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.
MFA Graduate 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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Current 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 has won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for the biography Margaret Fuller: A New American Life.
Laura van den Berg, MFA alumni and part-time WLP faculty, has been recognized for her collection of short stories, The Isle of Youth. She received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award.
Bill Knott, poet and professor at Emerson for over 25 years, passed away on March 12, 2014 from complications with surgery. Here, John Skoyles, Associate Chair of the Department of Writing, Literature, and Publishing, remembers Bill.
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Michelle Bailat-Jones has 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.It is awarded by the Center for Fiction in New York.
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January 2014 brings the publication and early acclaim for three debut novels by Emerson MFA alumni: Kirsten Chen (Fiction, 2009), James Scott (Fiction, 2007), and Andrew Ladd (Fiction, 2010).
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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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The WLP Department and the MFA Program extend congratulations to Matt Rasmussen (Poetry, 2003) for the outstanding success of his debut poetry collection: National Book Award Finalist, 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 service in the military and Afghanistan. Lauren received $5000, publication in the November 2013 issue of Glamour, and a meeting with a literary agent in New York. Pulitzer-prize winning novelist Jane Smiley was a judge.
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