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

Series organized by Ben Marcus, Writing 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. A recipient of fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and Santa Maddalena, Katie has written for publications including The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, Granta, BOMB, Triple Canopy, and frieze.


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February 27

Nonfiction Dialogues: Nicholson Baker

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

In conversation with Lis Harris, Writing 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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Writing News

Current Student Orla Tinsley Awarded President's Medal by Public Relations Institute of Ireland

Current Student Orla Tinsley Awarded President's Medal by Public Relations Institute of Ireland

Current Student Orla Tinsley was awarded The President’s Medal at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) for her work campaigning for cystic fibrosis health.

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Professor Susan Bernofsky to Receive MLA's Lois Ruth Award

Professor Susan Bernofsky to Receive MLA's Lois Ruth Award

Associate Professor Susan Bernofsky is set to receive the Modern Language Association’s Lois Ruth Award for her translation of Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, published by New Directions.

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'Green Book' by Writing Alumnus Peter Farrelly '86 Wins Three Golden Globes

'Green Book' by Writing Alumnus Peter Farrelly '86 Wins Three Golden Globes

At the 76th Golden Globe Awards, two films by Alumni were nominated for awards, Green Book, directed and co-written by Peter Farrelly '86 and Ralph Breaks the Internet co-directed and co-written by Phil Johnston '04. 

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Alumna K.B. Thors '04 Longlisted for 2018 PEN Award, Alumna Katrine Øgaard Jensen '17 Among Judges

PEN has announced its longlist for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards. This year alumna Katrine Øgaard Jensen '17 was announced as a judge for poetry, and alumna K.B. Thors '14 was longlisted in poetry for her translation of Stormwarning by Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir.

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Writing Roundup: Week of December 9

Writing Roundup: Week of December 9

Over the past couple of weeks, Writing students, faculty and alumni have been busy publishing new work. Read more in our weekly roundup.  

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Work by Columbia Writers Named Among 'Best Books of the Year' by New York Times Critics

Work by Columbia Writers Named Among 'Best Books of the Year' by New York Times Critics

The New York Times’s staff critics gave their choices of the best fiction and nonfiction works of the year and three Columbia writers were among those named. 

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