West Virginia University :: NewPages Guide to Creative Writing Programs

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West Virginia University

MFA Program in Creative Writing

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

PO Box 6296


Morgantown, WV 26506-6296

Physical Location:

100 Colson Hall

Morgantown, WV 26505-6296

Website: creativewriting.wvu.edu

Program director/contact: Mary Ann Samyn

Phone: (304) 293-9730

Email: maryann.samyn@mail.wvu.edu

Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA

Type of program: residency

Length of program: 3 years

Genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry

Enrollment: 27

Total credits required: 45

Application deadline: January 15

Scholarships: no

Assistantships: yes (see website)

Core faculty: Mark Brazaitis, James Harms, Ellesa High, Kevin Oderman, Mary Ann Samyn, Ethel Morgan Smith, Glenn Taylor

Publishing/editing courses: yes (see website)

Literary magazine: Cheat River Review

Reading series: yes (see website)

Recent visiting writers: Jaimy Gordon, Carol Frost, Randall Kenan, Dagoberto Gilb, Bill Olsen, Elizabeth Graver

Program description: Founded in 2001, West Virginia University’s MFA Program is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, along the Monongahela River. Our program offers specializations in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Workshop sizes are always small, usually capped at twelve students. In addition to taking five workshops, including one out of genre, students work one-on-one with faculty mentors in preparing their theses: a book-length work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Students take additional courses in editing, professional writing, and literature; receive training in pedagogy; and teach composition and creative writing.

Our program has an active reading series; hosts the Sturm Writer-in-Residence every fall (recent visitors have included Jaimy Gordon, Carol Frost, Randall Kenan, Bill Olsen); is home to the Cheat River Review; and supports the Council of Writers (COW), an organization of our MFAs that boasts its own reading series and other social events. We also offer opportunities for outreach via the Appalachian Prison Book Project, the Bolton Writing Workshops, and partnerships with middle schools and senior citizen lifelong learners.

Our MFA faculty are award-winning writers with more than 25 books among them. Our alumni, too, are accomplished writers, having published in hundreds of literary journals, including prestigious venues such as AGNI, Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Field, Prairie Schooner, Tar River Poetry, Ninth Letter, Northwest Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Journal, 32 Poems, Georgetown Review, Colorado Review, The Malahat Review, Mid-American Review, Chelsea, Washington Square, Laurel Review, Slant, and New Orleans Review. Recent MFA students have won AWP Intro Prizes and the Iron Horse Literary Review prize; published chapbooks with Laurel Review/GreenTower Press, Elixir Press, and Dancing Girl Press; and published full-length collections with presses such as Iowa (Iowa Poetry Prize), Carnegie Mellon, Salmon Poetry, and Mariner Books.