The creative writing program at Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas is currently accepting applications for a Master’s in Fine Art (MFA) in Creative Writing, for Fall 2020. Graduates from the program have won National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, Wallace Stegner Fellowships, an AWP Prize for Best Novel, and honorable mentions for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and have been awarded countless residencies.
In an email to Brittle Paper, Stanislav A. Rivkin, Coordinator and Assistant Director of the program, explains that theirs “offers talented writers the time and opportunity to develop skills as fiction writers or poets, network with renowned writers and agents from across the world, and attain valuable experience in the publishing industry. Throughout the program, students receive feedback on their creative work, and produce a book-length manuscript.”
The program is particularly interested in international applicants and underrepresented voices. The 2019/2020 academic year was the first time that up to three African writers were admitted: Nkiacha Atemnkeng from Cameroon, Caleb Ajinomoh from Nigeria, and Sylvia Karenzi from Rwanda. The other writers of color include the American Nigerian Chisom Ogoke and the African American Darrell Limuel. International students are advised, before applying, to send across a sample of their writing to enable the program coordinators decide if they are a good fit. This is to avoid them spending money before confirmation that the coordinators are interested in working with them.
An additional benefit is an Assistantship grant offered to about 90% of incoming students. Not only does this cover their tuition, it also affords them a modest stipend. Those receiving an Assistantship help teach university-level classes, gaining further valuable experience. And because an MFA is considered a terminal degree, their graduates who gain teaching experience are able to find jobs teaching English, Literature, and Creative Writing at many universities.
The faculty to student ratio is 6.5. The faculty includes Tim O’Brien, Naomi Shihab Nye, Téa Obreht, Cyrus Cassells, Cecily Parks, Kathleen Peirce, Roger Jones, and Steve Wilson. Fiction and nonfiction instructors include Doug Dorst, Jennifer duBois, Tom Grimes, and Debra Monroe. Every Spring, a Poet/Instructor in Residence is hosted—in 2019, it will be Victoria Chang.
The program is located in the Greater Austin metropolitan area, which, according to Rivkin, “is a diverse, cosmopolitan, and progressive community, surrounded by natural beauty. The cost of living here is also relatively low for the U.S.”
The deadline for applications is 15 January 2020.
Find out more on the program’s page.