Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise, you’re merely repeating yourself, going nowhere because that’s always easiest.

—John Berryman


Welcome! To begin with, we believe stories matter. We believe poetry changes lives. We believe fiction makes our world larger and more intimate at once. And we believe that the act and art of writing is first a means by which the author comes to understand what they have not yet fully understood about the world and the self, and second a gift back to the reader in an effort to share that understanding. Writing is finding the way to forge the poem or essay or novel one does not yet know how to write, and encountering there the language, courage, and perseverance needed to go on to write one’s next work of art.

The MFA Creative Writing Program at the College of Charleston, a two-year residential program, offers advanced degree training in either creative nonfiction, fiction, or poetry writing and features separate curriculum emphases: Studio and Arts & Cultural Management. The MFA workshops are the backbone of the program, taught by a highly distinguished, award-winning writing faculty. Students learn the history and traditions associated with literature, learn theoretical and formal approaches to the craft of writing, and receive intensive peer and faculty feedback as they compose and revise their thesis—a full-length manuscript.

The College of Charleston, set in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world, also houses one of the country’s premiere literary journal, swamp pink, (rebranded from Crazyhorse)We bring outstanding visiting writers and editors to campus; recent visitors include: Hadara Bar-Nadav, Mary Biddinger, Venita Blackburn, Stephanie Burt, Jennifer Chang, Oliver de la Paz, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Sarah Gorham, T. Geronimo Johnson, Donika Kelly, Rebecca Makkai, Sabrina Orah Mark, Emily Nemens, Carmen Giménez Smith, Natasha Trethewey.

Join us here in Charleston for an education in writing that will accompany and enlighten you for the rest of your life.

News & Notes

Congratulations to MFA poet Jammie Huynh on her forthcoming first book!
Posted on 13 April 2022 | 10:42 am
Jammie Huynh (she/her), first year MFA graduate student, is the first winner of the Free Verse Press Poetry Prize. Jammie is a queer Vietnamese-Ecuadorian poet from Hartsville/Florence, SC. Her poetry centers around her family and identity. She writes through the … Continue reading
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The 2022 Prize-winners for the MFA Program’s Student Awards
Posted on 13 April 2022 | 10:39 am
The 2022 winners of our MFA Creative Writing Program’s Fiction and Poetry Prizes are: Fiction: Erica Appleton, “The Precipice” Judged by Laura Spence-Ash Poetry: Hailey Williams, “To Brother-Ghost on Halloween” Judged by Michael Prior Congratulations to Erica and Hailey!  Both … Continue reading
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U.S. Poet Laureate & Pulitzer Prize Winner Natasha Trethewey to Visit Campus
Posted on 23 March 2022 | 11:03 am
Read the announcement in The College Today.
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