Letter from the Director
The second ever University of Tampa MFA residency is in the books. The first year occasions a little highlight reel: We've brought in 46 talented apprentice writers as our students. We've assembled a teaching faculty of acclaimed writers and teachers of writing from all over the world including the U.S., Canada, Croatia, Russia and the U.K. Our guest writers have included Michael Connelly, Arthur Flowers, Nick Flynn, Keith Gessen, Amy Hill Hearth, Francine Prose, George Saunders and Rebecca Wolff, among others. We have careened en masse around Ybor City on the heels of Florida Studies guru Gary Mormino, who did a walking lecture on the Lectores — the readers in the early 19th century cigar factories — and we toured the Salvador Dali Museum and had workshops at the Don Cesar — previously frequented by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, among others — on St. Pete Beach. Lest we pat ourselves on the back too severely, let it be known that it's largely this community of student-writers that's come together here that's made it such fun for me and such a rich experience for all of them.
And now we're gearing up for the new residency Jan. 3-12, 2013. Our guest writers for this term will include poet, novelist, playwright and National Book Award winner Denis Johnson and poet-novelist Ben Lerner (Hayden Carruth Award, L.A. Times First Fiction Award, Believer Book Award) as well as Eli Horowitz (the former publisher for McSweeney's and current surveyor of uncharted territory in digital, interactive publishing) and Deborah Treisman (fiction editor of The New Yorker). Many more TBA.
We've added a new Videos section to the website with clips from readings by a few of our guest writers. Check them out. We'll be posting complete readings down the line.
I feel like saying, as we approach our one-year anniversary, that the hope here was to create a flexible, individualized program that had, at the heart of it, a mentorship between a student and a contemporary writer — a mentorship that combined the strengths of a small workshop with the strengths of a one-on-one mentor relationship. To create a program that approached literature from a global perspective. To create a program that advocated that writers both sometimes get out into the world and do things and sometimes lock themselves up alone in a quiet room to write. To create a program that brought in guest writers and editors working in all genres to discuss what writing has meant to them and how they've found their way. And to create a program that brought together a diverse group of people drawn to the art of writing. We've gone from theory to practice and by all reports, while there's always a way to go, we've come a long way toward creating that program.
For those of you who've joined us already, I look forward to seeing you again in January.
For those of you interested, we're currently reading applications on a rolling basis for the Nov. 1 deadline. To learn more about the program, check out our active UTMFACW Facebook group. Request more info at https://spartanweb.ut.edu/UTAdmInqG/. Or apply now at https://spartanweb.ut.edu/utadmapp/.
As always, feel free to drop me a line at the email below.
Director, MFA in Creative Writing