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.

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Current student Antoinette Bumekpor at TEDx Columbia University

 

 

Upcoming Events:

February 20

Creative Writing Lecture: Katie Kitamura

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

Katie Kitamura's third novel, A Separation, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Premio von Rezzori. It was named a Best Book of the Year by over a dozen publications, has been optioned for film, and will be translated into sixteen languages. Her two previous novels, Gone To The Forest and The Longshot, were both finalists for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award.


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February 27

Nonfiction Dialogues: Nicholson Baker

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

Nicholson Baker was born in Manhattan in 1957 and grew up in Rochester, New York. He has published sixteen books—including The Mezzanine (1988), U and I (1991), Human Smoke (2008), The Anthologist (2009), and Substitute (2016)—and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper's, the New York Review of Books, Best American Short Stories, and Best American Essays. Baker and his wife Margaret Brentano have two children; they live on the Penobscot River in Maine.


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March 6

Creative Writing Lecture: Renee Gladman

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

Renee Gladman is a writer and artist preoccupied with lines, crossings, thresholds, and geographies as they play out in the interstices of poetry and prose. She is the author of eleven published works, including a cycle of novels about the city-state Ravicka and its inhabitants, the Ravickians—Event Factory, The Ravickians, Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge, and Houses of Ravicka. Recent essays and visual work have appeared in The Paris Review, Gulf Coast, Granta, Harper's, BOMB Magazine, and n+1.


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Writing News:

Alumna Jennifer Sears '05 Wins 2018 NEA Fellowship

Writing alumna Jennifer Sears '05 received a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Prose and a 2018 Artists Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).

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Professor Susan Bernofsky Awarded 2019 Friedrich Ulfers Prize

Professor Susan Bernofsky Awarded 2019 Friedrich Ulfers Prize

Translator and professor Susan Bernofsky was announced as the 2019 winner of the Ulfers Prize.

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Alumna Ari Braverman '17 Releases Debut Novel in July

Alumna Ari Braverman '17 Releases Debut Novel in July

Fiction alumna Ari Braverman '17 announces her first book, The Ballad of Big Feeling, acquired by Melville House is scheduled for publication July 9, 2019.

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Alumna Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah '11 Receives American Mosaic Journalism Prize

Writing alumna Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah '11 received the American Mosaic Journalism Prize recently, an unrestricted cash prize of $100,000 awarded to freelance journalists for excellence in long-form, narrative, or deep reporting about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups i

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