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Letter from the Director

Now in our third academic year, the MFA program at The University of Tampa consists of nearly 100 apprentice writers working in (and across) every major genre. Their experience within The University of Tampa's creative community is every bit as diverse as the city that hosts us; our teaching faculty is international, multicultural and multilingual, featuring writers from the United States, Canada, Croatia, Russia and the United Kingdom.  

We've created a program that combines two large ideas: that writing is at its heart a recursive and frequently collaborative endeavor, reflected in the community built within a small workshop, and that each student should have an ongoing relationship with an individual mentor.  

Our young program gives preference to no “school” or singular aesthetic; the approaches our writers take in their work are as individual as the people themselves, all of whom are joined together by their shared desire to write. 

Fitzgerald advised his daughter to try to absorb six good writers a year; Eudora Welty once wrote that writing might come from a superior devotion to reading. We agree. During each residency, held in January and June, students join with acclaimed teachers of writing to construct a personalized program that combines creative work with intense reading. Our classes are small, typically capped at no more than five students per faculty member. The 10-day residencies feature visiting writers, editors, agents, screenwriters, songwriters, even the occasional visual artist; each visitor gives a guest lecture or seminar on some aspect of the writer’s craft. Those seminars are followed by a public reading or performance, called the Lectores public reading series, which takes its name from the readers in Tampa's early 19th-century cigar factories.

Our next residency, which begins on Jan. 8, 2015, will feature Steve Almond, discussing his new book Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto. Novelist and essayist Roxane Gay will discuss her new essay collection Bad Feminist, and novelist and short story writer Richard Bausch will read from his new novel Before, During and After. Each of our featured visitors will also lead a master class for students in the MFA program. We'll feature readings from up and coming writers Amina Gautier and Rebecca Hazleton, as well as UT MFA faculty member Brock Clarke, who will read from his new novel The Happiest People in the World. Other visitors include critic and poet Stephen Burt, and fiction writers Amina Gautier and Kyle Minor.

In just three years, we've established ourselves as an innovative, progressive environment where writers from all over the world come to do their apprenticeship. Our students are actively publishing in literary journals as diverse as the Cincinnati Review, Paris Review Daily and Quarter After Eight; in major magazines like GQ; in cultural arts outlets like the Los Angeles Review of Books; and in daily newspapers like The Charlotte Observer and The New York Times. Students in our young program have published seven books, including Nathan Deuel's essay collection Friday Was the Bomb (Dzanc Books), a title you may have heard featured on NPR.

In the past year, the Lectores series has hosted fiction writers Robert Olen Butler, Denis Johnson, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Benjamin Percy, Francine Prose and George Saunders; poets Nick Flynn, Barbara Hamby, David Kirby and Carmen Giménez Smith; nonfiction writers Nathan Deuel and Leslie Jamison; writer/actor/director Miranda July; songwriter-novelists Joe Pernice and Wesley Stace; and independent filmmaker Hal Hartley. You can see a few highlights from our previous residencies in the videos section of our website, complete with clips from readings by a few of our guest writers.  

We're currently reading applications for the January 2015 term on a rolling basis, with a Nov. 21 deadline. To learn more about the program, check out our active UTMFACW Facebook page. You can also request more information or apply now.  

And please feel free to drop me a line at the email below. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

Kind regards,

Steve Kistulentz
Director, MFA in Creative Writing