M.F.A in Creative Writing - Message from the Director

Dear Fellow Writer,

Thanks for taking the time to find us and learn about the low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Fairfield University, located in coastal Connecticut. Our community is uniquely bonded by our experiences at a retreat center on Enders Island, off the coast of Mystic, Connecticut, where writers come together for a total of four residencies to find creative sustenance and inspiration. Our offerings—with focuses in literary health and healing, teaching of creative writing, editing and publishing, and multi-genre options—distinguish us from other low-residency programs you may be considering.

During each residency, students take intensive morning writing workshops in the genre of their choice. After lunch, they gather with faculty for afternoon seminars on topics such as ethics in writing, innovative mixed-genre experiments, and opportunities in publishing. Our evenings include visits by guest faculty writers such as Anita Shreve, Mark Doty, Rick Moody, Philip Schultz, Mary Karr, Wally Lamb, and Charles Simic. Between the seminars, readings, talent shows, and open mic readings, we gather over meals to talk, shop, laugh—and above all to encourage one another in our projects.

At the end of the residency, each MFA student meets with a faculty mentor to sketch out a plan for individual work that will sustain the student during the coming semester. This one-on-one contact with a writing mentor continues all semester long, with constant feedback on one’s work, emails, phone conversations, assignments and readings tailored to each student’s development and needs. Our goal is for each student to bring a project toward fruition and also to nurture the development of productive writing techniques and habits.

Some students come in with impressive publishing credentials or an unpublished work of high quality; for those students, we have created an innovative Prior Learning Assessment that grants up to the equivalent of a semester’s credit for individual work. Other students come in with few samples but with seeds of ideas for one or more projects. Our faculty members are skilled writers and teachers who craft individual courses of study to guide these and many other types of writers to the next level in their development. Students choose a genre in poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, or screenwriting and add dual-genre or multi-genre courses of study along with curricular concentrations.

We pride ourselves in helping our students set goals for becoming established in the writing world. Each residency offers students the chance to meet and work with New York editors and agents, and our alumni have already published an impressive and ever-growing list of books. We offer seminars and workshops on careers in editing and publishing and are one of the few low-residency programs to offer a fifth semester to mentor students as they teach college classes.

For the working adult, a low-residency program offers a vital opportunity to focus on craft and writing goals while keeping grounded in one’s life. For our students, the Fairfield University MFA program offers encouragement for the expression of the stories and images that many have carried for years. Working with other students and faculty on the common project of finding shape, form, and words for our visions is a once in a lifetime experience.

If you’d like to see the island, feel free to come out for a visit or join us for a meal or a reading at our next residency. I’d also be happy to talk with you further about how we can design a course of study to meet your writing goals.  Feel free to contact me by phone at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2788, or email me anytime at shuber@fairfield.edu

Sincerely,

Sonya Huber,
Program Director