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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. Each term, 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, beginning June 19, will include seminars and public readings from acclaimed novelists Susan Minot, Rick Moody and Benjamin Percy; poets Barbara Hamby, David Kirby, Carmen Giménez Smith and Marcus Wicker, nonfiction writers Nathan Deuel (himself a UT MFA alumnus) and Leslie Jamison, and short story writer Ian Stansel. Poet Richard Chess will join us to discuss the role of contemplative practice in the writing life as well. We'll also feature a few of our permanent faculty reading from new work. That includes readings from Tony D'Souza, Kevin Moffett (reading from his innovative, collaborative novel The Silent History) and Jason Ockert (reading from his compelling story collection Neighbors of Nothing).

Previous guests at our residencies have included Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Arthur Flowers, Nick Flynn, Keith Gessen, Hal Hartley, Amy Hill Hearth, National Book Award winner Denis Johnson, writer/actor/director Miranda July, songwriter-novelist Joe Pernice, Francine Prose, George Saunders, songwriter-novelist Wesley Stace, Rebecca Wolff and many others. 

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.

For those of you interested, we're currently reading applications on a rolling basis for the Nov. 1 deadline. This website gives an overview of the two-year program, as well as our policies and procedures. 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