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 correspondence semester 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 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. 

Meet The Faculty

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

Vievee Francis Wins 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award

Vievee Francis Forest Primeval

We congratulate MFA in Writing faculty member Vievee Francis for being the 2017 recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for her book Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press, 2016). The world's largest monetary prize for a single collection of poetry, the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is given annually to a midcareer poet for a book published in the previous year. 

Tyehimba Jess Wins the 2017 Pulitzer Prize

Vievee Francis Forest Primeval

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." 

MFA Welcomes Garth Greenwell To Our Faculty In June 2017

 Ricardo Moutinho Ferreira
Photo by Ricardo Moutinho Ferreira

Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, which won the British Book Award for Debut of the Year, was long-listed for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for six other awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, it was named a Best Book of 2016 by over fifty publications in nine countries, and is being translated into eleven languages. His short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, and VICE, and he has written criticism for the New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review, among others.

Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program Presents Annual Reading Series On Forest Grove Campus

June 16-23, 2017

The Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing program will once again host readings by some of the world’s finest contemporary writers during its 10-day residency on the University's campus in Forest Grove. Free and open to the public, the evening readings begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place from Friday, June 16, through Friday, June 23, in the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center, located on campus, at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cedar Street.
 
This event is a rare opportunity to hear master writers read on successive evenings. Featured authors include poet Marvin Bell, recipient of an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature, and fiction writer Chris Abani, recipient of the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award. For more information about the readers, please see Faculty Biographies

EVENING READING SCHEDULE

6/16    Claire Davis, Kwame Dawes & Willy Vlautin
6/17    Ellen Bass, Jack Driscoll & Debra Gwartney
6/18    Pete Fromm, Mike Magnuson & Kellie Wells
6/19    Chris Abani, Judy Blunt & John McNally 
6/20    No Public Reading
6/21    Steve Amick, Frank Gaspar & Valerie Laken
6/22    Garth Greenwell, Cate Kennedy & Joseph Millar
6/23    Sanjiv Bhattacharya & Scott Korb

 

 

 

 

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.

Program Overview

Degree Requirements

Semester Description