Sponsor Spotlight: Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program, MFA+MA

Northwestern University Litowitz MFA+MA logoThis new and distinctive program offers intimate classes; the opportunity to pursue both creative and critical writing; close mentorship by renowned faculty in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction; and three fully supported years in which to grow as writers and complete a book-length creative project. Our curriculum gives students time to deepen both their creative writing and their study of literature. Students will receive full financial support for three academic years and two summers. Both degrees—the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in English—are awarded simultaneously at graduation.

Program faculty include Chris Abani, Eula Biss, Brian Bouldrey, John Bresland, Averill Curdy, Sheila Donohue, Stuart Dybek, Reginald Gibbons, Juan Martinez, Shauna Seliy, Natasha Trethewey, and Rachel Jamison Webster.

Sponsor Spotlight: University of New Hampshire MFA in Writing

University of New Hampshire logoThe MFA Program at the University of New Hampshire has a clear goal: to help you mold your gifts and passion for the art and to prepare you for the opportunities and demands that all writers will experience in a long career. What happens to you after you leave this program—how you will sustain yourself and your work—is one of our strongest concerns. This supportive community of students and faculty shares a belief that writing matters and that the best books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction are made out of both the creative imagination and rigorous work.

Focus on fiction, narrative nonfiction or poetry in our graduate M.F.A. program, which has launched the careers of hundreds of poets, novelists, storywriters, essayists and memoirists. What is notable is not just how hard students work on their own creative writing, but how much effort goes into their response to the work of their peers. Writers here care deeply about each other, and the production of honest work that captures life on the page.

Program :: University of North Carolina Greensboro MFA

UNCG MFA Winter 2020 LitPak FlierApplication Deadline: January 1 (annually)
One of the oldest creative writing programs in the country, UNC Greensboro’s MFA Writing Program offers fully funded graduate assistantships with stipends, tuition remission, and subsidized health insurance. The MFA is a two-year residency program with an emphasis on studio time for the writing of poetry or fiction. Students work closely with acclaimed faculty in one-on-one tutorials and small classes, including courses in contemporary publishing and creative nonfiction. Our campus features a Distinguished Visiting Writers Series of authors and editors; other professionalization opportunities include college teaching and hands-on editorial work for The Greensboro Review. More at and

Program :: Jackson Center for Creative Writing

Hollins University MFA flierApplication Deadline: January 6
For well over sixty years, this highly regarded Hollins MFA has supported lively and determined writers who want to concentrate on craft. Our intensive two-year graduate program helps students find their way in an atmosphere of cooperation and encouragement. Our students work successfully in poetry, short fiction, novels, and creative nonfiction—and in between genres. Our faculty writers take time to work with students in this vibrant, supportive community. Our alums have a remarkably high record of publication. Program provides graduate assistantships, teaching fellowships, travel funding, and generous scholarships. Most of all, a vibrant, supportive community. For information,

Program :: The MFA at Florida Atlantic University

The MFA in Creative Writing program at Florida Atlantic University offers concentrations in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Core faculty include Ayşe Papatya Bucak, Andrew Furman, Becka Mara McKay, Susan Mitchell, Kate Schmitt, and Jason Schwartz.

Students have the opportunity to work with online literary magazine Swamp Ape Review (which reopens to submissions on April 1). Learn more…

The Cult of Likeability

Jackson Bliss.jpgThe Cult of Likeability (or Why You Should Kill Your Literary Friendships) Craft essay by Jackson Bliss. TriQuarterly.

I’ve noticed a recurring trend in my fiction workshops recently that troubles me, partially because I was once the defendant in the same court of law during my own MFA program: a creative writing student stands up (metaphorically speaking) and then declares almost joyfully that they don’t like a character in the manuscript we’re workshopping or in the novel we’re reading. After I pause and wait for the student to elaborate, I soon realize that their dislike is the critique. I can’t help but wonder if the either/or fallacy of cancel culture I see routinely on social media has in some way reinforced this notion in workshop that unlikeable characters (like people in real life) don’t deserve our attention, which is why we’re allowed to stop considering them at all, once we decide we don’t like them. Frankly, I find this kind of reader response lazy, problematic, ungenerous, and uninsightful, regardless of whether we’re talking about art or people.

…What if the real problem is that, as readers, we’ve become impatient assholes who no longer want to understand the people we’d like to erase, both in literature and in our lives. What if part of the issue here is that, as readers, we now want to cancel the characters that rub us the wrong way (or even worse, who offend us) precisely because we now live in an era where we want to shut up half of those we share the world with.