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MFA Creative Writing Program

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Director's Welcome

As part of the English Department at ODU, the MFA Program began in 1994 with twelve students and three creative writing instructors. It continues to grow with vigor: today, a range of 25-35 students work with the program’s talented 7-member creative writing faculty in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. 

The MFA core faculty -- Luisa Igloria, John McManus, Michael Pearson, Janet Peery, Sheri Reynolds, and Tim Seibles—are talented and dedicated teachers as well as accomplished writers, having published many highly acclaimed and prize-winning books. Blake Bailey, another critically acclaimed writer, joined the MFA faculty in fall 2011 as the Mina Hohenberg Darden Endowed Professor in Creative Writing.

In addition to taking workshops and craft courses with the MFA faculty, our students take courses with dynamic faculty who have expertise in American, British, and world literature, as well as literary theory, film studies, and rhetoric. In our 54-hour program, students graduate not only as writers but also as individuals competent in literary studies.

Our students accomplish a great deal, even while they are in the program: publishing fiction and nonfiction books with major publishers, stories and poems in national literary magazines and journals, articles and reviews in major newspapers, prestigious citations, awards, and grants. 

MFA students also have opportunities to participate in the MFA Reading Series held at Borjo Coffeehouse in University Village or at similar venues on and around campus. Likewise, students have the opportunity to assist in the internationally recognized, annual ODU Literary Festival; and present papers or give readings at the spring conference sponsored by the English Department. ODU's Writer-in-Residence Program (offered in both the fall and spring semesters) allows MFA students to work one-on-one with nationally renowned poets and writers.

The MFA Program provides interested students with valuable volunteer and short-term internship types of experiences. In particular, our Writers-in-Community Program gives creative writing graduate students the chance to facilitate writing workshops in various local venues, such as schools, art galleries, libraries, hospitals, homeless shelters, housing projects, and retirement homes.

The MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University has much to offer; and the greater Hampton Roads area (with its diverse locales ranging from oceanside to urban) provides access to a diversity of experiences.

In October 2010, the Huffington Post  cited our program as one of the nation’s top 25 underrated creative writing programs, and it continues to be competitive (see Poets & Writers’ 2012 Listing of 25 Honorable Mention Programs .

If ODU's MFA Program sounds good— and it is— we invite you to be a part of it. Please feel free to call Michael Pearson (Graduate Program Director in AY 2015-2016) at 1-757-683-6814 or contact by email (cwgpd@odu.edu).