Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing
MFA in Creative Writing
Why Emerson College?
The MFA in Creative Writing program at Emerson College fosters a community of poets, fiction and creative nonfiction writers, editors, publishers and teachers. We are based in the heart of downtown Boston, historically a center of intellectual inquiry, creative endeavor, and innovation in education. MFA students at Emerson College engage with one another not only in the classroom but also in the greater cultural environment of Boston itself.
The MFA At A Glance
As one of the longest running creative writing MFA programs in the country, Emerson’s Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing has attracted a faculty that is diverse in their capacities and adept in their fields. Nonfiction faculty members practice and teach the literary essay, memoir, biography, longform narrative journalism, and opinion and arts commentary, making Emerson’s one of the most varied and challenging nonfiction programs nationwide. The fiction faculty is distinguished in all forms—the novel, novella, short story, and the short-short story. Our poetry faculty includes formalists as well as free-verse poets, with courses in the forms of poetry, translation, and the poetic sequence. MFA students can count on the mentoring of our faculty members during and after completing the program.
Graduate Student Opportunities
Our students are offered opportunities to teach writing through the First Year Writing program, edit literary journals including Ploughshares and Redivider, work as interns at Boston publishing houses and magazines, and teach creative writing to high school students from the greater Boston community through emersonWRITES. Students participate in Emerson’s Graduate Reading Series and the inter-MFA program Breakwater Reading Series to showcase their own work. A close relationship with the MA in publishing program allows students to improve their professional skills (copyediting, book publicity, etc.) and develop lasting connections with the publishing and editorial world. Emerson offers everything aspiring writers need to hone their talents and refine their craft in a world-class city brimming with professional and artistic opportunities.
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Professor Steve Yarbrough's story "The Orange Line" was listed in Best American Short Stories 2015, along with Laura Van Den Berg's (MFA '08) "Havana".
WLP professors, alumni, and students are listed in the 2015 Best American Essays, including Professors Jabari Asim, Mako Yoshikawa, and Doug Whynott, alumni Abby Travis (MFA '14), Sebastian Stockman (MFA '11), Jody Vinson (MFA '12), Nia Malchik (MFA '04), LaTanya McQueen (MFA '11), and Alexandra Marzano-Lesnevich (MFA '10), and current MFA Xujun Eberlein.
Recent MFA alum Cheryl Buchanan ('15) compiled and edited the book Writers Without, a collection featuring the writing of clients at Boston's St. Francis House day shelter.
Roseanne Montillo's (MFA '98) latest book about track star Betty Robinson is optioned by DreamWorks.
Asako Serizawa (MFA '01) is the recipient of a fiction writing fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.
Poet Christina Pugh (MFA '00) was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Matt Rasmussen (MFA '03) won the Theodore H. Holmes and Bernice Holmes National Poetry Prize.
MFA '98 Roseanne Montillo's article about 14-year old serial killer Jesse Pomeroy appeared on CBS News Crimsider. Montillo's latest book The Wilderness of Ruin explores the hunt for the child killer during Boston's Gilded Age.
MFA '99 Olen Steinhauer's new book, All the Old Knives was recently reviewed by The New York Times.
Professor Jessica Treadway is featured in the Boston Globe for her new novel “Lacy Eye.” In the Q&A with the Globe, Treadway discusses her writing habits, including writing drafts in longhand.
MFA Stephen Shane (Nonfiction, 2015) and his colleague David Knight created a short documentary on Boston busing called Desegregated, Yet Unequal, and it was named an Editors' Pick by The Atlantic.
MFA Jennifer Crystal (Nonfiction, 2014) signed a book deal with Belfort & Bastion for her memoir Et Voilà: One Traveler's Journey from Foreigner to Francophile.
Megan Marshall won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for the biography Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.
Laura van den Berg, MFA ('08) received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for her collection of short stories, The Isle of Youth.
Bill Knott, poet and professor at Emerson for over 25 years, passed away on March 12, 2014 from complications with surgery, John Skoyles, Associate Chair of WLP remembers Bill in the piece below.
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Michelle Bailat-Jones (MFA '05) won the inaugural Christopher Doheny Award for her novel Fog Island Mountains. The award recognizes a book-length work of fiction or nonfiction exploring the experience of serious illness.
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Three fiction alumni released debut novels in January 2014: Soy Sauce for Beginners by Kirsten Chen (MFA '09), The Kept by James Scott (MFA '07), and What Ends by Andrew Ladd (MFA '10).
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Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (Nonfiction, 2009) wins a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship and receives a Notable Essay selection in Best American Essays 2013.
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Matt Rasmussen's (MFA '03) debut poetry collection Black Aperture was named a National Book Award Finalist and won a Walt Whitman Award and Pushcart Prize.
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Lauren Johnson (Nonfiction, 2014) is the winner of Glamour magazine nonfiction essay contest for writing about her military service in Afghanistan.
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