Western New England University Launches Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

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Western New England University's new low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing will provide published authors and aspiring writers an opportunity to hone their craft within a supportive community of fellow writers. The two-year program includes week-long residencies in Dublin, Ireland and Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains, locales that have inspired great writers for generations.


Writers in Western New England University's new Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing will draw inspiration from the Irish countryside (pictured) and the historic Berkshires in Western Massachusetts

We will be featuring the best of writers and scholars, which is in the end what any program, any class anywhere depends on.

Published authors and aspiring writers alike will soon have a new opportunity to hone their craft, as Western New England University launches a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing. The low-residency MFA will cover all aspects of fiction writing through immersion in a supportive and inspiring community of writers.

“We are offering a program that makes craft its focus, on the micro level of the sentence, and on to every aspects of fiction, the longer and shorter forms, the story and the novel,” says Pearl Abraham, MFA program director and associate professor of English and Creative Writing.

The two-year program features intense seven-day residencies and individualized, mentored study. Residency locations include Massachusetts’ picturesque Berkshires and Dublin, Ireland – locales that have inspired some of the world’s greatest writers. Each residency is followed by an extended period of tutorial work with a faculty member, focusing on the student’s written work, readings, and critical thinking.

“Small classes with a high instructor-to-student ratio is a real benefit to students, allowing for more personal attention, closer readings, more elaborate constructive advice,” adds Abraham. “And we will be featuring the best of writers and scholars, which is in the end what any program, any class anywhere depends on.”

A veteran of MFA programs at Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Houston, Abraham is a celebrated novelist. She is the author of The Romance Reader, Giving Up America, The Seventh Beggar, and American Taliban. The Seventh Beggar was a semi-finalist for the Koret International Award in Fiction, while The Romance Reader was a Literary Guild featured book, a finalist for Barnes & Nobel’s “Discover Great New Writers” award, and long-listed for the United Kingdom’s Orange Prize.

“Pearl’s dedication to craft is evident to anyone who has read her fiction,” says Winthrop “Chip” Rhodes, chair of the English Department at Western New England University. “That same dedication is apparent in her teaching style, which emphasizes that good writing is a combination of hard work and creativity.”

By the time they earn their degree, MFA students will produce a substantial portfolio of original work in fiction. Students will also receive strategic advice on publishing and finding an audience by panels of agents and editors.

Western New England’s MFA in Creative Writing will enroll its inaugural class in summer of 2014. Candidates for the program should possess a bachelor’s degree and submit a writing sample with their application. For more information, contact the Admissions Office at 413-782-1517 or visit http://www.wne.edu/mfa.

Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England serves 3,800 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy and the School of Law.

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