September/October 2018

Our annual MFA Issue features a comprehensive index of more than 220 graduate programs in creative writing; an interview with poet Ada Limón on her new collection, The Carrying; a day in the life of editor Caroline Bleeke of Flatiron Books; the best debut literary nonfiction of 2018; how seven literary outsiders forged their own paths to publication; writing prompts; agent advice; contest deadlines; and more.


Outsiders on the Inside

by Michele Sharpe
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Seven writers who exist on the margins—women of color, disabled women, and queer women who have no MFAs, literary agents, or industry connections—have forged their own paths to publication.

The Genre of Resistance: Debut Literary Nonfiction of 2018

by Melissa Faliveno
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A look at some of the year’s best debut literary nonfiction, including books by Sarah Viren, Nicole Chung, Shaelyn Smith, Brian Phillips, and Casey Gerald.

Special Section

Practice Imagining Change: A Workshop Manifesto

by Helen Betya Rubinstein
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A writing teacher proposes a new way to approach workshops—without the language of “good” or “bad.”

News and Trends

The Practical Writer

Strategic Thinking: Business Management Tools for Writers

by Danielle Hanson
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How traditional business strategies can be adapted to your writing life.

Like the First Time: The Persistence of a Midcareer Writer

by Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum
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The challenges and rewards of publishing a third book after a long hiatus.

The Literary Life

In Praise of Darkness: The Art of the Essay in Fraught Times

by Heather Lanier
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Exploring the dark to write a better essay, including practical tips in making room for essayistic thinking.

The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts and Exercises

by Staff
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Consider earthly and celestial bodies, write a prequel to a horror story, or explore emotional ties to clothing—three prompts to get you writing.

#MeToo: Crafting Our Most Difficult True Stories

by Tracy Strauss

Using elements of craft to tell powerful stories about sexual assault and trauma, with examples from work by Roxane Gay, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Megan Stielstra, and others.