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.
For an editor like Caroline Bleeke of Flatiron Books, there is a lot more to the job than simply reading and editing manuscripts.
Outsiders on the Inside
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
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.
In her fifth collection, The Carrying, Ada Limón digs deep down to the roots of what she sees happening in the world today—and she is deeply troubled by what she finds.
A guide to 158 full-residency and 64 low-residency programs in creative writing, plus questions to consider before you apply.
Why do you want an MFA? Important questions to ask yourself before you apply.
Practice Imagining Change: A Workshop Manifesto
A writing teacher proposes a new way to approach workshops—without the language of “good” or “bad.”
A new low-residency MFA program makes diversity its mission.
News and Trends
With recent grant funding of $1.4 million, the National Book Foundation aims to reach more readers.
The Millay Society attempts to save Steepletop, Edna St. Vincent Millay’s former home in in Austerlitz, New York.
Sue Landers takes over as executive director of the nonprofit dedicated to LGBTQ writers.
A fiction writer discusses five journals that published stories from his debut collection, Friday Black.
Colorful illustrations accompany notes, quotes, and literary trivia about books to read and bookstores to visit.
A roundup of new anthologies, including American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, edited by Tracy K. Smith.
The first lines of a dozen noteworthy books, including Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart and Perennial by Kelly Forsythe.
A small press run by high school students in Pennsylvania publishes handmade books of poetry and prose.
Jennifer Baker on her new anthology, Everyday People: The Color of Life, published by Atria in August.
The Practical Writer
An agent answers questions on referrals, pitching a self-published book, and what to do if you’re dropped by an agency.
Strategic Thinking: Business Management Tools for Writers
How traditional business strategies can be adapted to your writing life.
Like the First Time: The Persistence of a Midcareer Writer
The challenges and rewards of publishing a third book after a long hiatus.
In this continuing series, a book reviewer discusses the art of literary criticism—from the value of negative reviews to critics he admires.
The Literary Life
In Praise of Darkness: The Art of the Essay in Fraught Times
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
Consider earthly and celestial bodies, write a prequel to a horror story, or explore emotional ties to clothing—three prompts to get you writing.
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.
A fiction writer breaks up with her novel and learns that sometimes it’s more important to follow your intuition than take advice.