University of Southern Maine - Stonecoast

Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

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The University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing combines the energy of a forward-thinking low-residency program with the solid educational excellence of the very best creative writing programs in the nation. Stonecoast is one of the nation’s leading low-residency MFA programs, ranked in the top ten low-residency programs by Poets&Writers since 2010, and is known for providing a superb, open-minded, and progressive education in the art of writing.

Stonecoast claims an illustrious history, (extending to the founding of the Stonecoast Writers Workshop over 30 years ago); a highly distinguished faculty; a tradition of academic excellence; nationally known award-winning alumni in all genres as well as the Stonecoast in Ireland residency option.

But Stonecoast also offers something else.  The “Stonecoast Difference” lies in the integrity, originality, and passion of our vision:  commitment to the whole writer, through a flexible, rigorous, student-centered curriculum sustained within a diverse and supportive creative community. You will find this unique vision evident in every aspect of the Stonecoast MFA.

The Program

Stonecoast is a two-year program with emphases in creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, orpopular fiction, as well as elective work in Cross-genre, Scriptwriting, Translation, Performance, and Writing Nature. The low-residency format offers students the advantage of maintaining their present occupations and living arrangements while participating in a full-time graduate program. Students may enter the program twice a year, matriculating in summer or winter. Each semester begins and ends with an intensive ten-day residency including readings, social events, and workshops and classes / presentations.

During the residency, Stonecoast students participate in two small, intensive four-day writing workshops, allowing you more curricular flexibility, more faculty feedback, and closer links with more students. With electives, students have the option to design special focused writing workshops in addition to the regular genre workshops. Past elective workshop topics have included Translation, Memoir, Sonnet, Historical Fiction, Research Journalism, Graphic Novel, Writing About Race, Persona Poetry, Prose Poem, Historical Fiction, Young Adult Writing, Lyric Essay, Persona Poetry, and Nature Poetry. This pioneering Stonecoast invention embodies our ideal of academic rigor in a flexible, student-centered curriculum.

After the residency, students return home to write under the guidance of mentors chosen from among our faculty of nationally renowned writers. Since each Stonecoast faculty member mentors only three to five students at a time, the quality of individualized attention is high indeed. Stonecoast faculty have earned dozens of major literary awards, including the American Book Award, the Latino Heritage Award in Literature, a Lannan Foundation Grant, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Astraea Award, Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, National Book Award finalist, the Whiting Writer’s Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. In addition to such critical acclaim, many of our faculty’s books have found a wide general readership, winning such recognition as the Hugo Award from the World Science Fiction Society, a film contract with DreamWorks Productions, national best-seller lists, the Nebula Award, and selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club.