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Student Testimonials

Catherine Barna

Catherine Barna headshotWriting Genre: Poetry

Hometown: Easton, CT
Education: B.A. English
Profession: Homemaker
Favorite Poetess: Emily Dickinson

Q: Describe your first experience on Enders Island.

A: I was a nervous ninny before my first residency at Enders Island.

I had not been near a dorm, (except to drop my son at college) in years. Many years. What was I thinking going back to school after such a lengthy hiatus? Reading and writing in my closet (which offers a light and solitude from my four children) was hardly academic. Each step gave me mounting anxiety. When I received samples from the other writers in my workshops, I hyperventilated thinking that this meant they were reading my works. Then, there were all the details - what food would be served? What to wear, even pajamas? I drove to the island half expecting to leave early. As I unloaded my car surrounded by the shimmering sea and the lush gardens of Enders, it seemed like everyone was hugging and laughing. “That’s strange,” I thought, “They don’t seem worried and some of them are my age.” Actually, some were older. In my first workshop, I barely said a word. People spoke a different language but some of the words were familiar. Alliteration. Metaphor. Allusion. I was unsure if my memory of the terms was correct. I couldn’t wait to get back to my room and Google them. I discovered that Wifi does not work well at Enders, but my memory did. No one scoffed when my work was read. Others offered suggestions.

Meals were delicious and everyone filled the tables; sitting alone was not an option. The conversations were scintillating if not downright fun. Why are you vegetarian? What is your third semester project? Who have you had as a mentor? What are you reading? What happened to your beard? Your cat? Your piece on your mother? Have you read any Charles Simic? James Tate?

With every workshop, seminar and reading, I told myself, “I need to write/read that,” or “I am going to try that!” Even though my bag was stuffed with books and papers and my head full of ideas, I soared home after 10 days eagerly looking forward to the next residency.


Abbey Cleland

Abbey Cleland headshotWriting Genre: Fiction

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Education: B.A. English and Film, The Ohio State University
Profession: Writer
Favorite Author: Michael Chabon

Q: How has being in the program influenced your writing?

A: In a word: tremendously.

As writers, we all have innate inclinations, unavoidable strengths and weaknesses, perpetual blind spots, and those darling idiosyncrasies that can make our work both sing and stutter. In order to improve - to really hone our craft - a writer needs help. It’s that simple. But finding the help that counts, well, that isn’t so simple.

At Fairfield’s MFA program, the help comes in a thoughtful package that matters. Here, nestled in the breathtaking beauty of Enders Island, faculty and peers provide feedback, guidance, and encouragement because they’re personally invested in helping you tell your story in the most compelling, effective, and artful way possible. Inevitably, an experience of this kind, one centered on constructive criticism and collaboration, makes us better writers. After each residency, chat with my mentor, or e-mail with a Fairfield MFA colleague, I’m reminded that while I toil away in the comfort and isolation of my home office, I am also a member of a tremendously innovative, creative, and generous tribe. I know from other writer friends that this sense of family in an MFA program is quite rare.

Surprisingly quickly, should you join us, you’ll find that you have more confidence in your own writing process. The seemingly insurmountable challenges of your project will be navigated and conquered with the guidance of your mentor. You’ll have more tools in your “writer toolbox” - the kind that will make all the difference as you prepare your work for publication. And, best of all, you’ll have a marvelous time along the way.


Matt Hamiltion

Matt Hamilton headshotWriting Genre: Poetry

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Education: Belmont Abbey College: BA, History, 1999.
Profession: Librarian
Favorite Author: Ai

Q: Describe your first experience on Enders Island.

A: After four and a half years living overseas with the Peace Corps, (Armenia 2006-2008; Philippines 2008-2010) I was a little nervous returning to the US. Peace Corps doctors warned me of reverse culture shock. Having gone native in my two host countries, I thought this a strong possibility. I didn’t know what to expect when I crossed the bridge to Enders Island in the winter of 2010, but after meeting faculty, students, and Enders staff at the opening reception, I felt I had truly come home.

The Fairfield MFA program has helped me grow as a writer. I brought dozens of poems to my first residency, but had no idea how to piece them together as a collection. Because of the dedication and hard work of peers and faculty, I was able, after one year, to publish a book of poems, The Land of the Four Rivers: My Experience as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia (2006-2008). Now finishing up my final year, I am proud to announce that I have completed my second manuscript, Walking Across Glass, which I hope to have published soon after graduation.

I am grateful to the Fairfield MFA Program. Without it, these poems would not have been possible.


Joachim Civico

Joachim Civico headshotWriting Genre: Fiction

Hometown: Sheffield, England
Education: BA(hons) History, University of Leeds, England
Profession: Collegiate athletics coach
Favorite Author: I flit. Hemingway. Or Graham Greene. Or Alistair Cooke

Q: Describe your first experience on Enders Island.

A: Leading up to my first residency I heard tales about how remarkable 'Enders' was (you get to drop the 'Island' bit once you start the MFA, we’re elitist that way). But in the same way that Willy Wonka's chocolate factory was too good to be true, I had my suspicions about coastal Connecticut's Shangri-La. I was wrong. The moment I crossed the bridge to this impossibly picturesque island in the Long Island Sound, it had me. Walking to those first introductory drinks, past the chapel and immaculate gardens that framed the lighthouses out to sea, I thought, "yep, this will do." But when I was welcomed by fellow students and faculty - not to mention the island's wonderful staff - the way I was, as though we were family, I knew that Enders was something special. It has been ever since.


Jennifer Emerson

Jennifer Emerson headshotWriting Genre: Fiction

Hometown: Groton, CT
Education: B.A. in Theatre Arts, Keene State College
Profession: Museum Interpreter
Favorite Author: Charles Dickens

Q. What inspired you on Enders Island?

A. Ten days on a beautiful island by the sea. Sounds like real work, huh? Well, let me tell you that it was the experience of a lifetime! From the moment that I stepped onto Enders Island, I felt right at home. The view was incredible and the food was phenomenal. But the best part was the support and encouragement that I received from both faculty and students to reach for the stars. All of these aspects melded to create the perfect atmosphere for inspiration and unlimited creativity!

Did we actually do any real work, you may ask? Well, yes, we did. Make no mistake this is a real graduate level course. But we were all there for the same reason: to collectively help each other become better writers. I left with a whole new set of friends, a fresh perspective on my own goals as a writer, and an itch to get home to my computer and start writing!

So, what are you waiting for? 

Jamie Chesbro

Jamie Chesbro headshotWriting Genre: Creative Non-fiction 

Hometown: Bridgeport, CT
Education: B.A. English, Fairfield University
MA Education, Fairfield University
Profession: Teacher
Published Work: Jamie has written for Parents magazine, Fairfield University Magazine, Teaching Tolerance, Next Step magazine, and The Connecticut English Journal

Q. What's it like working with a community of writers?

A. I'm always thinking about writing. I'm always looking for the next idea - sensitive to the triggers of memory and meaning. But the gears of my imagination often shut down in the chaos of work and family.

When surrounded by the Long Island Sound, professional authors who mentor, guest speakers, and other writers who long to find success with words, it unlocks possibility. I remember being a bit bewildered by the presence of authors whose work I read before the residency. But after a short time on the island, I thought nothing of asking them to pass the bread at dinner.

Writing in isolation wore me down, and at times I wondered if I should just give it up and obsess over golf instead. But now that I'm back from my first residency, armed with notes, feedback, and a professional writer for a mentor, I'm empowered to give my truest self the time to be who I am.

Tina DeMarco

Tina DeMarco headshotWriting Genre: Fiction

Hometown: Shelton, CT
Education: BA in Philosophy and English Writing with a minor in English Literature, Fairfield University
Profession: Marketing Manager
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Q. Why did you choose Fairfield's MFA?

A. I wanted my MFA and I immediately signed on when Fairfield offered this program. I graduated from Fairfield University and felt the quality and dedication of professors and staff would be exemplary, second to none. I also felt, as the first class, we had a chance to create a program of writers who would come together to share and grow with each other, bonding as the family we have come to be. It is exhilarating to enjoy and grow with my fellow writers as we step up to the challenges that face us in this new program.


Pat O'Connor

Patty O'Connor headshotWriting Genre: Non-fiction 

Hometown: Morristown, NJ
Education: B.S. Accounting, Fairfield University
MBA Finance, New York University
Profession: Director, Financial Systems
Favorite Author: Henri Nouwen

Q. Why did you choose Fairfield's MFA?

A. My boss and co-workers all said, "You're doing what?" when I told them I was pursuing an MFA. After close to three decades in Corporate America in the accounting and systems arenas, I was not the stereotypical MFA candidate. However, I have loved the writing process throughout my life. I took several adult education courses, but found that they ended too soon. I wanted to write a memoir and was looking for a structured program that would require a high level of commitment to my writing.

After reading about Fairfield's MFA program, I applied immediately. There were two factors that influenced my choice of Fairfield's MFA program. First, as an alumna of Fairfield, I am well acquainted with the University's academic excellence and Jesuit tradition. Second, the program is low-residency.

Unlike online courses, the Fairfield MFA semester begins with a residency - ten intense days with fellow students and faculty. This format has re-established me as a student and given me the opportunity to connect with fellow writers. After the residency portion of the semester, the monthly assignments and one-on-one work with a mentor is enabling me to continue my full-time job, for which I travel extensively.

I now spend my nights in hotel rooms working on my memoir, a far more enjoyable and productive pastime than watching TV!

Valerie Lee

Valerie Lee headshotWriting Genre: Fiction

Hometown: Stamford, CT
Education: B.S. Marketing, Hampton University
MBA Global Marketing, University of Bridgeport
Profession: Marketing Manager
Favorite Book: Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosley

Q. Why did you choose to pursue your MFA at Fairfield?

A. I chose to pursue my MFA so I can take my writing to the next level. I believe the stories that break out of a writer are marvelously singular and particular. If I don't write my stories they will never be told. A similar story may be shared but not told the way I would tell it. I do not believe the world will be diminished if my one-of-kind stories are not told; just me. I need my stories to escape and soar and if the world appreciates them then that is a bonus.

After getting an undergraduate degree in Marketing, an MBA in global marketing, and contemplating further studies to obtain an additional masters degree in Global Peace & Development, I have finally decided it is time to study and pursue what moves me - what makes my heart smile and my spirit soar. I believe Fairfield University's MFA program is the instrument that will facilitate the fine-tuning of my writing and allow my voice to flourish and soar.

I chose Fairfield because the program allows me to maintain the continuity of my life as well as the opportunity to work one-on-one with a mentor. Additionally, the Fairfield MFA will allow me to teach high school or college.

David Fitzpatrick

David Fitzpatrick headshotWriting Genre: Creative Nonfiction

Hometown: New Haven, Ct.
Education: B.A. English, Skidmore College
Published Work: Fiction Weekly
Favorite Book: Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Q. Describe your experience at the first residency - what inspired you, what did you learn, what did you take home with you?

A. Okay, picture this. You're placed on a stunningly beautiful island with talented, supportive, articulate, creative, and funny people who love what you love. You learn from experienced professionals who give a damn about that one thing that makes you come fully alive. They guide you and offer criticism and suggestions about how you can improve this passion. You connect with them over a generous amount of wine/single malt scotch and/or cheesecake. After a week or so you wander off or gather together in clumps and say to each other, "Did you ever think you'd find a spot outside of yourself where writing mattered like it does here?"

But everyone already knows the answer to that one so you just smile and feel thankful you've met these people, exchange addresses, and say, "I'll see you in six months."

Chris Belden

Chris Belden headshotWriting Genre: Fiction

Hometown: Ridgefield, CT
Education: B.A. Film Studies, University of Michigan
Profession: Freelance Writer
Published Work:

  • Stories published in various literary magazines
  • Co-writer of feature film, Amnesia (1997)
  • Co-writer of the play The Ballad of Larry the Flyer(2001 NY Int'l Fringe Festival)

Favorite Author: William Faulkner

Q. Describe your experience at the first residency - what inspired you, what did you learn, what did you take home with you?

A. The Fairfield University MFA experience begins as you cross the causeway from Mason Island in Mystic to tiny Enders Island. The old stone buildings on the island bring to mind history, solitude, and devotion to one's work - qualities integral to the study and practice of writing. But the residency experience is also about community. The outrageously delicious meals, the public readings by faculty and students, the receptions and after-hours gatherings by the roaring fire at Enders House - these help create a wildly creative environment and a feeling of total immersion for the budding writer.

At the core of the residency experience are the workshops held every morning and attended by a small number of students led by a faculty member. Here you discuss one another's work in a supportive way, work on exercises, and dissect the work of published authors. It's like charging a battery. By the time you leave the island - a bittersweet time, given how close you've become to the place and the people there - you are ready and excited about getting to work.

Elizabeth Hilts

Elizabeth Hilts headshotWriting Genre: Creative Nonfiction

Hometown: Norwalk, CT
Education: B.A. Liberal Studies, Fairfield University
Profession: Writer
Published Work:

  • Getting In Touch with Your Inner Bitch, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions (Sourcebooks/Hysteria)
  • The Bitch in the Bedroom, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Editions (Sourcebooks/Hysteria)
  • The Bitch at Work (Sourcebooks/Hysteria)
  • Every Freaking! Day with Rachell Ray: An Unauthorized Parody (Grand Central Publishing)

Favorite Author or Book: How can one pick one? If pressed, I'd have to say Marilynne Robinson's Gilead is my favorite novel.

Q. What is it like working with a community of writers?

A. It is like finding my tribe - there is so much comfort and inspiration in being connected to a group of talented people (both my fellow students and faculty members) who are fully committed to an exploration of the craft of writing. The seriousness of purpose and generosity with one another is an incredible gift. 

Jody Foote

Jody Foote headshotWriting Genre: Memoir

Hometown: Fairfield, Connecticut
Education: B.A., Fairfield University
Favorite Author: It is hard to pick a favorite author, but Edith Wharton is one of my all time favorites
Favorite Book: Age of Innocence

Q. What is it like working with a community of writers?

A. On December 28, 2008, I packed up my car with warm clothes and headed to Enders Island, not quite knowing what I was getting myself into. I had been accepted into this MFA program for creative writing which I realized was brand new. This intimidated me, however I kept reminding myself that I had been accepted as well as 25 other students, so at least there might be one person who shared my insecurity.

Upon arriving in the middle of a very cold Sunday afternoon, and unpacking my belongings, I noticed that there were a lot of similar looking faces filled with angst and excitement too. At the first reception, Michael White and Elizabeth Hastings were amazing and indeed helpful, encouraging us to feel comfortable. After the first day of workshops and great food, I have to say my nerves settled and the idea of being involved with a community of writers became a dream come true. Talking about my genre, listening to others read their work, and taking the advice and teachings from our talented staff couldn't have been more illuminating.

Writing can be solitary, so it is a gift to share your craft with others who have the same worry. Is my story worth telling? The camaraderie, the laughter, and the amazing feedback was truly enlightening. The energy within Enders Island still resonates when I sit down and work on my pages. I have never had this type of experience before, and I am psyched. The fact that we are all guinea pigs inspires me to do the best I can.

Students & Alumni

The 2016 Creative Writing Ender's Island group‌Fairfield's MFA students and alumni may be in their 20's or 80's or anywhere in between - but once they share a handful of residences at Enders Island, they are bonded for life. The bonds may be with each other, with the University's accomplished faculty, or with Enders Island itself. The experience all around is transformational.

A spirited community of experienced and emerging writers, students and alumni encourage each other on and off Enders to write, to learn, and to publish. To help them stay connected, informed, and inspired in between residencies and beyond, we offer the following resources:

Alumni Publications

Over the past years  we have celebrated the success of 32 books published by MFA students and alumni.  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.

Our students and faculty have also published hundreds of articles, essays, stories, and poems in renowned literary journals and magazines, won awards and have received honorable mentions.

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.


Chris Belden

Carry-On‌"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


Joe Carvalko

‌"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 ‌

"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


Alena Dillon

‌"‌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. ‌

"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.


David Fitzpatrick

Sharp‌"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 Believed
‌and 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


Deborah Henry

The Whipping Club‌"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."


Colin D. Halloran

Winner of the 2012 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award

Shortly Thereafter‌"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


Nick Knittle

Good Things‌“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 Simi 

‌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


Annabelle Moseley

The Clock of Long Now‌"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.


A.J. O'Connell

Beware the Hawk‌"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


Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

Oracles‌"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 Post

‌‌"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

Alumni Association


The Fairfield MFA Alumni Association (FMAA) was established to maintain an active, vibrant alumni community that keeps both the spirit and support of writing alive. Members of the alumni association have ongoing access to:

  • AfterEnders, a web-based community resources for sharing new work, opportunities, contacts, and inspiration
  • Alumni attendance at ongoing program residencies on Enders Island, including invitations to high-profile guest lectures, Alumni news updates
  • And more!

For more information about all of our MFA alumni programs, feel free to contact: 
Matthew Winkler,
Elizabeth Hilts,

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