According to Poets & Writers, there are over three hundred graduate writing programs in North America; the Bay Area alone is home to six. These numbers underscore the fact that many writers now consider getting an MFA to be a necessary step in their artistic and professional development. Given the significant personal and financial investment involved in pursuing an MFA, potential applicants could greatly benefit from an insider’s perspective to help them decide whether an MFA is really the right choice. This two-day mini-intensive is designed to provide exactly that.
Drawing from their first-hand experience, as well as recently published books and articles, Lisa Abellera and Vicente Viray will demystify the MFA experience, offering a clear, candid perspective on such topics as:
- The different types of MFA programs (e.g., full-time and low-residency, studio programs vs. those that emphasize literary studies)
- The nuts and bolts of the application, along with strategies for standing out in an increasingly competitive admissions environment (e.g., developing a compelling personal statement and writing sample)
- What to expect in workshops and craft seminars (with a mini-craft talk and workshop, to provide real-life examples)
- Balancing school and work
- Getting published
Just as important, Lisa and Vicente will also discuss non-MFA routes for continuing to develop as a writer and participating in the broader literary community. There will be ample time for questions and answers on both days, providing a forum for participants to ask anything they ever wanted to know about the MFA.
Vicente R. Viray holds an MFA in fiction from the University of San Francisco, an MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from CSU East Bay, and a BA in English from Reed College. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of literary journals including California Northern, Chelsea Station, The Collagist, Educe, The Greensboro Review, Mary: A Journal of New Writing, Stirring, Tattoo Highway, and Umbrella Journal. He is currently working on a short story collection.
Lisa Abellera earned an MFA in Creative Writing (fiction) from the University of San Francisco and a BA in Strategic Management from Dominican University of CA. Her work has appeared in The Southeast Review, Lowestoft Chronicle, and The Globetrotter’s Companion (Lion Lounge Press), an anthology of creative travel writing; she has stories forthcoming in Elsewhere and TAYO Literary Magazine. She is currently at work on a collection of short fiction.