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.

 

February 1

Patti Smith: Devotion

The Lantern
Lenfest Center for the Arts
615 W. 129 St.
New York, NY 10027 6:30 PM

A work of creative brilliance may seem like magic—its source a mystery, its impact unexpectedly stirring. How does an artist accomplish such an achievement, connecting deeply with an audience never met? In her groundbreaking new book, Devotion, one of our culture’s beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.


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Writing News

'The Changeling' by Victor Lavalle '98 Among Best Books of the Year

'The Changeling' by Victor Lavalle '98 Among Best Books of the Year

It has landed on Time magazine’s "The Top 10 Novels of 2017," USA Today’s "10 books we loved reading in 2017," and The New York Times Book Review’s "100 Notable Books of 2017."

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Essay by Nina Sharma '16 Nominated for Pushcart Prize

Essay by Nina Sharma '16 Nominated for Pushcart Prize

An essay analyzing the murders of Asian Americans in both popular culture and real life, by Nina Sharma '16, has been nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize.

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Writing Roundup: Week of Dec. 4

Writing Roundup: Week of Dec. 4

Over the past couple of weeks, Writing Program students, faculty and alumni have been busy publishing new work. Read more in our biweekly roundup.   Jenessa Abrams ’17

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Columbia Women Write 'New York Times Magazine' Essays on Sexual Harassment

Columbia Women Write 'New York Times Magazine' Essays on Sexual Harassment

Called The Reckoning: Women and Power in the Workplace, the interactive package featured faculty and alumni who consider sexual harassment and abuse in different contexts. Some share their own personal stories about what they confronted in different work environments.

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Alumna Sarah Arvio '83 Translates Lorca's Extensive Works for 'Poet in Spain'

Alumna Sarah Arvio '83 Translates Lorca's Extensive Works for 'Poet in Spain'

The New York Times’ Book Review calls Arvio a “supple translator,” the first who has taken on Lorca’s rich body of work since the publication of Collected Poems: A Bilingual Edition (1991), edited by Christopher Maurer.

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Alumni Named Among '10 Poets Who Will Change the World' by Poets & Writers

Alumni Named Among '10 Poets Who Will Change the World' by Poets & Writers

Emily Skillings '17 was featured for her collection, Fort Not, and William Brewer '14 was selected for his collection, I Know Your Kind. Both are debut books of poetry published this year.

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