One way MFA programs provide funding to students is by hiring them as teaching assistants to teach writing classes in exchange for a stipend and, often, tuition remission and health insurance. While each program defines its teaching assistantships differently, in general there are a few things you should know before applying and preparing for one.
In this excerpted version of his article from the November/December 2009 issue, contributor Seth Abramson reveals the methodology behind his ranking of the top fifty MFA programs in the United States, plus a ranking of the additional eighty-eight full-residency programs. For the full article and additional data for each program, including size, duration, cost of living, teaching load, and curriculum focus, see the November/December 2009 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.
American novelist Thomas Legendre, who has worked with British poet Matthew Welton to develop a new creative writing program at the University of Nottingham, speaks about what makes study in England unique and what writers can gain from attending the new graduate program.
A group of writing instructors and students who over the years formed a ragtag band during late-night impromptu jam sessions at the Bennington Writing Seminars released their first CD earlier this year. Titled Let's Doghouse: A Tribute to Liam Rector, the compilation serves as a memorial to the founding director of the Writing Seminars, a poet, who passed away two years ago.
On January 15, City University of Hong Kong, an English-language school with seventeen thousand students and a campus notable for its urban, contemporary architecture, will begin accepting applications for a new low-residency MFA program in creative writing.
In November, Farrar, Straus and Giroux will publish August Kleinzahler's eleventh book of poetry, The Strange Hours Travelers Keep. A loner and a traveler himself, Kleinzahler has avoided the cloistered life of academia for stints as a logger in British Columbia, a political commentator in Germany and, most recently, a music columnist for the San Diego Weekly Reader.
Jayne Anne Phillips, who is in her second year as program director of the new MFA program in creative writing at Rutgers University's Newark, New Jersey, speaks about the program's genesis, its connection to Newark's literary and cultural community, and finding the time to complete her new novel.
Matthew Shenoda speaks about his new role as the Assistant Provost for Equity and Diversity at California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia, part of an institute-wide initiative to promote intercultural awareness and develop support mechanisms for students from varying ethnic backgrounds.
New York University announced this month that it has appointed Orange Prize-winner Zadie Smith as a full professor in its creative writing program. Smith, who currently teaches at Columbia University, will begin her tenure in September 2010.