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Conferences, Retreats, and Admission
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kcole7
Kristin

Feb 17, 2006, 12:29 PM

Post #1 of 13 (3394 views)
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Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post

I applied for fiction programs at UMich, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Oregon, and Oregon State. I haven't heard a thing, so now I'm exploring ways to boost my applications for next year. If I attend a writer's workshop or retreat (right now I'm considering the one at Iowa in the summer,) will that look good to adcoms? If it won't make much of a difference, then I'd rather save my money and find one locally.

Thanks for the help!


Taliesin2


Apr 14, 2005, 9:20 AM

Post #2 of 13 (3289 views)
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MFA: Writing Can't Post

Greetings. I've been researching MFA's on Writing. I have not found any courses near me that offer night classes. I live in Northern Virginia. Can somebody please
post some details on a MFA:Writing course? And does anybody know of any websites that list colleges or campus' that offer night classes for the MFA: Writing course. Thanks. :-)


willbell
Will

Apr 14, 2005, 10:09 AM

Post #3 of 13 (3280 views)
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Re: [Taliesin2] MFA: Writing Can't Post

I don't know about night classes in Northern Virgina, but you may want to research low-residency programs. With low-res programs you can attend the two week-long residencies a year and then work at night or whenever from your home.

Check out P&W and the Low-Res thread.


taizhu


Apr 14, 2005, 12:00 PM

Post #4 of 13 (3257 views)
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Re: [Taliesin2] MFA: Writing Can't Post

Have you checked the AWP book on Writing programs and conferences? That would probably have a good list of all the programs in your area. Then you could check each website for its class schedule. Another alternative is to check out the continuing studies program of local universities. Continuing studies programs tend to be in the evening bc most participants are working. I did this for 3 years before deciding to pursue an MFA.

I live near Stanford, which has a wonderful continuing studies program. They offer 5-6 writing classes per quarter, the fiction workshops lead by Stegner Fellows like Julie Orringer, Adam Johnson, Ryan Harty, etc. It is a great program and directly lead to my decision to go the MFA route. Also, continuing studies programs are nice bc you get a mix of people from various backgrounds---doctors, engineers, stay-at-home moms, octogenarians, marketeers, full-time writers, scientists, etc.

I will really miss that when I go into school bc there will be ALOT more English majors and people just out of undergrad.


mingram
Mike Ingram

Apr 14, 2005, 5:44 PM

Post #5 of 13 (3226 views)
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Re: [taizhu] MFA: Writing Can't Post

It's not an MFA program, but the Writers' Center in Bethesda, Md. offers classes in fiction (they also have classes in Northern Virginia, but the selection isn't quite as good). They meet once a week, generally in the evening, though some meet on Saturdays. The cost is pretty minimal, and there are some good teachers. I took a class there a couple years back that I enjoyed.

Richard Bausch, who teaches at Mason in the MFA program, offers one class a year (or maybe one per semester) to people outside of the program, though I think you have to apply to get in. I've heard he may be leaving Mason, so not sure if that will be continuing. Richard's brother (whose name I can't remember) teaches a class through the Writers' Center, or at least he used to, and I've heard good things about him as a teacher.

If what you're interested in is an MFA, there are programs in DC -- Mason and American -- but they're full-time residency programs.

Mike


HopperFu


Feb 17, 2006, 2:34 PM

Post #6 of 13 (3365 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post

Hey Kcole7, I think that just going to a conference isn't what looks good to an application committee. Anybody can go to Iowa (and many conferences) if they are willing to write a check. There are some conferences where it is somewhat prestigious to get in, because they are competitive. More impressive, probably, is getting a scholarship somewhere.
Going to a conference for that reason, however, probably won't do much for you. The best reason to go to a conference is a) to meet other writers, b) to workshop a story and hopefully improve it (and then use it for your application).
Sure, application committees my very well look for signs that you have been actively working on improving your writing, but it isn't like undergrad, where they want to see extracurricular activities. good writing trumps pretty much everything in the application process.
All that being said, I went to three conferences this summer, learned an incredible amount at each and every one of them, and made a quantum leap in my writing. I've heard from one school already, one of my top choices, and i got in. i don't think having the workshops on my application was what made the difference, as much as that, for me, the workshops really helped my writing.


sibyline


Feb 17, 2006, 4:55 PM

Post #7 of 13 (3337 views)
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Re: [kcole7] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post

i completely agree with hopperfu. if you're going to pick a conference, i suggest going to sewanee or bread loaf instead of iowa, just because they're more competitive, and there's something about that intense two-week experience that can be quite stimulating.

hopperfu and i got into the same program. there's absolutely no question in my mind that i wouldn't have gotten in if i didn't go to sewanee last summer. it was the best decision of my writing career so far.


cyclical



Mar 7, 2006, 5:05 PM

Post #8 of 13 (3229 views)
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Re: [HopperFu] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post


In Reply To
Anybody can go to Iowa (and many conferences) if they are willing to write a check.

Yup, nothing quite like the quality of writing at a conference with first-come-first-served festival seating. While the diversity in attendance ranges from Bored Housewife to Angry Young Man to Sylvia Plath Goth Chick, my personal fave-rave attendee is Chablis-Sipping Elitist who tries to fit as many French phrases into her work as possible because, hey, she paid for a conference in Paris once and it's très hip to know more than you. S'il vous. S'il vous plaît. Plaît, vous, plaît!


franz


Mar 7, 2006, 5:34 PM

Post #9 of 13 (3214 views)
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Re: [cyclical] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post


Yup, nothing quite like the quality of writing at a conference with first-come-first-served festival seating. While the diversity in attendance ranges from Bored Housewife to Angry Young Man to Sylvia Plath Goth Chick, my personal fave-rave attendee is Chablis-Sipping Elitist who tries to fit as many French phrases into her work as possible because, hey, she paid for a conference in Paris once and it's très hip to know more than you. S'il vous. S'il vous plaît. Plaît, vous, plaît!


I love your profile picture. I'm imagining a cat with a headband ignoring said annoying chablis sipping individual.


Franz Knupfer, author of short stories and novels


Windiciti



Mar 9, 2006, 12:03 PM

Post #10 of 13 (3150 views)
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Re: [sibyline] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post

Gosh, Sibyline and Hopperfu:
I feel like a damned neophyte blabbing about Sewanee's SIX weeks to respond to my application for the SWC this July!
(see my post today under "Conferences", etc.)

I did not know the Writing Festival at Iowa was not so prestigious. I am applying now to P-town Fine Arts Center and Sewanee, and was thinking of Iowa. It's too late for Breadloaf, but I believe someone on this forum said it was more about making connections than actual writing. I am not there yet.

None of this will help my applications to WWC, Bennington, UIC, and Sewanee---they were all sent.

What do you guys think of Indiana at Evansville? Amy Bloom will be teaching.
I cannot afford to go to Gambier, OH which I think you mentioned Hopperfu, but I'm dying to go to Sewanee and write w/Erin McGraw whom I admire.
If you wish, or have the time, and don't think this is forum-appropriate please send me a private message.
Thanks!


sibyline


Mar 9, 2006, 12:33 PM

Post #11 of 13 (3137 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post

yeah, posts *can* be deleted you know. :) sewanee takes that long because they actually read the applications, which is great for you when you go because there are fewer batty people at your workshops, if any. also, the conference fee is actually subsidized by like 2/3. if you compare it to bread loaf, it's a lot more expensive.

speaking of bread loaf, the general deadline isn't until march 20, it's just the financial aid deadline that's on march 1.


HopperFu


Mar 9, 2006, 3:01 PM

Post #12 of 13 (3110 views)
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Re: [Windiciti] Conferences, Retreats, and Admission Can't Post

I don't know about the Indiana at Evansville conference (as in, I don't know anything about it, not as in I'm doubting it).
I think the thing you really want to look for is selectivity. There should be some sort of an application process because that means you will likely have a higher quality peer group. That is NOT always the case - you can still get bad writers and worse people at a selective conference.
As for money, many conferences have some sort of scholarships available. They are competitive, but hey, if you win one you get the added bonus of the conference plus you can put down on your MFA apps that you won a scholarship. :) Good luck.


heatherchristle


Apr 9, 2006, 1:41 PM

Post #13 of 13 (2884 views)
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Re: [motet] Juniper Summer Writing Institute Can't Post

Just to be clear, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute and the Juniper Festival are two separate events at UMass. The Writing Institute is a week-long workshop-type thing, with readings and other fun stuff, held in June. The festival is a two-day reading/talk/bookfair extravaganza (April 28th & 29th). This year the focus is on celebrating John Ashbery. It is going to be great.

 

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