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.

 

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved Lucie Brock-Broido. As Professor and Director of the Poetry concentration, Lucie was a brilliant guide for generations of students, an esteemed member of the Writing faculty, and a beautiful presence in all of our lives.

more

Current student Antoinette Bumekpor at TEDx Columbia University

 

 

Upcoming Events

October 25

Complex Issues: Gary Shteyngart's 'Lake Success'

The Lantern
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.
New York, NY 10027 7:00 PM

About Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, Lake Success:
“Narcissistic, hilariously self-deluded, and divorced from the real world as most of us know it, hedge-fund manager Barry Cohen oversees $2.4 billion in assets. Deeply stressed by an SEC investigation and by his three-year-old son’s diagnosis of autism, he flees New York on a Greyhound bus in search of a simpler, more romantic life with his old college sweetheart. Meanwhile, his super-smart wife, Seema—a driven first-generation American who craved the picture-perfect life that comes with wealth—has her own demons to face. How these two flawed characters navigate the Shteyngartian chaos of their own making is at the heart of this piercing exploration of the 0.1 Percent, a poignant tale of familial longing and an unsentimental ode to what really makes America great.”


read more

October 31

Creative Writing Lecture: Lynne Tillman

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

Series organized by Ben Marcus, Writing Lynne Tillman writes novels, short stories, and essays. Her novels include Haunted Houses; Motion Sickness; Cast in Doubt; No Lease on Life, Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, American Genius, A Comedy, and, recently, Men and Apparitions. This event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is required; it is first come, first served. Also, please note that doors will open to Columbia Writing students at 6:30pm, and will then open to the general public at 6:45pm, so we do encourage guests to arrive early in order to ensure seating. writing@columbia.edu


read more

Writing News

Lucie Brock-Broido Memorial Fund

Lucie Brock-Broido Memorial Fund

Columbia University School of the Arts has kicked off a crowdfunding campaign in remembrance of Lucie Brock-Broido. The funds raised through this crowdfunding effort will directly support students in poetry. 

read more

Alumna Elina Alter '16 Named 2018 ALTA Travel Fellow

Alumna Elina Alter '16 Named 2018 ALTA Travel Fellow

Fiction and translation alumna Elina Alter '16 has been selected as a 2018 ALTA Travel Fellow by The American Literary Translators Association.

read more

Current Student Erica Stisser Named Winner of William Faulkner Literary Prize

Current Student Erica Stisser Named Winner of William Faulkner Literary Prize

Current student Erica Stisser was named a winner of the 2018 William Faulkner Literary Prize for her short story, “A Vague Recollection.”

read more

Alumna Anna Rabinowitz '90 Presents Show Adapted From Poetry Collection

Alumna Anna Rabinowitz '90 Presents Show Adapted From Poetry Collection

Poetry alumna Anna Rabinowitz '90 will be presenting a hybrid music-theater event of Words on the Street, her latest book published in 2016 by Tupelo Press.

read more

Writing Roundup: Week of October 11

Writing Roundup: Week of October 11

Over the past couple of weeks Writing Program students, faculty and alumni have been busy publishing new work. Read more in our weekly roundup.​   Deborah Eisenberg (Faculty)

read more