Prestigious Writers Zadie Smith, Mira Nair, and Natasha Trethewey Headline Fairfield MFA Winter Residency

Prestigious Writers Zadie Smith, Mira Nair, and Natasha Trethewey Headline MFA Program Winter Residency

Photo of Zadie Smith, Mira Nair, and Natasha Trethewey.

Pictured left to right: MFA Winter Residency visiting writers Zadie Smith, Mira Nair, and Natasha Trethewey

The award-winning novelist, filmmaker, and poet laureate will speak with creative writing students during the graduate program’s virtual winter residency.

Visiting writers illustrate the role a deep devotion to craft can play in the span of a writer’s life... By their examples, they inspire, and by their generosity to students’ questions, they continue the work of educating the next generation of writers.

— Carol Ann Davis, MFA program director

Although Fairfield University’s low-residency Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing Program will be hosting its annual winter residency virtually this year, the weeklong series of workshops and lectures will feature an impressive list of high-profile visiting writers who have made a significant impact in the world of writing.

Acclaimed British novelist Zadie Smith (White Teeth, On Beauty), Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe, Salaam Bombay!), and U.S. poet laureate Natasha Tretheway (Monument, Native Guard) will headline the graduate program’s winter 2020 residency, December 27, 2020 through January 4, 2021, and will impart their advice and professional expertise to aspiring writers enrolled in the program.

“Given the year’s challenges, it’s especially crucial to nurture the work our student writers with distinguished visitors like these wonderful women,” said Carol Ann Davis, MFA program director and professor of English. “We welcome them to discuss their accomplished works and writing processes with our students and to share their distinct and particular experience of the artistic life.”

British novelist Zadie Smith’s acclaimed first novel, White Teeth (2000) was voted one of the “125 most important books of the last 125 years” by the New York Public Library and earned numerous prizes, including the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Named one of 20 “Best of Young British Novelists” by Granta magazine, her book On Beauty won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction and her novel NW was named one of The New York Times' "10 Best Books of 2012." Her latest book, Intimitations (2020), features a collection of six essays.

Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair’s narrative feature debut, Salaam Bombay! (1988), won the Caméra d’Or and was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Foreign Language Film.” A resourceful and determined independent filmmaker who casts unknowns alongside Hollywood stars, Nair went on to direct Mississippi Masala (1991), The Perez Family (1995), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996), Hysterical Blindness (2002), Vanity Fair (2004), The Namesake (2006), Amelia (2009), and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012). Her most recent film, Queen of Katwe (2016), starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, is based on the true story of the Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi.

Natasha Trethewey served two terms as the 19th poet laureate of the United States (2012-2014). She is the author of five collections of poetry, including Monument (2018), which was long-listed for the 2018 National Book Award and Native Guard (2006) for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013.

“Visiting writers illustrate the role a deep devotion to craft can play in the span of a writer’s life,” Davis explained. “By their examples, they inspire, and by their generosity to students’ questions, they continue the work of educating the next generation of writers.”

Fairfield University’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program is a full-time, two-year program that helps aspiring writers develop their literary voice, hone their craft, and make important connections that lead to publication. Students receive one-on-one mentorship from an award-winning faculty of published authors, and typically gather for nine-day residencies on Enders Island, a peaceful retreat off the coast of Connecticut. During each residency, students take part in a series of workshops, seminars, and lectures that provide a rigorous theoretical basis for writing, as well as practical, hands-on experience.

For more information, or to apply to the program, visit www.fairfield.edu/mfa.

Tags:  Top Stories,  College of Arts & Sciences

Last modified: 11-19-20 2:23 PM

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