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 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

Interview with Emma Stough (MFA ‘19): On Being Selected for Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton, 2023)
Posted on 6 March 2023 | 11:18 am
I recently caught up with MFA alum Emma Stough, whose story, “Jenny Watches The Exorcist,” was recently selected for inclusion in Flash Fiction America, just out from W.W. Norton. You can read my interview with Emma here: How did you … Continue reading
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DBF “Industry Talk” with Literary Agents Suzanne Gluck and Andrea Blatt of WME
Posted on 6 March 2023 | 11:01 am
On a recent Thursday afternoon, MFA students met with literary agents Suzanne Gluck and Andrea Blatt as part of our Dorothea Benton Frank “Industry Talk” Series at the College of Charleston. For the first part of their talk, Gluck and … Continue reading
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