By Writers, For Writers
Our program was built entirely by writers, to guide authors organically through the exploration of their craft and thorough preparation for a sustainable life of creation and publication. No other program nurtures a writer from line and sentence to essay, story, poetry collection or novel like ours does.
Our editing semester is a uniquely practical experience in crafting work which is both thrilling and publishable. Our gifted faculty are here because they want to launch unique, individual voices within a global dialogue; to see risks taken, new moves in language braved, and students grow into professional and artistic peers.
Come lean toward our fire and tell us your stories, poems, essays. We’re listening.
How does a low-residency program work?
We’ve made this program so that people who are unable to walk away from jobs and families and service can still become masters of their craft . . . NOW.
Over four distance-learning semesters punctuated by five week-long residencies, students will focus on their chosen genre (be it fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction) while exploring new territories of artistic expression.
Faculty meet with their students one-on-one during each residency to set plans, then work with them intensively throughout the semester providing written critiques. With a student-to-mentor ratio never greater than 5:1, students receive creative, focused, individualized feedback.
Each residency is an eight-day intensive period of workshops, seminars, readings and more, in which we explore the wide landscape of the writing life from practical tricks-of-the-trade to subtleties of conceptual nuance. Residencies take place in early January and early August, with one of every five residencies (for the program as a whole) located overseas. Our August 2014 residency was in Doolin, Ireland – our January 2017 residency will be in Jamaica.
Meet Our Faculty
Honorary Creative Writing Faculty
Carolyn Forché: Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, poet, teacher and activist Carolyn Forché has witnessed, thought about, and put into poetry some of the most devastating events of twentieth-century world history. According to Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Times Book Review, Forché’s ability to wed the “political” with the “personal” places her in the company of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Philip Levine, and Denise Levertov.
Upcoming Writer in Residence
Sonnet Mondal (Kolkata, India) is the author eight books of poetry, and editor-in-chief of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review (www.theenchantingverses.org). His most recent book, Ink and Line, was co-authored with Sukrita Paul Kumar. He has read, and represented India, at festivals in Macedonia; Cork, Ireland; Istanbul, Turkey; Granada, Nicaragua; and Slovakia. His poetry has been translated into Hindi, Italian, Slovenian, Slovakian, Turkish, Macedonian, Bengali and Arabic, and published across Asia, Europe, and North America.
Each of our faculty members is an experienced writer and an incredible teacher of their art. Here are a few:
Poetry, Spoken Word
- M.F.A., University of Southern Maine, Stonecoast
Patricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and one of NPR’s top five books of 2008; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. Her latest is Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, Tin House and both Best American Poetry 2011 and Best American Essays 2011.
She is also the author of Africans In America, the companion book to the groundbreaking PBS series, the children’s book Janna and the Kings and the editor of the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. She is a 2012 fellow at both the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is a professor at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island, and was the Writer in Residence at SNC for 2013 – 2014.
Fiction, Poetry, Music
- Ph.D. in American Literature, University of California at Davis
Christian Kiefer’s first novel, The Infinite Tides (Bloomsbury) appeared on best of the year lists from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist and was given rave reviews in The Washington Post, Oprah.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Brooklyn Rain, Library Journal, Huffington Post, and elsewhere. T.C. Boyle called the novel “smart, lyrical [and] deeply moving” and noted its “emotional complexity and pure aching beauty.” Pam Houston called it “the most emotionally and syntactically sophisticated debut I have ever seen.” His second novel, The Animals (Liveright / W.W. Norton) was a best book of the year from Amazon.com and was praised by Richard Ford, Janet Fitch, and many others. Porter Shreve, writing about the novel in the San Francisco Chronicle, noted that “the book is not just a galloping great read; it’s a violent, tender, terrifying, genuine work of art.”
Kiefer is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for his short fiction, which has appeared in Santa Monica Review, Zyzzyva, Catamaran Literary Reader, and elsewhere. He writes and publishes poetry on a regular basis, and has a long second career in music, under the auspices of which he has collaborated with members of Smog, Sun Kil Moon, Wilco, Low, and The Band.
He teaches regularly at conferences including the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Catamaran Writing Conference, and has been a fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Upcoming work includes the novella, One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide (Nouvella) and the novel, Kingdom of Wolves (Liveright / W.W. Norton).
He lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada northeast of Sacramento, California with his wife and sons.
We want artists who will write for the rest of their lives. If you are interested in adding your voice to this transformative conversation and intrigued by the possibility of working with teachers and peers who are passionate about the art they love, then please contact us — we look forward to meeting you.