Fairfield University announces new low residency MFA in Creative Writing

Fairfield University announces new low residency MFA in Creative Writing

Michael White Fairfield University is launching a new MFA in Creative Writing - Low Residency Program (pending State of Connecticut Board of Higher Education approval) and is accepting applications for this graduate program which begins with its first residency from December 28, 2008 through January 7, 2009. Fairfield's first low residency model offers MFA students from around the country the opportunity to meet together twice a year to participate in intensive 10-day residencies with nationally-renowned writers and then in between residencies, to work independently with personal mentors to develop their own writing style and skills in fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.

Guest writers for the first residency include novelist Anita Shreve ( The Pilot's Wife, Body Surfing ) and poet Mark Doty ( Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, Dog Years ).

Directing the program will be Dr. Michael White, a professor of English at Fairfield University and a highly acclaimed author ( Soul Catcher, A Dream of Wolves ), who has extensive experience teaching at other low-residency programs. "Southern New England is ideal for this program," he said. "I am especially pleased with the caliber of writers we are attracting to work one-on-one with our students."

The program provides both writing theory and practice and graduates can expect to go into fields such as writing, publishing and teaching. The faculty for the Fairfield MFA are made up of national award-winning writers whose works have been recognized with honors such as the National Book Critics Circle Award, the T.S. Eliot Prize, Oprah's Book Club choice, selection as a New York Times Notable Book author, and inclusion in the Book-of-the-Month Club.

The new graduate program is designed in a low residency format so students from across the country, even those with families and full-time employment, can benefit from a close-knit, supportive community of writers. In the months in between the residencies, under the guidance of a skilled mentor, each student will work independently on a curriculum that includes regular reading and writing assignments.

The two annual ten-day residencies will take place at the scenic Ender's Island in Mystic, Conn., on Long Island Sound, where, in addition to the faculty, editors and agents panels, with guest editors from some of the major publishing houses and literary agencies, will give students a real behind-the-scenes view into the publishing world. Students will work toward producing a book of publishable quality by the end of the program.

During each residency students study in small-group workshops in the morning, followed by afternoon seminars and discussions on craft. The evenings are reserved for readings by writers of national reputation. Each of the faculty is a highly trained and committed teacher who will guide students in their chosen craft, whether their goal is writing a novel, a memoir, or a book of poetry.

At the end of the residency, each writer is paired with a mentor with whom he or she will work out a plan of study. Faculty mentors will respond to students by mail, email and phone with detailed comments and suggestions for improvement.

In the fourth semester, students work intensely with their mentors to finish and polish their creative thesis. In their fifth and final semester, which is the graduation residency, students give a formal presentation on some aspect of their portfolio and give a public reading.

For more detailed program and admission information visit www.fairfield.edu/mfa. Prospective students interested in learning more about the MFA in Creative Writing and who would like to meet Program Director Michael White, are encouraged to attend Fairfield University's next Graduate Information Session, to be held on campus at the Kelley Center, on Wednesday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Posted On: 04-02-2008 10:04 AM

Volume: 40 Number: 222