Writing

The Columbia University MFA Writing Program is highly regarded for its rigorous approach to literary instruction and for its faculty of acclaimed writers and editors who are devoted and dedicated teachers. The faculty, the students, and the curriculum represent and foster a full range of artistic and literary diversity. Students are encouraged to make the most of their own artistic instincts and to realize as fully as possible, beyond any perceived limitations, their potential as writers.
 
At the core of the curriculum is the writing workshop. All workshops are small (7 to 12 students), ensuring that all students present work at least three times per semester. Students receive substantial written responses to their work from their professors and classmates; they also have regularly scheduled one-on-one conferences with faculty. The second-year thesis workshops (6 to 9 students) are dedicated to shaping each student’s work into book form.
 
The Columbia MFA is a two-year program requiring 60 credits of course work to complete the degree and can take up to three years to complete the thesis. Students concentrate in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, and also have the option of pursuing a joint course of study in writing and literary translation. Most MFA programs require 48 credits or as few as 36 credits, but the Columbia Writing Program considers the study of literature from the practitioner's point of view—reading as a writer—essential to a writer's education. Every semester, students take a workshop and, on average, three craft-oriented seminars and/or lectures designed to illuminate, inform, clarify, augment and inspire each student’s experience and practice as a writer.  New seminars, lectures and master classes are created every year.

News

Ada Limon
updated February 2016
 
Adjunct faculty member Ada Limón was recently named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for her fourth book of poems, Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions).
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updated January 2016
 
Robin Beth Schaer ’05 published her debut book of poetry, Shipbreaking (Anhinga Press), in August. Since then, the book has garnered significant acclaim, including a spot on BuzzFeed’s “16 Best Poetry Books of 2015” list and their “24 Best Literary Debuts of 2015.”
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updated January 2016
 
The work of six Columbia writers was included in the Boston Review’s list of the twenty best poems published by the magazine in 2015, appearing alonside such celebrated poets as Anne Carson, Jorie Graham, Maggie Nelson and current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.
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updated December 2015
 
Gint Aras’s ’02 novel The Fugue was published by the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography this month. According to Aras, the book was based heavily on the manuscript he submitted for his thesis at Columbia.
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updated December 2015
 
Leslie Jamison joined the Writing Program’s Nonfiction faculty as an assistant professor this fall. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling essay collection The Empathy Exams (Graywolf) and...
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updated December 2015
 
Marcel Proust died at the age of 51 and left behind more than a million words of classic literature, known to American readers as In Search of Lost Time. Proust’s monumental autobiographical novel has long been known as a masterpiece, as pleasurable as it is daunting to read.
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updated December 2015
 
Current student Avia Tadmor’s translations of Ronny Someck’s poems were published earlier this year by Asymptote. The poems, “Bloody Mary,” “The Leopard and the Glass Slipper” and “Cheetah,” were part...
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updated November 2015
 
Mike Heppner’s ’00 new book, We Came All This Way has been published by Thought Catalog Books. His first novel in eight years, We Came All This Way follows Roseanne Okerfeldt...
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updated November 2015
 
Professor Susan Bernofsky has translated seven books by Swiss-German modernist writer Robert Walser, an enigmatic literary figure whose notoriety in the United States has grown thanks, in large part, to Bernofsky’s commitment to his work.
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updated November 2015
 
Lily Blacksell (‘17) began her MFA studies in poetry at the School of the Arts this fall. Blacksell moved to New York City after studying at the University of Birmingham in her native United Kingdom.

 
Writing Program
415 Dodge Hall
Mail Code 1804
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Phone: (212) 854-4391
writing@columbia.edu

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.