The Writing Program
Columbia MFA in Writing - Overview
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 10 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.
Current student Antoinette Bumekpor on studying at Columbia University
Literary Translation at Columbia: John Keene
501 Dodge Hall
New York, NY 10027 7:30 PM
John Keene is an artist, a translator, and a writer. His recent books include: the story and novella collection Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015); the art book GRIND (Image Text Ithaca Press, 2016), an art-text collaboration with photographer Nicholas Muellner; and the poetry chapbook Playland (Seven Kitchens Press, 2016).
Creativity, Addiction, and Mood Disorders
Lenfest Center for the Arts, 615 W. 129 St., New York, NY 10027 The Lantern (Eighth Floor) 6:30 PM
A conversation about the relationship between mental illness, psychic suffering, addiction, and creativity, focused particularly on the poets Robert Lowell and John Berryman. Moderated by Phillip Lopate '64 CC, Writing. Books will be available for purchase.
December 5, 2019 at 7 PM
What is Columbia Selects? The first Thursday of each month the Columbia MFA program hosts a reading series featuring Writing Program alumni. These fresh talents are finished with or near to finished with their first books, but do not yet have a book contract and/or an agent. In recent years, many of our featured writers have achieved critical and commercial success. This is your chance to glimpse who you'll be reading in 2021!more
Alumna Meghan Daum '96 Addresses the State of Our Disunion in 'The Problem with Everything'
Reflexive political correctness, the often toxic fallout from social media, progressive enforcers of “proper” thinking, the cult of “weaponized victimhood,” are some of the topics social critic and personal essayist alumna Meghan Daum ’96 focuses on in her recently released The Problem with Everythiread more
The National Book Foundation Names Assistant Professor Anelise Chen Among ‘5 Under 35’
Assistant Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Anelise Chen was recently selected for The National Book Foundations list of ‘5 under 35’, for her book So Many Olympic Exertions.read more
Poetry Alumna Isabella DeSendi '17 Winner of 2019 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship
Poetry Alumna Isabella DeSendi '17 was recently announced as a winner of the 2019 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowships.read more
Alumnus Cyrèe Jarelle Johnson ‘19 Loads ‘Slingshot’ With Beauty and Aims High
“Fierce, sometimes chaotic” wrote Stephanie Burt of The New York Times about Slingshot, a poetry collection by alumnus Cyrèe Jarelle Johnson ’19, out from Nightboat Books.read more
Professor Lara Vapnyar Solves an Unfinished Equation with Laughter and Angst in Latest Book
“Witty and honest and unflinchingly unsentimental,” is the verdict of the Kirkus Reviews of Adjunct Assistant Professor Lara Vapnyar's book, Divide Me By Zero, published October 15.“It’s almost impossible to put the book down without devouring it in one sitting.”read more
Alumna Meaghan Winter '10 Forecasts Political Change in New Book
“A timely, urgent call for political engagement,” declared the Kirkus Review about All Politics is Local: Why Progressives Must Fight for the States, by alumna Meaghan Winter ’10.read more