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University of Notre Dame

Indiana, united states.

The Notre Dame MFA in Creative Writing program combines generous, attentive focus on student work with active, engaged pedagogy. We believe that an MFA is more than a credential or two years paid writing time, but rather an active, cooperative process of growth and exploration that relies as much on peer-to-peer relationships and mentoring as it does on individual initiative. Our vision of the MFA is a holistic one, in which community, craft, experimentation, dialogue, study, reflection, and teaching all contribute to self-directed learning.

Since the Program was founded in 1992, we have emphasized recruiting a diverse, international body of students. We welcome and encourage diversity in terms of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, economic background, nationality, immigration status, ability and disability, as well as in aesthetic approaches, genre, and vision. Our faculty have distinguished themselves in a variety of genres and media, and teach from their expertise in both traditional and innovative practices.

Our graduates include innovative, award-winning novelists such as Thirii Myint and Lily Hoàng, groundbreaking poets like Jenny Boully and Ae Hee, and New York Times bestselling authors such as Betsy Cornwell and Tom Coyne. These are just a few of the diverse and dynamic multitudes that make up our phenomenal alumni.

Every admitted MFA student receives a full tuition waiver, a fellowship providing a full stipend, and a health insurance subsidy, as well as teaching, editorial, and publication experience.

The Creative Writing Program encourages applications from undocumented, international, and non-traditional students.

We are also home to the Notre Dame Review, and Action Books, which our students help edit.

The Notre Dame Review, our national journal, provides editorial training in print and online publishing to all interested MFA students. For a look at our online version, go to www.nd.edu/ ~ndr/review.htm. Contributors range from Nobel Prize winners

such as Seamus Heaney, Czeslaw Milosz to top emerging writers. Selections from the Review have appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Poetry and have been awarded the Pushcart Prize.

Action Books is an independent press, edited by Johannes Göransson and Joyelle McSweeney, dedicated to international writing and hybrid forms.

Contact Information

Bachelor of Arts in English (Creative Writing Concentration) +

Undergraduate program director.

In creative writing, we make stories. We study stories. We craft language into poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction. We do a lot more, of course – like exploring the intersection of psychology and history and culture, thinking about the politics of style, and paying close attention to the astonishing world around us – but whether you’re crafting sonnets or science fiction, the real heart of what we do is magic: building worlds out of words. Through literary study and craft-based workshops, our writers work to master skills like narrative construction, rhythm, worldbuilding, imagery, metaphor, and characterization, while also closely reading literatures from around the world.

Biology, economics, business, advertising, politics, particle physics, theology, engineering – nearly every aspect of human life happens in language. But there’s only one discipline on this campus that studies the art and craft of shaping language into reality: creative writing.

Students who wish to graduate with a Concentration in Creative Writing must: Complete all the requirements for the English Major and four additional creative writing courses.

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing +

Graduate program director.

The Notre Dame Review, our national journal, provides editorial training in print and online publishing to all interested MFA students. For a look at our online version, go to www.nd.edu/ ~ndr/review.htm. Contributors range from Nobel Prize winners such as Seamus Heaney, Czeslaw Milosz to top emerging writers. Selections from the Review have appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Poetry and have been awarded the Pushcart Prize.

Johannes Goransson

Johannes Göransson is the author of eight books of poetry and criticism, most recently Poetry Against All (2020), and the translator of several books of poetry, including works by Aase Berg, Ann Jäderlund, Helena Boberg and Kim Yideum. His poems, translations and critical writings have appeared in a wide array of journals in the US and broad, including Fence, Lana Turner, Spoon River Review, Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Kritiker (Denmark) and Lyrikvännen (Sweden).


Joyelle McSweeney

An award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, translator and critic, Joyelle McSweeney is fiercely interested in what happens when art presses across national, linguistic, generic and bodily boundaries—creating fecund, non-binary zones, releasing new energies, and configuring wondrous forms of thinking and living.


Orlando Menes

Orlando Ricardo Menes is a Cuban-American poet, short story writer, translator, editor, and professor.


Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Azareen Van Der Vliet Oloomi is the author of the novels SAVAGE TONGUES (Mariner, 2021) and CALL ME ZEBRA (Mariner, 2018).


Roy Scranton

Roy Scranton is the author of five books, including LEARNING TO DIE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE and the novel WAR PORN.


Xavier Navarro Aquino

Xavier Navarro Aquino was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Named a "Writer to Watch" by Publishers Weekly, he is the author of the novel, VELORIO.


Dionne Irving

Dionne Irving is the author of the novel QUINT and the short story collection THE ISLANDS.


Publications & Presses +

Notre Dame Review

Action Books

Visiting Writers Program +

Juan Felipe Herrera

Solmaz Sharif

Claudia Rankine

Rigoberta González

Lidia Yuknavitch

Elizabeth Acevedo

Natasha Trethewey

Anaïs Duplan

Thirii Myint

John Banville

Eileen Myles

Farid Matuk

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

Michael Mejia

Manuel Muñoz

Amitav Ghosh

Jeff VanderMeer

Stephen Graham Jones

Salar Abdoh

Joanna Ruocco

Danielle Dutton

Cynthia Cruz

Lynne Tillman

Michael Martone

Alice Notley

Black Took Collective

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Creative Writing MFA alumni spotlight: Tom Coyne ('00)

Published: October 31, 2022

Author: Paul Cunningham

Tom Coyne '99 MFA

“It's difficult to overstate the impact that the Notre Dame creative writing program had on my life. I entered the program at age 22, terrified, hoping I could somehow hold my own in workshop. I left with a stack of papers that got me an agent that got me a book deal that became a movie and more books, because Notre Dame gave me the time and community and just enough confidence to chase what I'd been otherwise convinced was an unreasonable life. My mentors at Notre Dame showed me what I did well, but more importantly, they taught me my shortcomings, and that awareness has guided just about every sentence I've written since.”

Tom Coyne's ('99) latest book A Course Called America was released by Simon & Schuster in May and had a brief life on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. John Paul Newport of The Wall Street Journal calls  A Course Called America a "heartfelt, rollicking ode to golf [...] Coyne describes playing golf in every state of the union, including Alaska: 295 courses, 5,182 holes, 1.7 million total yards. Along the way, he dives deep into the essence of the game—its joys, its agonies and addictions, its hold on golfers’ souls. But most of what you’ll remember after putting the book down are the people he encounters, in all their great American diversity and passion.” Kirkus Reviews describes  A Course Called America  as "oozing with rich golf history and lore [...] a delightful, entertaining book that even nongolfers can enjoy."  Publishers Weekly calls it "an entertaining blend of travelogue, memoir, and sports writing." 

Coyne left his teaching post at St. Joseph's University to take a position as Senior Editor at The Golfer's Journal , and last August he hosted poet laureate Billy Collins on a trip across Ireland for an upcoming travel documentary. Follow him on Twitter: @coynewriter

Originally published by Paul Cunningham at english.nd.edu on October 25, 2022 .

University of Notre Dame

College of Arts & Letters

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Creative Writing MFA Student Betsy Cornwell Signs Book Deal

Published: March 07, 2012

Author: Joanna Basile

Betsy Cornwell

Betsy Cornwell, a master’s student in Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program, has sold her first two novels to Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Both books, written for a young adult audience, have their roots in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Cornwell says her work is motivated in part by her experiences working for the literary magazine Teen Ink as an undergraduate at Smith College.

“Often, the teenagers who wrote book reviews for us would say that they loved fantasy or paranormal or young adult literature, but they sometimes wished it were smarter or more literary,” she says. “I felt the same way, and I decided I wanted to try to write a young adult fantasy that could be called literary, as well.

“Some of my favorite books,” Cornwell adds, “are so-called children’s books like Peter Pan , Anne of Green Gables , and my favorite novel of all time, I Capture the Castle . I think books can sometimes matter more to children than to adults, especially unhappy or lonely children—C.S. Lewis wrote that ‘we read to know we are not alone.’ I know books were fairly life-saving for me as a child, and I love the idea that books can do that.”

A Modern Fairytale

Cornwell’s first book, Tides , will be released in 2013. Inspired by one of her favorite fairytales, “The Selkie Bride,” Tides tells the story of Noah, a teenager who moves to his grandmother’s cottage on New England’s Isles of Shoals for a summer marine biology internship.

He and his sister, who is also there for the summer, learn of their grandmother’s decades-long relationship with a female selkie, a creature that lives as a seal in the ocean but becomes human on land. Noah falls in love with the selkie’s daughter Mara, and he, Mara, and his sister must work together to save Mara’s family (and the future of the Shoals) from an aquarium worker who kidnaps young selkies to experiment on their sealskins.

Cornwell says the process of shopping the book around to agents and publishing houses helped her learn to trust her instincts as a writer. “I had an agent reject Tides because of its multiple points of view, and very soon afterward I heard from an agent who loved that element. Similarly, the two editors bidding on Tides had exactly opposite opinions about one of the supporting characters.

“I think it’s a great reminder that you can’t try to predict what an agent or editor will want—you just have to write the book you want to write.”

The Creative Writing Program students and faculty in Notre Dame’s Department of English offer a supportive environment to do just that, Cornwell says. Also “incredibly helpful” to her development, she says, is the internship at the Park Literary Group in New York City she got as one of the MFA program’s Nicholas Sparks Summer Fellows.

“When I read the contracts for my books,” she says, “I felt I understood them much better because of my internship experience.”

A Fairytale Reboot

While Clarion Books agreed to publish Tides based on the full manuscript, the company bought Cornwell’s second book, Mechanica , on the merits of the first chapter alone.

“I’m working on it with some of the tutors in the University Writing Center, as well as my fellow MFA students in workshop, right now,” she says. “It’s exciting and strange—and hugely intimidating—to draft a book that’s already sold. Before, I could always tell myself that if a draft turned out badly, no one ever had to see it. That’s not true for Mechanica .”

Cornwell describes the new book as a steampunk retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella with a feminist twist. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy featuring a Victorian-themed setting in which 19th century steam power is widely used to run advanced machines, futuristic innovations, and other anachronistic technology.

“I use steampunk elements to work with both the literal machines in the story and the theme of the machinations and pressures that fairytale story lines can exert on people,” she says.

As she continues writing Mechanica , Cornwell is also working on a collection of short fairytale retellings, a graphic novel memoir about her grandmother, and a plan to turn Tides into a three-book series.

“I hope to move to Dublin to write the first sequel, which is tentatively titled Compass ,” Cornwell says. “It follows one of _Tides_’ supporting characters to Ireland, where he looks for selkies and the sources of other Irish folktales.

“I am currently a finalist for a Fulbright grant to go to Ireland to write this book,” she adds, “so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

Learn More >

  • Creative Writing Program
  • Department of English
  • University Writing Center
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Teen Ink magazine
  • Related story: Sparks Fly for Creative Writing Program

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MFA Creative Writing

Readings & Events are where writers meet writers.

At Last, Baseball Season is Beginning Again

Feb 16th, 2018 by Coleen

Spring training is starting, thus marking the beginning of baseball season. I haven’t asked around, but I bet it’s safe to assume that each and every one of us in the Creative Writing Program is equally as excited as I am. Time to break out those great baseball books : The Natural , The Art of Fielding, The Great American Novel, and of course Notre Dame’s very own Valerie Sayers’s, The Powers. If you’re a poet, go and memorize Casey At The Bat.

And what better way to celebrate the beginning of baseball season than a double-header? In the spirit of the late Ernie Banks, we’re gonna “play two” by having both Tom Miller and Noni Ramos read at the Hammes Bookstore!

Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher’s Flight , he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT and college English instructor. He’s now an emergency room doctor in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first novel.

Noni Ramos is an award-winning educator and writer of “intense” young adult literature. Carolrhoda Labs will release her debut novel The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary February 1st 2018 and The Book of Love, fall 2019. She resides in Virginia with her soul mate Michael G. Richards, beloveds Margot and Lango Tango, lizard Athantas, nefarious guinea pigs Cookie Dough and Friskette, and two felines, Black Magic and Eartha Kitt. #weneeddiversebooks @POCinpub @LatinxinPublishing

So come on down to Hammes Bookstore on February 21 at 7:30 PM. Don’t bring your gloves, because there will be no foul balls, and because even if there were, only kids should do that.

Posted in Events , Readings | Comments Off


Feb 13th, 2018 by Coleen

The Olympics are well underway. The USA’s collected three golds so far, from Jamie Anderson, Red Gerard and Chloe Kim. There’s no event that involves reading or writing fiction though, so we’re going to live up to the hype our own way by entertaining a visit from our own de-facto gold medalist, last year’s Sparks Prize winner, Tania Sarfraz.

Ms. Sarfraz got her BA in anthropology from Brown University before coming to Notre Dame’s MFA, where she wrote her thesis, Metropolis. She digs the exhaustion of the short form.

You can find her work in Occulum, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and Cosmonaut’s Avenue.

So luge your way over to Hammes Bookstore by tomorrow, February 14, at 7:30 PM. Try not to crash like Emily Sweeney.

AAAaaaand We’re Back

Jan 30th, 2018 by Coleen

While the winter rages on, winter break has come to a screeching halt.  Hopefully everyone has enjoyed their vacations or staycations, because it’s back to the assignments and working and snow and afternoon coffee-jitters, and spring break it’s a long road to spring break.

Silver Lining:

With the MFA students, the MFA reading series has also returned! The first reading will feature Jac Smith, Joseph Thomas, and myself (Jake McCabe). The three of us can’t wait to welcome everybody back into the sphere of productivity with a little bit of fiction.

Here are our bios:

Jac Smith is from Long Beach, California where she received her degree in psychology at CSULB. In 2014 she was a recipient of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Scholarship for fiction. Recently she was awarded the 2018 summer residency through The Studios of Key West. Her fiction has appeared in Santa Ana River Review and Hypertrophic Literary .

Joseph Earl Thomas is a Black writer from Northeast Philly whose writing has appeared or is forthcoming in After the Pause , Apiary , Philadelphia Printworks , The Offing , and Philadelphia Stories . He is also 2017 VONA workshop alumni. A memoirist and poet, he often wonders how things might have gone had he fallen in love with hominids first, and so he spends much of his time reading and writing speculative fiction. Joseph is grinding on two book-length projects: Sink , a memoir about coming of age as an undereducated blerd in the city, and a “war” novel, God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer . Joseph blogs on birth world problems at josephearlthomas.com  and is currently an MFA candidate in prose at the University of Notre Dame.

I am from Chicago and I hold a BFA from Pratt Institute, where I worked as a creative writing teacher at Pratt’s “Saturday Art School” program, as well as editor of Ubiquitous, Pratt’s literary magazine. At Pratt, I wrote a collection of shorts called Chicago Stories for my senior thesis, which was a finalist for Pratt’s thesis prize.

Come and join us January 31, at 7:30 PM in the Geddes Hall Coffee Shop. Free drinks at the water fountain out in the hallway.


Dec 1st, 2017 by Coleen

The holiday season is kind of a ridiculous time, if you think about it; when else, during the year, do we so wholly dedicate the (sometimes literal) fabric of our daily lives around a certain aesthetic for as long as a month? It’s pleasant, yes, but it’s weird. The fake white beards, the ho-ho-ho-ing, the eggnog, the twinkling lights all over the place. If an alien were to come to Earth and just observe the holiday season, they might think, “What are all these people doing all of a sudden? Why are they acting this way?”

So in the spirit of that investigation of yuletide strangeness, Kellie Wells is coming to read fiction at Notre Dame on December 6!

Ms. Wells graduated from the University of Kansas with a BS in Journalism and a BA in English. She received MFAs from the University of Montana and the University of Pittsburgh, and a PhD from Western Michigan University. Previously the director of the graduate writing program at Washington University in St. Louis, Wells now teaches at the University of Alabama, where she is also a member of the advisory board for The Tusculum Review. She also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University. Her short story collection  God, the Moon, and Other Megafauna  won the 2017 Richard Sullivan Prize.

Ms. Wells is known for her enveloping pushing fictive style and authorial voice, which has been described as “at once fey and surgically precise” (Jamy Gordon, National Book Award winner). Her most recent short story collection, The God, The Moon, and Other Megafauana is concerned with the surreal highs and lows of humanity with characters that seem to exist on the emotion outskirts of daily life.

So grab your candy cane, wear your long red hat, put on a very ugly sweater, think about how absurd that process is, and head over to the Hammes Campus Bookstore on December 6, at 7:30 PM.

Merry Christmas!

A Play: Dead Youth, Or the Leaks by Joyelle McSweeney

Nov 20th, 2017 by Coleen

The insecurity associated with driving a car usually occurs at night, when you have to watch out for creepy stalkers who conceal themselves in the backseat of your vehicle. But as the urban animals (pigeons, squirrels, bunnies, etc.) have enhanced their intelligence by mingling with humans in the pretense of begging for food to learn humans’ weaknesses, they are secretly developing an intricate plot to conspire against humans. They decide to walk in an innocent manner on the road and  drivers have to be extra cautious so they won’t crush them. When the humans are blocked by the seemingly ignorant animals and come out the car to chase the animals away, these evil creatures will bring you down with martial arts they picked up from watching Kungfu Panda, and hijack all the cars to crash nuclear stations to destroy humanity.

If you are interested in hijacking and resurrection, you should definitely come to see Joyelle McSweeney’s play Dead Youth, Or the Leaks.  In the play, the protagonist called into life teenagers from all over the world who died violently on a containership to Magnetic Island, and have to deal with two potential hijackers: a young Somali pirate and a female Antoine de St-Exupery. The play explores survival amid violence and obscenity, and subverts misery and death resulting from capitalistic exploitation.

Here is the bio of Joyelle McSweeney, the author of Dead Youth, or the Leaks :

Joyelle McSweeney is the author of two hybrid-genre novels:  Flet , a sci-fi (Fence, 2008) and  Nylund, the Sarcographer (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2007), a baroque-noir. She is also the author of two volumes of poetry,  The Commandrine and Other Poems  (Fence, 2004) and  The Red Bird , which was chosen by Allen Grossman to inaugurate the Fence Modern Poets Series in 2001. Her most recent titles include  The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults , a book of transnational, transgenre poetics essays (University of Michigan’s Poets on Poetry Series, 2015),  Percussion Grenade (Fence), and  Salamandrine, 8 Gothics  (Tarpaulin Sky Press). With Johannes Göransson, she publishes  Action Books   and  Action, Yes , a press and web-quarterly dedicated to international writing and hybrid forms. She teaches at the University of Notre Dame.

McSweeney’s areas of interest and teaching include poetry, prose, and translation; performance and dramatic form; manifestos, art and politics; theory and media studies; mixed and intermedia art and writing; mixed, hypergenred and non-genred writing; disability studies and gender studies; as well as modern and contemporary literature and various avant gardes. She has written critical articles and manifestos on all of the above as well as review articles on such authors as Alice Notley, Hannah Weiner, Anne Carson, and Lyn Hejinian for such journals as the  Boston Review, American Book Review , and  boundary2 . Other authors and artists of special interest include Antonin Artaud, Jack Smith, Kenneth Anger, Kate Bernheimer, Roberto Bolaño, Pume Bylex, Hiromi Itō, and Aimé Césaire.

The play will be performed at Philbin Studio Theatre in DeBartolo Performing Arts Center from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

I will see you there.

Posted in Events , Theater | Comments Off

A Visit From Lydia Yuknavitch

Oct 30th, 2017 by Coleen

Because things so rarely make sense — think about the days of your life. Think about a good day you’ve had, a fun night out, think back even further, maybe a birthday party when you were a kid, a fun vacation, something like that. After that, think about the bad days — maybe you failed a class, got caught doing something bad, maybe you were broken up with, etc. Then, if you can muster it, think about the really bad thing — that moment in your life that was simply awful, the thing you’ve blocked out, the thing that was just beyond the pale . I bet it felt as though it came from nowhere.

Fiction writers work constantly in that liminal space between the things that could happen and the things that do happen. And then, what do we make of it? Do we try to make sense of it? Do we just capture it?

Lydia Yuknavitch holds those moments up and looks at them, letting them exist in all their human strangeness as she approaches them from angles one most certainly would not have otherwise come up with — she uses the lens of the body, the lens of mythology, the lens of sexuality and sociality to find the banal in the profound and the profound in the boring. Reading her work is essential.

A few words on Ms. Yuknavitch:

Lydia Yuknavitch is the author of four books. The Book of Joan is her most recent. Before that, The Small Backs of Children won the 2016 Oregon Book Award for Fiction. Other works include Dora: A headcase, Allegories of Violence, and her widely acclaimed memoir, The Chronology of Water. The Chronology of Water was a finalist for the PEN Center USA’s award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award, and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice. Forthcoming this fall is The Misfit’s Manifesto, a book based on her most recent TED Talk.

She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyna, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, The Rumpus, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY).

She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she lives with her husband and son and runs the workshop series she founded, Corporeal Writing. She teaches both in person and online.

She will be reading on November 1 at Hammes Campus Bookstore, at 7:30 PM.

See you there!

A Translation Reading by Jeannine Pitas

Nights’ meanings have shifted constantly throughout my life. Now I welcome nights with my whole heart because it means I can sleep soon after I finish all my work at home (or it can mean endless caffeine and writing, as well as few hours of sleep). But as a kid, things are different. I would protest when my parents attempted to put me in bed, and disliked the fact that I had to stay at home rather than playing outside. Under the pretense of being a rambunctious child, the real reason that my reluctance to sleep is my fear of a nocturnal ghost roaming in my room (maybe before we moved to the apartment?). It is invisible, but I could clearly sense it approaching to my bed to play some tricks on me. I was afraid that the apparition would pinch my face and pull off my hair, so I hid under my quilts. But in retrospection, I find hiding a futile action because this ghost probably doesn’t have eyes anyways, and is relying on its sixth sense. In the mornings though, I would discover that either I or my toys were displaced, lying on the ground instead of on the bed.

I was lucky that this ghost I encountered is mischievous rather than malicious. Sometimes though, inanimate objects can be way more scarier than ghosts. Imagine that the dolls or toys you have become active at night, rob all the cows in a nearby farm, and you wake up with cows licking your face. So a piece of advice for you: when you sleep, don’t annoy your toys by holding them too tightly like the cat does. Treat them gently, otherwise they might cause you trouble while you sleep.

But nights are not always full of creepy and uncanny phenomena. In Marosa Di Giorgio’s I Remember Nightfall,  the night is beautiful (though disturbing as well). In the translation, we can read Giorgio’s visceral language fleshed out in English. In parts of her poetry, we are grounded in the domestic atmosphere. In the kitchen of the narrator’s mother, we can smell the scent of vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and hear that cake talks through her inventive language.  We can observe the birth of mushrooms, listen to the moaning of the old cat in the household, and sense the ghost girl riding a horse as well as the apparition moving furtively under the magnolia.  I Remember Nightfall  creates a mythic night-world where imaginary entities roam freely in familiar space.

Here are the bios for this cool poet and excellent translator of her book:

Born in Salto, Uruguay, and raised on her family’s farm, Marosa di Giorgio (1932-2004) is one of the most prominent Uruguayan poets of the twentieth century. Di Giorgio began writing in her childhood and published her first book of poems at the age of twenty-two. She then went on to publish a total of fourteen books of poetry, three collections of short stories, and one novel. While some critics have categorized her as a surrealist, she herself denied membership in any literary movement or school. Although she was relatively unknown outside the Southern Cone during her lifetime, she is now becoming more and more widely read throughout Latin America and Europe.

Jeannine – is a writer, teacher, and Spanish-English literary translator currently living in Dubuque, Iowa, where she teaches at the University of Dubuque. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and the translator of several Uruguayan poets. She has published translations of acclaimed Uruguayan writer Marosa di Giorgio’s work,  The History of Violets  (UDP) and  I Remember Nightfall (UDP), and her own first full-length poetry collection,  Things Seen and Unseen , is forthcoming from Quattro Books.

I hope to see you there.

Best, Lavinia

The Last MFA Reading, Before Winter Comes

The weather has been cold and rainy recently. Despite a few weeks of delusionally warm weather in the middle of October, we can’t ignore the old prophecy “Winter is Coming in South Bend!” Once snow hits campus, you probably won’t want to venture out of home and trudge in the snow for an event. But our third 2 nd year MFA reading will occur before the snow arrives, and it will be definitely worth it to come and hear poetry from three great poets: Moonseok Choi, Madison McCartha, and Jean Yoon. After going to our last MFA reading this semester, you can be content by staying warm at home and waiting for Santa Claus to leave the throne and give you tons of chocolate for you to survive the winter.

Here is the bio for these cool poets:

Moonseok Choi was born in Seoul, South Korea, but spent 6 years of his childhood in the wilderness of Kansas picking up English. His fluency in both languages earned him a BA at Yonsei University’s Underwood International College, and allowed him to serve as a military translator in the ROK Army Special Forces for 2 years. He majored in Comparative Literature and Culture and became 11 different people for his senior thesis to write a fictional anthology of world poetry.

Moonseok won Yonsei’s Academy of American Poets Prize in 2014 for his sonnet “A Postcard from İzmir.” He enjoys writing in traditional forms as much as experimenting with contemporary poetry, and takes inspiration from Federico Garcia Lorca, John Berryman, Kenneth Koch, and many more. His other interests include teaching, translating both literature and official documents, watching and analyzing films, and exploring issues of gender, race and discrimination in Korea and America.

Graduating from Beloit College, Madison McCartha has had flash-fiction published in  Burrow Press , and poetry in  Nightjar Review , Verse Press ,  and  The Pinch.  Raised in San Diego, Madison recently spent his time freezing to death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he served both as Asst. Editor and Design Editor for  Cream City Review , and became the Poetry Editor for  Storm Cellar Quarterly . At Notre Dame, he reads for the Notre Dame Review, and has served as the Managing Editor for  Yield Magazine . Artists who have influenced him include Antonin Artaud, Aimé Césaire, Peter Gizzi, Kim Hyesoon, Dorothea Lasky, Larry Levis, Anne Waldman, Kara Walker, and Yoko Tawada. Madison’s interests include horror flicks, affect theory, shamanism, Björk, and a capacious poetry capable of housing a multiplicitous self.

Jean uses writing, speaking, singing, video, and gesture to investigate the relationships between language, memory, and the body.

The reading will be on Wednesday November 15th, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the Geddes Hall Auditorium.

I will be there, and hope you can come too.

A Fine Reading, For Ducks and Humans Alike

Oct 24th, 2017 by Coleen

It’s been raining a lot lately — good weather for reading.

The best weather for going to a reading?

Perhaps not. But that all depends on the reading you’re thinking about going to, and this reading is well worth it. So make like Donald Duck and break out your umbrellas and make your way to Geddes Hall Auditorium and 7:45 PM tomorrow (if it’s still raining tomorrow — if not it will look weird if you bring an umbrella), and listen to some top-notch fiction by three top-notch writers: Abby Burns, Ingabirano Nintunze, and Daniel Tharp.

Here are their bios:

Abby Burns earned her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015, where she studied English literature, creative writing, and rhetoric. Her writing primarily focuses on how grief and loss work to shatter our sense of normality. Queer rhetorical theory and writers like James Baldwin, Jeanette Winterson, and Toni Morrison, all influence her work. Abby’s other interests include social movements, intersectional feminism, migration studies, and cheese curds.

Ingabirano received a B.A. in English Literature and Telecommunication from Texas A&M University. She has won the Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry and the UWC Writing Award for her short story, “A Midday Train Through Russia.” She’s worked as a production assistant on several professional video projects, performed as a theatre actress in Austin, Texas, and when she’s not writing words, she likes writing music to go along with them. Her work explores urban and suburban magic, belief systems, genuine representations and romantic tragedy. She likes her protagonists average and her fantasy in excess.

Daniel Tharp attended Kirtland Community College for a year before moving half way across the country and graduating from Pittsburg State University with a Bachelors of Arts degree. A Teaching Assistantship, over a hundred students, and two years later, Daniel Tharp graduated from Pittsburg State University with a Masters of Arts degree with emphasis in fiction. His thesis entitled “Home,” which is currently under review for the Distinguish Thesis Award at his Alma Mater, depicts a complex and brutal world where characters struggle not with outside forces but with themselves and what it means to be human. Tharp attends the University of Notre Dame’s MFA program on a Prose Fellowship.

Time: 7:45 PM

Place: Geddes Hall Auditorium

Date: October 25, 2017

I will see you there!

Jake McCabe

Autumnal Reading: Daniel Uncapher and Erik-John Fuhrer

Oct 10th, 2017 by Coleen


Always, I feel like the beginning of fall, maybe more so than other seasonal changes, has many positive associations to go along with it. Fashion-wise, you can begin layering again, breaking out that cool sweater or edgy denim jacket you’ve had in the closet since spring. Halloween comes along, and we can all enjoy picking out costumes and the spooky decorations adorning houses around the neighborhood, along with the fun nostalgia that comes along with Halloween TV specials and the like. The drama of playoff baseball takes place in the fall (although in fairness this can be stressful), and the NFL season begins again. The foliage, of course, is the prettiest it will be all year. Hot chocolate. Flannel.

Another thing about the fall that maybe goes underappreciated: writing programs the world over begin their student reading series! Notre Dame’s first reading will take place on October 11, and the readers will be Daniel Uncapher and Erik-John Fuhrer.

Here are the readers’ bios:

Daniel studied philosophy and classics at the Universities of Edinburgh and Mississippi, where his creative non-fiction and poetry won first and third place in the 2013 Southern Literary Festival. He operates a private letterpress in Water Valley, Mississippi called Ridge & Furrow, collects incunabula and mid-century jacketed hardcovers, and used to be a hip-hop videographer. His most recent interests include the work of the Water Valley writer Hubert Creekmore and the unique literary legacy of Gogol, Chekhov, Kafka and Borges. His short fiction has appeared in  Neon Literary Magazine  and his creative non-fiction about Mississippi in  The Baltimore Review .

Erik Fuhrer is interested in literary boundary crossings, manifested most recently in representations of the nonhuman and transgressions between human and nonhuman subjects in modernist literature. He is inspired by hybrid forms of literary expression that elide genre boundaries as well as by quiet, lyric poetry that often achieves the same transgressions more subtly. He is currently also a PhD student in English at Notre Dame where he is a presidential fellow. His work has previously appeared in  The Long Island Quarterly, First Literary Review East, The Fib Review, The Shotglass Journal , and the  Oxonian Review , where he was a finalist for their Third Annual Poetry Competition.

Come and bring everyone you’ve ever met. I am in workshop with both writers, so I can personally vouch for how awesome the night will be.

The reading will be at Geddes Hall auditorium at 7:00 PM.

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University of Notre Dame

University Writing Program

College of Arts and Letters

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Committed to helping students become excellent writers who can communicate effectively in classroom, community, and civic settings.

Every time we write — whether in a personal, academic, or civic setting — we have a responsibility to do so in ways that are intellectually honest, responsive to our readers, and considerate of other views. Welcome to the University Writing Program.

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Want to improve your writing? Need help presenting your argument? The writing center can help!

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Writing & Rhetoric

Writing and Rhetoric courses introduce students to principles of academic discourse and ethical argumentation.

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The Writing Program supports the development of excellent writing and speaking skills by offering writing courses and resources for all members of the University community.

Fresh Writing

Fresh Writing

Fresh Writing is a journal of exemplary essays produced by students in their first year of study at the University of Notre Dame. Essays are chosen for their engaging prose and the extent to which they successfully execute the conventions of writing genres students may encounter in other academic, civic, or professional contexts.

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First Year Academic Advisor (Arts & Letters)

First Year Academic Advisor (Arts & Letters)

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David Griffith is an academic adviser and holds the rank of Assistant Advising Professor and has a special interest in advising students interested in careers in education, the creative and performing arts, and arts administration.

Prior to joining the College of Arts and Letters, Griffith served as Vice President for Education at the Chautauqua Institution, and held a number of teaching and leadership positions in Creative Writing, including Director of Creative Writing at Interlochen Center for the Arts, Chair of Creative Writing at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, and Assistant Professor of English at Sweet Briar College.

He is the author of  A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America , a collection of essays reflecting on how images of violence in film, literature, and in news media shape our collective understanding of violence as a means of solving problems. His most recent research is focused on the intersection of Catholic Social Teaching and popular culture, as well as the connections between poverty and creativity and mythologies surrounding artistry and creativity.

A 1998 graduate of Notre Dame, Griffith received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002.

Current Projects

  • Pyramid Scheme: Making Art and Being Broke in America (a collection of essays on the mythologies both generative and pernicious that surround artistry and creativity)


Education For Your Life

  • Acceptance Rate

Mfa Creative Writing Acceptance Rate

Mfa creative writing acceptance rate.

We receive over 250 applications and generally admit less than 5% .

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The total number ranges from 20-25 students each year.

How large are the workshops?

The limit is 15 students, but workshops are usually smaller.

How many applications do you typically receive each year?

We receive over 250 applications and generally admit less than 5%.

MFA Applications – The War on Loneliness

But I think that part of the answer is that the people who do the selecting in these cases—particularly in the case of MFA admissions—aren’t necessarily following just their aesthetic standards. Because, you know, I can’t help but think that according to the aesthetic standards of most professional writers, the stories of almost all MFA applicants would be deemed unworthy (since, you know, we’re obviously still just students).

This year, my state of mind was the opposite. Since I knew that I only wanted to go to a program that would giving me teaching assistantship that included a stipend and a tuition waiver, I continued to apply to many of the most selective schools (which also tend to be the best funded schools). This time, I was well aware of the odds, and they drove me to despair. I vowed that I would tell very few people about my applications, and that I would definitely not post about them online.

Alot of the recent debate on MFA programs has centered on whether or not they actually help you become a better writer. And that’s all well and good. But it kind of ignores the fact that on a purely financial level, a well-funded MFA program offers a pretty great place to lay up and write for two or three years. For a literary writer, seeking an MFA almost seems like a no-brainer: universities are willing to pay you to learn how to write better. But for a genre writer, the calculation is slightly more complicated.

Teaching Load – I’m just going to come out and say what I’ve been thinking for awhile. If you’re teaching two classes a semester and only getting a $12,000 stipend, then that’s not a job…that’s indentured servitude. Two classes a semester is not a half-time appointment; it’s full-time. Each class is going to take at least five hours a week to teach and an additional 10-15 per week of preparation and grading. I applied to a few schools with 2/2 teaching loads, but I mostly applied to schools with 1/1 (or, even more deliciously, 0/1) teaching loads.

I first realized that I wanted to get an MFA after reading an excerpt of the Writer’s Daily Planner, put out by Small Beer Press*. The planner contained the deadlines for numerous contests, fellowships, and grants. Thousands and thousands of dollars, just lying around for writers to take. Now, I realized that all this stuff was really, really hard to get, but so what? Becoming a successful writer is also really, really hard. If I was somehow able to put myself in the running for this alternate income stream, then I’d be able to buy two tickets to the making-a-living-as-a-writer lottery instead of just one.

Program Details

Overview The Creative Writing program at Notre Dame is a 2-year, 36-credit program. Most semesters, students take a 3-credit workshop in their genre (poetry or fiction), a 3-credit literature course, and 3 credit hours of thesis advising, for a total of 9 credits each semester. More information can be found here .

How many students are admitted each year? We typically admit 8-9 students per year for a total community of 16-18 writers.

What is your acceptance rate? Our acceptance rate is under 5%.

What is the teacher/student ratio? The teacher student ratio is 1:4, and you can receive as much attention from the professors as you want.

Is there a reading series? We have a full reading series of outside, published writers each semester, and every student is welcome to participate by suggesting writers, helping set up the readings, picking writers up from the airport, meeting with writers over a meal, meeting with them one on one, etc. We also have a full series of readings by current MFA students. Each student has the opportunity to read twice during the semester.

Can I teach or work in publishing? Every student admitted to the MFA program will be assigned a fellowship which carries a stipend and responsibilities in the area of outreach, publications, and/or teaching.

The publishing fellowships include the Sparks fellow, who works for the Notre Dame Review, and the Action Books fellow, who works for the international press, Action Books. The Sparks fellow is typically a prose applicant; the Action Books fellow is typically a poet. Students who hold other fellowships can still read for the Notre Dame Review and/or edit our two journals, ReVisions and The Bend.

We admit two students with teaching fellowships, one for a prose applicant and one for a poetry applicant. The teaching fellows typically work in the office the first year and teach creative writing the second year. However, there are often opportunities for students who hold other fellowships to teach one section of creative writing in their second year.

The remaining fellowships are associated with outreach and other duties. All students are warmly encouraged to participate in outreach projects.

What is the average demographic of your students? We have had students of all ages and all circumstances. Some are right out of an undergraduate environment; others have come to the program after establishing careers in English and other fields. English majors tend to make up the majority, but we have many students who majored in other disciplines.

Can I work towards both an MFA and PhD in English? Yes. However, if a student seeks simultaneous entry into the MFA and the MA/ PhD in English program, admission must be approved by both the Graduate Studies Committee and the Creative Writing admissions committee. For regulations of the graduate school concerning admission, see the regulations of the PhD program .

Current MA and PhD students seeking admission to the Creative Writing Program should discuss their candidacy with the Director of Creative Writing, then submit a statement of purpose and writing sample, along with a brief letter indicating their wish to be considered for the program during the regular application period. Do you teach nonfiction writing? While we don’t offer a separate workshop in nonfiction, we do accept people in the genre, and we regularly address both fiction and nonfiction in the prose workshop. We have had a number of MFA theses in nonfiction, and some of our students have won and have received honorable mentions in the AWP Nonfiction Intro Award category.

Do you admit playwrights? We have never admitted a playwright as a playwright, because we do not currently offer any play-writing classes. However, plays may be included as a part of your writing sample, and we have had a number of students write plays during their time here and submit plays as a part of their final theses.

Do you teach screenwriting? We sometimes offer screenwriting classes in conjunction with the Film, Television, and Theatre department.

How do pieces of speculative fiction (fantasy/science fiction) fit into the program? Is there room for writers of speculative works or is it geared more towards authors of mainstream fiction? While genre fiction is not an advertised part of our program, and our emphasis is pretty much in literary fiction, the professors and writers here tend to be all over the board when it comes to styles and genres, so anything goes.

I already have an MFA in Creative Writing, should I apply to this program? We’d recommend to not pursue an additional MFA in Creative Writing. You might consider a PhD in Creative Writing elsewhere.

Does Notre Dame accept undocumented graduate students? The Creative Writing Program welcomes applications from undocumented writers. With our campus partners such as Letras Latinas—the literary arm of the Institute for Latino Studies—we strive to provide support, mentorship and community for undocumented students. Please contact us if there is any way we can support you in preparing your application, including an application fee waiver, if needed.

Study Abroad? There are no study abroad opportunities within the MFA creative writing program. It is a two-year residential program.

The GRE is not required; however, you are welcome to send your scores if you have taken the test. The GRE code for OSU is 4586.

Yes, however, applicants are only accepted in ONE genre. Applicants wishing to apply to both the MFA in Poetry and the MFA in Nonfiction, for example, should submit separate applications to the Graduate School, including separate writing samples and statements of objectives, and will be required to pay separate application fees. If you are submitting one application, please send only the writing sample that reflects your genre of choice on screen #4 of the online application.

The writing sample is the most important part of the application. Beyond the writing sample, admission to OSU’s Creative Writing Program is also based on three letters of recommendation, the student’s personal statement of objectives, and college transcripts. Applicants must have a four year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, and a combined GPA of at least 3.00 on the last 90 quarter (60 semester) credit hours of graded undergraduate work toward the first baccalaureate degree plus all work completed thereafter.

No. Graduate study in Creative Writing is only available through the MFA Program.

Yes. The writing sample, statement of objectives, resume, and recommendation letters may be submitted online. This is the preferred method. Alternatively, you may send these materials via the postal service to the following address:

School of Writing, Literature, and Film

Oregon State University

238 Moreland Hall

Corvallis, OR 97331

Please visit the Application Guide for a list of application materials and guidelines.

To apply for a graduate degree at Oregon State University, simply use the online portal . You will be able to save your application and continue at your convenience.

The application deadline is in early January. Please check the application guide for the deadline that applies to any particular year. The fee is $75 for domestic students, and $85 for international students.

The Graduate School offers application fee waivers under very limited conditions. To see if you meet the requirements, visit the Graduate School website .

The writing sample plays the biggest role in the selection process.

The poetry sample should consist of no more than 10 to 12 poems. The prose sample (fiction or creative nonfiction) should be between 15-20 pages in length.

Three letters of recommendation should be written by individuals who can discuss an applicant’s creative writing in detail, as well as academic interests and aims; letters for teaching assistant applicants should include discussion of teaching potential.

We will accept late recommendation letters, as long as this information gets to us within about a week of the deadline. Please encourage your recommenders to send their letters on time.

There are no spring admissions to the graduate MFA program.

You must complete a new application and re-submit relevant material, including letters of recommendation, writing sample, personal statement of objectives, and transcripts each year.

Absolutely. Our MFA students come from a wide variety of academic backgrounds.

We typically receive between 360 and 400 applications for 10-14 spots across three genres (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry).

Our acceptance rate is under 4%.

Program Requirements

Creative writing at OSU is a 2-year, 60-credit program. OSU runs on the quarter system. Most quarters, a student takes a 4-credit workshop in their genre (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction), a 4-credit literature or craft course, and 4 credit hours of thesis advising, for a total of 12 credits each quarter. Click here for more.

Within the 60 required credits, each MFA candidate must take at least 1 pre-1800 English course. Students holding a GTA position must also complete at least 1 composition theory course as part of their coursework.

Students produce a thesis at the end of their second year of study. The thesis is a sustained piece of imaginative writing of literary merit. Generally, length, form, and content are mutually agreed upon by the student and the thesis advisor, with final approval resting with the advisor. Typically, a thesis is between 75 and 120 pages in length for fiction and nonfiction, and may be a short-story or essay collection, a novel, or a sustained nonfiction work. Poetry theses are between 35 and 48 pages in length.

An oral examination, or “thesis defense” is given in the students final term of study. It measures a writers growth, and involves questions on theory and technique, on the history of the genre, on the students own creative work, and on the students grasp of the contemporary situation in the field of Creative Writing. The committee consists of the students thesis advisor, a second representative from Creative Writing, a representative from Literature or Rhetoric and Writing (or, in some cases, from another field of study in which a student has a particular interest), and a Graduate School representative.

No. The MFA degree culminates, for each student, in a 2 hour Thesis Defense. See above, under “What is required to graduate” for more details.

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University of Notre Dame

Department of English

College of Arts and Letters

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Exploring the worlds within words

From the Bible to Station Eleven , from Frederick Douglass to Rupi Kaur, reading makes us who we are. Through close attention to language and form, the study of literature, and the practice of creative writing, scholars and writers in the Department of English explore how we make meaning together.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Meet our faculty

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Major in English

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Creative Writing at Notre Dame

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Explore our Graduate Programs

As a student here, you will work with faculty at the leading edge of their fields, gain access to excellent resources, receive generous support, and participate in a dynamic and inclusive intellectual community.

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A New Experimental Course on Poetry, Programming, and Design

February 13, 2024

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English Ph.D. Alumni Spotlight: Emily Pitts Donahoe ('21)

January 29, 2024

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Creative Writing MFA Alumni Spotlight: Sami Schalk ('10)

January 05, 2024

BOOK LAUNCH: Peace in the US Republic of Letters, 1840-1900 by Sandra Gustafson

Time: Fri, Feb 23 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Location: English Commons; 2nd Floor Decio

The Color Purple: Book Club Discussion

Time: Wed, Feb 28 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: Sojourner Truth Commons, 300 O'Shaughnessy Hall

Creative Writing Series ft. Orlando White

Time: Wed, Feb 28 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Location: 232 Decio English Commons

Creative Writing Reading Series ft. Cleveland Review of Books (Billy Lennon, Zach Peckham, and Hilary Plum)

Time: Wed, Mar 6 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Location: 232 Decio Commons

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MFA Students

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Our students come from all over the country—all over the world—and the work they produce is as singular as they are. What they have in common is a lifetime membership in the Pitt writing community. Since our MFA program began,  our graduates have published an impressive number of books in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry . In the past 20 years, our students have won major book publication and literary prizes, including the Barnard Women Writers Award, the Nelson Algren Award, The Drue Heinz Literature Prize, and the Whiting and Tufts Awards for emerging writers.

In the last few years alone, they have won or been finalists for fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the 2008 Slapering Hol Press chapbook competition; the 2008 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; Wordstock 10 Short Fiction competition; International Association of Business Communicators’ Award of Honor in News Writing and Feature Writing; the 2008 National Magazine Award; the 2008 National Poetry Series contest (judged by Yusef Komunyakaa); the 2007 Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Competition; and the 2008 Fence/Motherwell prize.

For more information about the professional activities of our graduates, please check out our  Twitter  and  Facebook  pages.

Current and Recent MFA Students

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Lila Bonow , Poetry  -  [email protected]

Lila Bonow (she/her) is a poet from a counterculture family in Seattle, Washington. She is interested in memory, performance,  the significance of place to the diasporic , the  lacunae between deeds and desires,  and artificial waterfalls. Currently, Lila is working on a collection focused on film, Blackness, voyeurism, and obsession.

Before pursuing her MFA in Poetry at the University of Pittsburgh, Lila spent five years working as a radical reproductive rights activist for the organization, Shout Your Abortion. She holds a BA in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing from Seattle University. She loves dressing up, being immersed in water, walking, and sleeping. 

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Aya Burton ,  Poetry  -  [email protected]

Aya Burton was raised in Massachusetts and is pursuing an MFA in poetry. She holds a BA in English with a concentration in creative writing from Scripps College. Before coming to Pitt, she co-taught and mentored in English classes and multi-genre writing workshops for K-12 students in the Inland Empire, CA and southern Spain. Her work explores states of flux in time and place.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Abdelrahman ElGendy , Nonfiction -  [email protected]

Abdelrahman ElGendy is an Egyptian writer from Cairo based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a six-year political prisoner in Egypt between 2013 and 2020. While in prison, ElGendy started and earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Ain Shams University.

He is a Dietrich fellow at the University of Pittsburgh's Nonfiction Writing MFA, a Heinz fellow at Pitt's Global Studies Center, a 2021 Logan Nonfiction fellow, a 2023 Tin House Workshop scholar, an awardee of the 2023 Katharine Bakeless Nason Award in Nonfiction by Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and a finalist for the 2021 Margolis Award for Social Justice Journalism.

ElGendy's writing is engaged with counter-narratives of history, the role of writing and art as forms of resistance, and what it means to inhabit spaces designed to erase you—and insist on being.

His writing appears in the Washington Post, New Lines Magazine, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP), Mada Masr, and elsewhere. You can find him at https://www.abdelrahmanelgendy.com/ and on Twitter @El_Gendy_95

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Sofia Garner , Fiction   -  [email protected]

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Tyler Henderson , Fiction   -  [email protected]

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Miles Johnson ,  Poetry -  [email protected]

Miles believes that the world would be better off if there were no borders at all, but manages to rep his home, Washington DC, with fervor and gratitude. He loves: his Granny and all the other Black folks who watch out and over him; following NBA basketball, even to his own emotional detriment; and playing video games. You can find (some of) his work at  blackandoutside.com , and if you're lucky you can find him on Twitter and Instagram @blackandoutside.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Laura Kenney ,  Poetry -  [email protected]

Laura Kenney is a holobiont composed of many living organisms, one of which is human. They are also a writer of poetry, nonfiction, and experimental texts; a film and digital photographer; and a conceptual artist. Their poetry has been published in Ghost City Review and High Shelf , among other outlets, and their visual art has been exhibited at the David Winton Bell Gallery and The Granoff Center for the Arts, among other venues. They received their bachelors in Literary Arts at Brown University as a  first-generation college graduate. In addition to making a home in their body, Laura also makes a home in Providence, Rhode Island, where abandoned tunnels, archival residues, and mycelial blooms inspire their work. You can find more at laura-kenney.com .

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Jason Kuo , Nonfiction  -  [email protected]

Jason Kuo is a writer and attorney.  He earned his BA from Yale University and his JD from New York University School of Law.  He is interested in cults, corporations, diasporic communities and meaning-making in contemporary society.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Sangi Lama , Fiction -  [email protected]

Sangi Lama is a writer from Hetauda, Nepal. She immigrated to the United States at the age of four and grew up in Beaverton, Oregon. Her writing explores love, family, and separation through Nepali and Nepali American experiences. 

She graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and previously worked as the Marketing Assistant at Tin House. 

She is an MFA candidate in Fiction and a current Dietrich Fellow.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Sandra Lee , Fiction -  [email protected]

Sandra Lee is an MFA candidate in Fiction at the University of Pittsburgh. She is working on an interlinked short story collection about members of a Korean American church in Queens.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Abigail Lee ,   Nonfiction  -  [email protected]

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

David Lo ,   Poetry  -  [email protected]

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Anna Millard ,  Fiction -  [email protected]

Anna Denise Millard is a fiction MFA candidate with a BA in Playwriting from Emory University. She's worked for 8 years as a professional advertising and editorial writer in NYC, from writing commercial scripts for ADT Security to celebrity gossip articles for Refinery29 and billboards for The Wall Street Journal. Her short stories have been published in The Dillydoun Review and her plays have been produced at Essential Theatre in Atlanta. Her areas of interest include the American South, film criticism and theory, and media studies. Her writing takes frivolity very seriously.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Hans Park ,   Fiction  -  [email protected]

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Avery Robinson , Poetry -  [email protected]

M. Avery Robinson is a Black poet and punk from Central Florida. They received their BA in Creative Writing at Florida State University, where they interned at the Southeast Review and were the recipient of the 2022 Academy of American Poets Award.

Their work dances in the liminal soundscapes between hip-hop, punk-rock, anime, and Black folklore, transitioning between them as they follow their ear to every note. With an eye for where history intercepts the present, they behold not just the suffering of their bloodline, but the pleasure and mosh-pits of Black euphoria in America’s Southeast too. Their poems have appeared in Interim Magazine, museum of americana, Saw Palm, and are forthcoming in Obsidian and Hunger Mountain. If not at workshop or reading a book, you’ll find them wherever the music’s the loudest.

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Kandala Singh , Poetry -  [email protected]

Kandala (she/her) is a writer, qualitative researcher and teaching artist from New Delhi, India.

Kandala works as a creative writing coach, and holds a joint Masters degree in Human Rights Practice from the Universities of Gothenburg, Roehampton and Tromsoe. She has worked on gender and development issues in India for over a decade.

Her poems appear in Rattle, Eclectica, Hindustan Times, Sweet: A Literary Confection and Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English,  among other places. S he is the recipient of a Dietrich Fellowship from the University of Pittsburgh, and a 2023 Katherine Bakeless Contributor Award in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. 

She reads poetry for Epiphany Magazine . You can find her at www.kandalasingh.com .

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Megan Valley ,  Nonfiction -  [email protected]

Megan Valley is a writer and journalist from Michigan pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction. She earned her B.A. in English and the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame and was most recently a Report For America corps member covering local education issues in southwest Illinois. Her writing is focused on the environment, Catholic culture, local news, and so-called wellness culture. 

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Andrey Vinogradov ,   Nonfiction  -  [email protected]

university of notre dame creative writing mfa

Kira Witkin , Nonfiction - [email protected] 

Kira Witkin is an essayist and journalist with more than 100 bylines published/forthcoming for NPR, The Missouri Review, The Dallas Morning News, and other publications. She is writing a reported memoir about self-described alien “abductees,” including her own UFO-chasing father, to explore the politics and stigmatization of belief. Kira’s writing has been recognized through the Robert Hayden Scholarship, the Dietrich Fellowship for Creative Writing, and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Awards. Find her on Twitter @KiraWitkin  and her website,  KiraWitkin.com . 

University of Notre Dame

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Creative Writing MFA Alumni Mini-Conference

Time: Thu Sep 26, 2019, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm (part of a series)

Location: 232 Decio Hall (View on map )

This will be a two-day mini-conference to bring six past Creative Writing MFA students back to Notre Dame to read their newest works. Readers will include Angela Hur, Katie Lehman, Christina Kubasta, Stuart Ross, Michael Smith, and Charles Valle.

Originally published at english.nd.edu .

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Department of Art, Art History, and Design

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MFA in Studio Art

Why get an mfa in studio art at notre dame.

James Ostrander

The MFA program offers independently motivated students a three-year opportunity to establish themselves as professional artists/teachers, to culminate with a formal exhibition.

Program of study

Graduate students work closely with faculty in a 1:1 ratio and formally interact with other MFA students through exhibitions, studio practice, and visiting artist seminars.

All students have individual, private studios with windows in Riley Hall as well as open access to our facilities , including:

  • a state-of-the-art wood shop
  • digital printing studio
  • 3D printing
  • computer labs with up-to date imaging software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.)

Our students also have the opportunity to apply for additional funding for travel, residencies, and materials through a variety of funding sources across the University.

The Snite Museum of Art , located on Notre Dame’s campus, regularly mounts both historical and contemporary exhibits. The Raclin Murphy Museum of Art , opening in fall 2023, will anchor the University's vibrant arts district.

Chicago, with its rich cultural offerings, is a 90-minute car ride west of campus. Students take advantage of the numerous museum exhibitions, gallery openings, performances, screenings, and other cultural events in the city.

The studio art faculty is comprised of actively engaged artists with significant national and international research profiles. Our faculty are represented by galleries such as Patrick Painter Inc., Los Angeles, Zolla/Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, Forum Gallery, New York, and Schneider Gallery, Chicago. Their work has been featured in exhibitions at Northwestern University, Elisabet Ney Museum in Austin, TX, Museum fur Neue Kunst, Freiburg, Germany, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, University of Portland, OR. Notre Dame studio art faculty have had their work written about in publications such The New York Times , ARTnews , 100 Ideas That Changed Photography by Mary Warner Marien , Art F City , and many others.

Creative Writing

MFA in Creative Writing: Admissions

Application fee waivers available.

If you do not qualify for an application fee waiver through the Graduate School , the English Department may be able to provide you with one. The Department has a limited number of application fee waivers available, which will be granted on a first come, first served basis. To request a fee waiver through the Department, please complete the  Graduate Application Fee Waiver Request Form  by  January 1, 2024 .

On This Page

Application deadline, application process, funding and graduate assistantships, mfa offer guidance, english language proficiency requirement.

If you have questions about the program or the admissions process, contact the Creative Writing Director, John Beer, at [email protected] or the Graduate Coordinator at  [email protected] .

Admission to graduate study is granted on the basis of evidence of preparedness to undertake advanced work and the probability of successful completion of the degree. All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (the degree may be in progress at the time of application but must be completed before admission can be finalized). We also expect an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.25.

Students apply to the genre in which they wish to work: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.

In compiling your application, consider that the most important part is your writing sample. We are looking for promise, which may take many forms and varies according to genre, but in all cases includes an engagement with language. While many students enter the MFA program with a background in English literature, writing, or journalism, it is not required. Many of our strongest students come from backgrounds in the sciences, social sciences, and other areas in the humanities.

The MFA in Creative Writing Program admits once a year. The deadline for application for Fall enrollment is January 15 . There is no flexibility on the deadline. Applications must be submitted and complete with all supplemental materials by the deadline.

Applications are submitted electronically through the  Graduate School . 

  • For the "Letters of Recommendation" section, fill out the recommender's contact information. Click on "Submit Recommendation Request" to send an automated request via email. The recommender will then receive an email with a link that they will follow to upload your letter of recommendation.  You can send these requests before submitting your application materials.
  • After your application has been submitted, you will be able to log back in and monitor the status of your letters of recommendation. You can send a reminder to your recommenders, add new recommenders, or edit information about an existing recommender.
  • Upload all files as PDF/DOC/DOCX/RTF. JPG/TIF/PNG/PDF/GIF is allowed for test scores or transcripts.
  • You will not be able to make corrections to a submitted application.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • A personal introduction.  Approximately two-to-three pages, double-spaced, describing the applicant's background as a writer, goals, and interest in this particular program.
  • A manuscript.  The manuscript should be in the applicant's primary genre. Manuscript form is defined as having one inch margins, double spaced text, a single, clear, 12-point typeface, no extra space between paragraphs, indented first line for each paragraph, information identifying the author and title of the manuscript on every page, and page numbers. Poetry manuscripts may be single-spaced. Previously published, single-authored work will be accepted. Manuscripts should demonstrate mastery of basic craft and literary promise, and should represent your best work regardless of whether or not it has been published. Writing samples can be comprised of one or multiple bodies of work. Fiction manuscripts should be 20 to 30 pages, nonfiction manuscripts should be 20 to 30 pages (of magazine articles and/or creative nonfiction), and poetry manuscripts should be 12 to 15 pages.
  • Three letters of recommendation. These should come from a professional or academic author who can comment on your academic performance, or attest to your skills as they pertain to your selected program of study.
  • Transcripts . Submit an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution at which you received a degree. These transcripts must be a scan of both the front and back of each page of an official transcript issued to you, and may not be a printout of your academic record from your school's website. If you are accepted into the program and decide to attend, you must submit official transcripts to the Graduate School before you can register for classes for your second term of attendance.  
  • C.V. / Resume (optional). A C.V. or resume is optional but strongly recommended for applicants who would like to be considered for a Graduate Assistantship.
  • GRE scores are  not  required.

The English Department offers a very limited number of graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs). GTAs receive a stipend and a 9-credit tuition remission in fall, winter, and spring terms and are appointed for two years, depending on performance and available funding. GTAs will, in their first year, typically tutor in the Writing Center for two quarters and teach WR 121Z: Composition I for one quarter. In their second year, GTAs will typically teach each quarter, though they may opt to spend a quarter in the Writing Center. Applicants who would like to be considered for a GTAship should submit a short (1-2 page) essay describing their interest in and qualifications for the position. They should describe and reflect on any experience they've had as a teacher or tutor, especially of college-level writing, and discuss how they hope to grow as a teacher through their experience as a GTA.

See the  English Department graduate student funding  page for more information on funding options, including University-wide graduate assistantships, awards, and scholarships.

As members of an access institution that serves the public, our MFA faculty seeks to provide clear and frank information so that students can engage in the careful and well-informed planning of their education. We therefore offer this guidance to students receiving enrollment offers from MFA programs.

  • We, like many schools, are a signatory to the CGS April 15 Resolution , which states: "Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution." This helps students fully consider all competing aid offers. If requested by a signatory university to decide sooner, consider tactfully noting the Resolution. They may not be aware of their status as signatories, but they are expected to honor it.
  • Quickly deciding for or against enrollment does not necessarily confer a financial advantage. If you have an aid offer you're considering accepting, it can be in your interest to first apprise other programs you were admitted to, as they may improve their offers.
  • Consult the US Department of Education College Scorecard , which lists each college and program's actual median annual costs, median student debt, and median salary after graduation.
  • If the net costs of a graduate institution are not feasible, consider the potential benefits of waiting and applying again the following year. Your application materials can grow stronger in the interim, and your prospects of a better offer may improve.

If the applicant's native language is not English, and the applicant has not received a baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalently accredited non‐U.S. institution with instruction exclusively in English, the student must demonstrate English language proficiency. Such applicants must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 80. The International English Language Testing System exam (IELTS) may be substituted for the TOEFL; the minimum acceptable score is 6.5. For further information about the English Language Proficiency Requirement, visit the Admissions'  English Language Proficiency page , or contact International Admissions at 503-725-8410 or  [email protected] .


  1. Creative Writing

    university of notre dame creative writing mfa

  2. 2021 Notre Dame Creative Writing MFA Final Thesis Reading

    university of notre dame creative writing mfa

  3. 2023 Creative Writing MFA Final Thesis Reading

    university of notre dame creative writing mfa

  4. 2020 Creative Writing MFA Final Thesis Reading

    university of notre dame creative writing mfa

  5. Program of study

    university of notre dame creative writing mfa

  6. 2023 Creative Writing MFA Final Thesis Reading

    university of notre dame creative writing mfa


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  1. MFA in Creative Writing

    Paul Cunningham Creative Writing Program Manager Email: [email protected] Notre Dame's English Department offers graduate and undergraduate degrees with a focus on literature's cultural and interpretive contexts, creative writing, creative reading, film study, and literary history.

  2. Creative Writing

    MFA in Creative Writing Our program combines generous, attentive focus on student work with active pedagogy in a cooperative process of growth, learning, professionalization, and exploration. Undergraduate Creative Writing

  3. MFA in Creative Writing

    Our MFA program offers an intense, stimulating immersion in the many ways an author might shape, support and inform a 21st-century writing life. In addition to workshop and the preparation of a book-length thesis, our candidates choose from Notre Dame's wide selection of graduate courses.

  4. English (Creative Writing): MFA

    The English MFA (Creative Writing) program offers a practice-based, two-year arts curriculum. Students specialize in poetry or prose, and take courses in their selected genre as well as literature courses, practicums, and electives.

  5. AWP: Guide to Writing Programs

    The Notre Dame MFA in Creative Writing program combines generous, attentive focus on student work with active, engaged pedagogy.

  6. Creative Writing, Master

    The University of Notre Dame MFA in Creative Writing program combines generous, attentive focus on student work with active, engaged pedagogy, in the belief that the two years spent earning an MFA is more than either the achievement of a credential or two years paid writing time. University of Notre Dame South Bend , Indiana , United States

  7. Student Spotlight: Ryan Downey and Sami Schalk: MFA in Creative Writing

    To some observers and critics, there is a stark divide between Notre Dame and the communities in the South Bend area. Two recent graduates of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program worked diligently for their two-year tenure at Notre Dame to bridge those worlds, bringing Notre Dame into South Bend's underprivileged communities, and poignantly likewise, those communities into ...

  8. MFA Creative Writing

    The MFA thesis reading is happening on May 3rd, featuring top-notch poetry and fiction of graduating MFA students. Over 2017 -2018 academic year, they have enriched workshops with idiosyncratic writing styles, and have successfully defended their thesis. Now it's time to celebrate and hear their excellent work.

  9. University of Notre Dame Fully Funded MFA in Creative Writing

    Program Details Deadline: Jan 15, 2025 (Confirmed)* Work Experience: Any Location: North America Citizenship: Any Residency: United States *Please check the program's website to confirm deadlines. Share this program The University of Notre Dame offers a two-year fully funded MFA in creative writing.

  10. Creative Writing MFA alumni spotlight: Tom Coyne ('00)

    Graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame are driven by the core conviction that Your Research Matters. Our students pursue research in a variety of degree programs renowned for academic excellence. ... Creative Writing MFA alumni spotlight: Tom Coyne ('00) Creative Writing MFA alumni spotlight: Tom Coyne ('00) Published: October 31 ...

  11. Notre Dame MFA in Creative Writing

    Notre Dame MFA in Creative Writing, Notre Dame, Indiana. 579 likes · 1 talking about this. A course of study with the flexibility for students to...

  12. MFA Creative Writing

    Graduating students of the MFA in Creative Writing at Notre Dame (four poets, along with six prose writers) will be reading five-minute selections from their final thesis. Join us as we celebrate their accomplishments and wish them more to come on Thursday April 23 rd , 2015 at 7:00 PM in the Regis Philbin Studio Theater.

  13. Creative Writing MFA Student Betsy Cornwell Signs Book Deal

    Joanna Basile Betsy Cornwell, a master's student in Notre Dame's Creative Writing Program, has sold her first two novels to Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Both books, written for a young adult audience, have their roots in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

  14. MFA Creative Writing

    Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher's Flight, he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT and college English instructor.

  15. University Writing Program

    Fresh Writing. Fresh Writing is a journal of exemplary essays produced by students in their first year of study at the University of Notre Dame. Essays are chosen for their engaging prose and the extent to which they successfully execute the conventions of writing genres students may encounter in other academic, civic, or professional contexts.

  16. First Year & Incoming Students

    A 1998 graduate of Notre Dame, Griffith received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Current Projects. Pyramid Scheme: Making Art and Being Broke in America (a collection of essays on the mythologies both generative and pernicious that surround artistry and creativity)

  17. Mfa Creative Writing Acceptance Rate

    Program Details Overview The Creative Writing program at Notre Dame is a 2-year, 36-credit program.

  18. Department of English

    Creative Writing at Notre Dame Explore our Graduate Programs As a student here, you will work with faculty at the leading edge of their fields, gain access to excellent resources, receive generous support, and participate in a dynamic and inclusive intellectual community. Learn more News View all news

  19. MFA Students

    Megan Valley is a writer and journalist from Michigan pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction. She earned her B.A. in English and the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame and was most recently a Report For America corps member covering local education issues in southwest Illinois.

  20. Creative Writing MFA Alumni Mini-Conference

    Creative Writing MFA Alumni Mini-Conference Thu Sep 26, 2019, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm (part of a series) 232 Decio Hall (View on map ) This will be a two-day mini-conference to bring six past Creative Writing MFA students back to Notre Dame to read their newest works.

  21. MFA in Studio Art

    MFA in Studio Art Why get an MFA in studio art at Notre Dame? Painting by James Ostrander, MFA '22 The MFA program offers independently motivated students a three-year opportunity to establish themselves as professional artists/teachers, to culminate with a formal exhibition. Program of study

  22. MFA in Creative Writing: Admissions

    The MFA in Creative Writing Program admits once a year. The deadline for application for Fall enrollment is January 15. There is no flexibility on the deadline. Applications must be submitted and complete with all supplemental materials by the deadline. ... If requested by a signatory university to decide sooner, consider tactfully noting the ...