simic

‌The MFA program at Fairfield University was one of the greatest experiences I could have had as a writer. Nestled on the beautiful Enders Island, the program provided a solid and tight-knit community of students that, by the end of the first day, felt less like a group of strangers meeting for the first time and more like the long-lost family I never knew I had.It is a vibrant, diverse, and highly talented group of individuals that raised my skills as a writer higher than I ever thought possible. The two years of education, inspiration, and friendships have created a lifetime of memories. 

- Nick Knittel


mfa_moseley_clock"I can't think of a recent poetry collection that pursues a more ambitious project more successfully than Annabelle Moseley's The Clock of the Long Now. Moseley unscrolls a diverse set of elements that could easily fly apart in the hands of a lesser writer and combines them into a beautifully integrated whole. It consists entirely of virtuosic sonnet sequences (some of whose members read equally well when the order of their lines is reversed!). The book's unity reflects the life of Moseley's materials in her own mind, heart, and imagination. If you're looking for a reading experience of uncommon richness, depth, and feeling, you'll find it in The Clock of the Long Now."

- Daniel Brown

"Annabelle Moseley's poems establish human connections based on difficult choices, loss, pain, self-awareness, and redemption achieved through both personal love and the discipline of art. This passionate, thought-provoking first collection consists entirely of sonnets, discrediting the notion that form is somehow hostile to sense and inhibits passion. Moseley not only knows how to read the human heart, but also, thanks to her mastery of craft, conveys what she finds there in a voice that doesn't sound like anybody else's."

- Rhina P. Espaillat

mfa_moseley"My career has certainly evolved since becoming part of the Fairfield University MFA community. Though I knew it would be wonderful to write in such a setting - the magic of a private island, I also quickly discovered that the cohort of which I was a part was an incredibly gifted one - my fellow students were smart, talented, and friendly. As new cohorts joined us, the same held true. One lasting gift I received from the Fairfield MFA experience was the life-long friendship forged with fellow students and professors, across the genres. To those of you planning to begin an MFA on Ender's Island ... prepare for limitless beauty, raw inspiration to which you will keep returning, and an island you will make your own."

- Annabelle Moseley

Annabelle Moseley is the author of the full-length poetry collection, The Clock of the Long Now, published in 2012 by David Robert Books. Moseley has six published chapbooks of poetry, including A Field Guide to the Muses (Finishing Line Press, 2009), and The Divine Tour (forthcoming, Fall 2012, Finishing Line Press) a young adult novel, and a collection of children's poetry. Her newest poetry collection, The Fish Has Swallowed Earth, is forthcoming in Fall 2012 from Aldrich Publishing, an imprint of The Victorian Violet Press. The first Walt Whitman Birthplace Writer-in-Residence, 2009-2010, Moseley is also founder and editor of String Poet, an online literary journal of poetry and the arts, and the host of The New York Times-featured String Poet Studio Series at the Long Island Violin Shop.


mfa_oconnell_bwmfa_oconnell_cover"The climax is satisfying and dramatic, but it's the surprise ending - which kept me guessing to the final words - that makes this story incredibly fun."

- Brooke Law,

‌"Fairfield University's low-residency MFA program was one of the best things I've done for myself as a writer. During my two years with the program I worked with mentors who taught me about craft and the writer's life through instruction and example. I'm very proud to have joined the program in its first year and prouder still to be a member of the ever-growing community of students and alumni. Their friendship and support has been invaluable."

- A.J. O'Connell


mfa_zobel_book"Magic realism meets science fiction in the fascinating Oracles (University of New Mexico) by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel. As tribal historian of the Mohegan Nation in Connecticut, the author has the credentials to write about New England Indians. In this novel, the fictional Yantuck Indians live in a mid-21st-century future in which tribal factions either preserve the natural environment or market their "Indian-ness" through continued gaming and a New Age movement. Ashneon Quay, a young medicine-woman-in-training, is torn between two choices - studying anthropology at a nearby college or focusing on her traditions."

The Washington Postmfa_zobel_bw

‌‌"The Fairfield University MFA Program provided me with the tools needed to grow as a writer. I recommend this wonderful program to any writer who wants more from their writing. I will be forever grateful for the skills learned during my astounding two year journey and the professional relationships formed with the outstanding faculty."

- Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

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