Master of Fine Arts in Writing | MFA
An exceptional low-residency writing program in the Pacific Northwest
Pacific University's Master of Fine Arts in Writing program celebrates writing as an art that has the potential to make a difference in the world.
In a rigorous course of study and with an emphasis on the creative process, award-winning writers work closely with students to support and inspire emerging craft and voice. Students create a quality portfolio of fiction, nonfiction or poetry, reflecting their unique styles and forms of expression.
Each semester in the program begins with a 10-day residency where the students and faculty gather for workshops, craft talks, classes, panels, and readings. The residencies initiate a literary conversation that extends throughout the semester of guided study when the student and faculty advisor exchange packets about the student’s writing and reading, and anything else that attends them. At the same time, the MFA faculty advisor is hard at work on his or her own writing, and every exchange with a student is touched by mutual goals.
Our program offers a high level of craft and conversation along with the good humor and community of individuals who share a passion for art. We value and promote equity and inclusion. The talents, skills and perspectives of our individual members together create a culture of belonging, collaboration, discovery and respect. We believe in inspiration but also in revision. We believe there is no one way to write and no right way to write. Above all, we believe in quality and originality in any guise.
Pacific’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program presents learning in its truest sense, meaning, simply, that we are all in this together.
Ghanaian-born, Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes is the award-winning author of 22 books of poetry (most recently, City of Bones, 2017) and numerous books of fiction, nonfiction, criticism and drama. He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. For more on Kwame Dawes and the other MFA faculty, see the Faculty Biographies.
We are pleased to announce that MFA in Writing faculty member Tyehimba Jess is the recipient of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his book Olio (Wave Books, 2016), described by the prize jury as "a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity."
Willy Vlautin has published four novels: The Motel Life (2007), which was a New York Times Editors' Choice and Notable book, and was made into a major motion picture starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsh, Stephen Dorff, and Kris Kristofferson; Northline (2008); Lean on Pete (2010), which won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, was short-listed for the IMPAC award, and is soon to be a motion picture starring Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny; and The Free (2014), Winner of the Oregon People’s Choice Award. His fifth novel, Don't Skip Out On Me, will be published in 2018. His work has been translated into eight languages.
The next semester begins with a residency in Seaside, Oregon, from January 4-14, 2018. Applications for degree-seeking students and Residency Writers Conference participants will be accepted through November.
Students in Pacific's Master of Fine Arts in Writing program earn a graduate degree in fiction, nonfiction or poetry over the course of two years during which they complete a minimum of five residencies and four semesters of guided study.
Each semester in the program begins with a 10-day residency, where the students and faculty gather for workshops, craft talks, classes, panels and readings. The residencies initiate a literary conversation that extends throughout the guided study, when the student and faculty adviser exchange packets about the student's writing and reading. At the same time, the MFA faculty adviser is hard at work on his or her own writing, and every exchange with a student is touched by mutual goals.
Throughout the program students demonstrate mastery in creative writing, applied criticism, contemporary letters and literary tradition. By the time they earn their degrees, students will have read approximately 80 works of literature, prepared a polished critical essay and creative manuscript, and given a public reading of their work.