The Writing Program

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 coursework 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.

 

Upcoming events

March 7

Creative Writing Lecture: Sheila Heti

Room 501, Dodge Hall
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027 7:00 PM

Organized by Ben Marcus, Writing Sheila Heti is the author of seven books, including the novel, How Should a Person Be? which was a New York Times Notable Book and was called by Time magazine "one of the most talked-about books of the year." She is co-editor of the New York Times bestseller Women in Clothes, which features the voices of 639 women from around the world. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, McSweeney's, n+1, Harper's, The New York Times Magazine and The London Review of Books. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. She will be publishing a new novel, called Motherhood, in Spring 2018.


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March 28

Creative Writing Lecture: Kelly Link

Room 501, Dodge Hall
2960 Broadway
New York, NY 10027 7:00 PM

Organized by Ben Marcus, Writing Kelly Link is the author of the collections Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, and Get in Trouble. Her short stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She and Gavin J. Grant have co-edited a number of anthologies, including multiple volumes of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and, for young adults, Steampunk! and Monstrous Affections. She is the co-founder of Small Beer Press and co-edits the occasional zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.


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Writing News

Nika Knight '14 Publishes German Language Translations

Nika Knight '14 Publishes German Language Translations

The Last Country, translated by Alumna Nika Knight '14 was published by Seagull Books.

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Adjunct Professor Sigrid Nunez '75 Publishes New Novel

Adjunct Professor Sigrid Nunez '75 Publishes New Novel

Adjunct faculty member Sigrid Nunez ’75 published her new book, The Friend (Riverhead Books), which was released yesterday, February 6.

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Katherine Faw '10 Publishes Second Novel 'Ultraluminous' to Much Acclaim

Katherine Faw '10 Publishes Second Novel 'Ultraluminous' to Much Acclaim

Katherine Faw ’10 has published her second novel, Ultraluminous, to high praise from The New Yorker, Brooklyn Rail, Publishers Weekly and other outlets.

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Writing Roundup: Week of Feb. 7, 2018

Writing Roundup: Week of Feb. 7, 2018

Over the past couple of weeks, Writing Program students, faculty and alumni have been busy publishing new work. Read more in our biweekly roundup.   Jon-Marc McDonald (Current Student)

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Writing Professor Richard Ford Wins Premio la Lettura

Writing Professor Richard Ford Wins Premio la Lettura

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Writing faculty member Richard Ford won the Premio la Lettura, a prodigious Italian award sponsored by the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

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Vijay Seshadri '88 Named 2018 Poet in Residence by Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

Vijay Seshadri '88 Named 2018 Poet in Residence by Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

Seshadri, a poet, essayist and critic, currently teaches undergraduate writing and directs the nonfiction graduate writing program at Sarah Lawrence University.

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