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M.F.A. in Creative Writing

The Master of Fine Arts at West Virginia University is a three-year program that combines work in a primary genre and at least one other genre with course offerings in literature, pedagogy and professional writing and editing. Genres include fiction, nonfiction and poetry. All Master of Fine Arts students receive a full tuition waiver and an assistantship, which includes a stipend valued at $16,750. 

Our alumni have gone on to further graduate study in English, to careers in editing and publishing and to positions in academia. They have received awards such as the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship at Colgate and the Emory University Creative Writing Fellowship, won national prizes like the Iowa Award for Poetry and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Prize for Nonfiction and published books with Autumn House Press, Carnegie Mellon University, 42 Miles Press, Ohio University Press, University of Georgia Press, University Press of New England and William Morrow/Harper Collins, among others.

WVU’s MFA graduates have published in hundreds of literary journals, including prestigious venues such as AGNISouthern ReviewGettysburg ReviewFieldPrairie SchoonerTar River PoetryNinth LetterNorthwest ReviewMissouri ReviewHayden’s Ferry ReviewSewanee Review, The Journal32 PoemsGeorgetown ReviewControlled BurnColorado Review, Pank, Malahat ReviewMid-American ReviewThe New York Times, Paste, Times, ChelseaWashington SquareLaurel ReviewSlantNew Orleans Review, and in the anthology  Layers of Possibility: Healing Poetry. Recent MFA students have won Intro Prizes sponsored by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and the GreenTower Press’s chapbook prize and have published book-length collections of poetry and fiction. Recent graduates have won honors such as the Iowa Poetry Prize and the Walt Whitman Award.  


All MFA students in creative writing are fully funded and teach composition, with opportunities to teach creative writing in the third year. Our students engage in community outreach through the Appalachian Prison Book Project, a program that provides incarcerated people with reading materials; edit Hellbender Magazine, a national literary journal; assist with the West Virginia Writers’ Workshop; and help maintain WVU's Council of Writers. They also participate in our monthly reading series, MFA@123 (pictured above). Our program hosts readings by recognized writers, including Jayne Anne Phillips, Camille Rankine, Elizabeth Graver and Geffrey Davis. We also conduct the annual Sturm Writer-in-Residence program, a week-long program that hosts an author at WVU to give a reading and lead workshops with graduate students. Recent Sturm Writers-in-Residence have included Claire Vaye Watkins, Valerie Sayers, Oliver de la Paz, Paul Lisicky and Susan Straight.

Graduate Catalog Description   Graduate Student Handbook

WVU’s MFA faculty members, Mark Brazaitis, Mary Ann Samyn, Glenn Taylor, Christa Parravani, Jenny Johnson and Brian Broome, have published more than 25 books and have won many prestigious prizes and honors:  

  • National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship 
  • MacDowell Fellowship 
  • Whiting Award 
  • Kirkus Prize 
  • National Book Critics Circle Award (finalist)  
  • Iowa Short Fiction Award  
  • Yaddo Fellowship 
  • Field Poetry Prize 
  • Hodder Fellowship 
  • Lambda Literary Award 
  • 42 Miles Press Poetry Prize 
  • Richard Sullivan Prize 
  • Devil's Kitchen Reading Award in Prose 
  • Gival Press Novel Award 
  • Pushcart Prize 
  • Distinguished stories and essays in Best American anthologies 
  • Autumn House Press Full-Length Fiction Prize 
  • Juniper Prize 
  • George Garrett Fiction Award  
  • The Journal Prize  
  • Kent State University Press/Wick Chapbook Prize    
  • Books for a Better Life (nominee) 
  • Amazon Spotlight Pick 
  • New York Times Editor’s Choice 
  • NEH-National Endowment for the Humanities  

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