Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

Message from the Director

Thank you for taking the time to find us and learn about our low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Fairfield University. Our community is uniquely bonded by our experiences on “the island,” where writers get away from the pressures of their daily lives to find creative sustenance and inspiration.

Students gather twice a year for a total of four intensive residencies in an incredible setting: a retreat center on Ender’s Island off the coast of Mystic, Connecticut. Our guest faculty writers have included Anita Shreve, Meghan Daum, Mark Doty, Rick Moody, Mary Karr, Wally Lamb, and Charles Simic. During each residency, students take morning workshops as well as afternoon seminars on a wide range of topics. We meet informally over meals to talk shop and laugh, then enjoy evening readings, the occasional clam bake, and nightly conversations under the stars.

In between the residencies, each student works one-on-one with a writer mentor to bring a project through the stages of inspiration and revision to completion. Our outstanding faculty includes award-winning writers who are also skilled and caring teachers. Students choose a genre focus in poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, or writing for stage and screen; interested students may also craft dual-genre or multi-genre courses of study and take advantage of curricular tracks in editing and publishing, spiritual writing, or creative writing pedagogy.

While our program helps students to strengthen the “writer within” and master the craft of writing, we also help 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 number of books. Students gain editing experience working for The Causeway, our graduate student literary journal. We offer seminars and workshops on careers in editing and publishing and are one of the few low-residency programs to offer teaching assistant positions and opportunities to develop as a teacher. With sufficient enrollment we are also able to offer occasional residences abroad either in Florence, Italy or Galway, Ireland.

For the working adult, a low-residency program offers a wonderful opportunity to focus on craft and writing goals in a way that fits within—and enhances—one’s life. If you’d like to see the island, feel free to come out for a visit, or join us for our summer residency in July.

I’d 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 x2788 or email shuber@fairfield.edu.

Sincerely,

Sonya Huber, MA, MFA
Director of the MFA Program

The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a two-year low-residency program of study leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree, with a genre of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, and concentrations in publishing/editing, spiritual writing, and literary health and healing. Students attend two annual nine-day residencies followed by a five-month independent course of study with a single faculty mentor. A total of 60 credits are needed for graduation, including four residencies, two independent study semesters in the craft of the student's choice, a critical thesis, a creative thesis, and a final public presentation and reading by the student.

Requirements

ENW 0444Fiction 124
or ENW 0445 Nonfiction
or ENW 0446 Poetry
ENW 0447Independent Study: Fiction 136
or ENW 0448 Independent Study: Nonfiction
or ENW 0449 Independent Study: Poetry
Total Credits60
1

 Each course is repeated for four or five semesters.

ENW 0444 Fiction6 Credits

The course is an intensive, ten-day program of study. Students must submit two creative pieces to their respective workshop faculty prior to the residency and attend daily workshops. Within the workshops, they must actively participate, both orally and by providing written comments on their peers' work. Students must attend at least six afternoon seminars, lectures, or panel discussions presented by resident faculty and visiting experts. Preparation for each event involves students having completed a required reading list. After the seminar, a student must submit written critiques of what they learned. Finally, all students must attend evening readings by faculty. At the end of the residency, students work out a semester plan with their assigned mentor for the following semester. This plan must be approved and signed by the mentor and submitted to the MFA administration.

ENW 0445 Nonfiction6 Credits

The course is an intensive, ten-day program of study. Students must submit two creative pieces to their respective workshop faculty prior to the residency and attend daily workshops. Within the workshops, they must actively participate, both orally and by providing written comments on their peers' work. Students must attend at least six afternoon seminars, lectures, or panel discussions presented by resident faculty and visiting experts. Preparation for each event involves students having completed a required reading list. After the seminar, a student must submit written critiques of what they learned. Finally, all students must attend evening readings by faculty. At the end of the residency, students work out a semester plan with their assigned mentor for the following semester. This plan must be approved and signed by the mentor and submitted to the MFA administration.

ENW 0446 Poetry6 Credits

The course is an intensive, ten-day program of study. Students must submit two creative pieces to their respective workshop faculty prior to the residency and attend daily workshops. Within the workshops, they must actively participate, both orally and by providing written comments on their peers' work. Students must attend at least six afternoon seminars, lectures, or panel discussions presented by resident faculty and visiting experts. Preparation for each event involves students having completed a required reading list. After the seminar, a student must submit written critiques of what they learned. Finally, all students must attend evening readings by faculty. At the end of the residency, students work out a semester plan with their assigned mentor for the following semester. This plan must be approved and signed by the mentor and submitted to the MFA administration.

ENW 0447 Independent Study: Fiction9 Credits

This course is a five-month, intensive distance-learning writing program of study developed by both the student and his or her assigned mentor. Under the mentor's guidance, the student will develop a plan to improve his or her ability to write in one genre of fiction (e.g., the short story, the novel, the historical novel). The student will be required to write a minimum of 100 pages, spread out over five monthly submissions to the mentor, and the mentor will respond with specific written notes analyzing the work's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the student will be required to read a minimum of two books per month and to write two essays on some element of the craft, totaling ten craft essays during the term. The mentor will provide feedback on all of the student's writing, accentuated by both a mid-term assessment of the student's development and a final assessment along with a grade.

ENW 0448 Independent Study: Nonfiction9 Credits

This course is a five-month, intensive distance-learning writing program of study developed by both the student and his or her assigned mentor. Under the mentor's guidance, the student will develop a plan to improve his or her ability to write short personal essays or the memoir. The student will be required to write a minimum of 100 pages, spread out over five monthly submissions to the mentor, and the mentor will respond with specific written notes analyzing the work's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the student will be required to read a minimum of two books per month and to write two essays on some element of the craft, totaling ten craft essays during the term. The mentor will provide feedback on all of the student's writing, accentuated by both a mid-term assessment of the student's development and a final assessment along with a grade.

ENW 0449 Independent Study: Poetry9 Credits

This course is a five-month, intensive distance-learning writing program of study developed by both the student and his or her assigned mentor. Under the mentor's guidance, the student will develop a plan to improve his or her ability to write poetry. The student will be required to write a minimum of 20 new poems, spread out over five monthly submissions to the mentor, and the mentor will respond with specific written notes analyzing the work's strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the student will be required to read a minimum of two books per month and to write two essays on some element of poetry craft, totaling ten craft essays during the term. The mentor will provide feedback on all of the student's writing, accentuated by both a mid-term assessment of the student's development and a final assessment.

ENW 0497 Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition Theory and Practice3 Credits

ENW 0498 Rhetoric and Composition Practicum3 Credits

Faculty in the program are both award-winning authors and teachers.

Professor

White, M.C.

Associate Professor

Davis, C.A.
Huber, Director

Lecturer

Basch
Davis
Kim
Muaddi Darraj
Osborn
Páramo
Patrick
Seamon
Wormser