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
2016 – 2017 Visiting Professor Announced
Celebrated Young Adult novel author Ellen Hopkins will be a 2016 – 2017 Visiting Professor in the Writing for Children & Young Adult (WCYA) track! Her work includes the New York Times bestselling novels Crank, Identical and Burned, which engage with difficult teenage issues such as mental health, prostitution, and drug addiction.
Each of our faculty members is an experienced writer and an incredible teacher of their art. Here are a few:
- MFA, University of Washington
Peter Mountford’s debut novel, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), won the 2012 Washington State Book Award and was a finalist in the 2012 VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize. In its full-page review, The Seattle Times wrote: “Debut novels don’t come much savvier, punchier, or more entertaining…the work of an extraordinary talent.”
His second novel The Dismal Science (Tin House Books) was described by bestselling author Tea Obrecht as “Quietly wrenching, sharply drawn and completely un-put-downable. A deft and unflinching exponent of the human side of a polarizing world few of us actually understand.” He was awarded a 4Culture Grant, a grant from the city of Seattle, and the Corporation of Yaddo’s Wallace Fellowship for a Distinguished Writer for his work on the book.
Peter’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Best New American Voices 2008, Conjunctions, Salon, Granta, ZYZZYVA, and Boston Review, where he won second place in the 2007 contest judged by George Saunders. He’s currently a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House and at Seattle Arts and Lectures. His first original screenplay, “I Am Not Werner Erhard,” co-written with Steven Schardt, was selected for the 2009 Film Independent Screenwriter’s Lab.
Peter grew up in Washington, DC, apart from three years in Sri Lanka during the early stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. In 1999, Peter earned a BA in International Relations, and then spent two years as the token liberal at a think tank. For most of that time, he lived in Ecuador and wrote about Ecuador’s economy. He now lives in Seattle, where he regularly teaches creative writing classes at the Richard Hugo House and elsewhere.
Following his graduation from Vassar College, Ben Busch served 16 years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the United States Marine Corps, deploying for two combat tours in Iraq. He returned to the U.S. to play a Marine in HBO’s Generation Kill, where he pretended to invade towns he had actually invaded in the line of duty. His written work has been published in Harper’s,The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and North American Review among others, and was notable in the 2010 Best American Essays anthology.
Busch’s searing memoir Dust to Dust (Ecco 2012) reflects a complicated relationship between destruction and creation. In chapters such as “Water,” “Metal,” “Bone,” and “Blood,” Ben reflects on his rural upbringing, his combat training, his relationship with his father—acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch—and, most poignantly, his own mortality, his family and the natural world.
His photographs have been featured in Five Points, Connecticut Review, Photography Quarterly, and War, Literature, & the Arts. As an actor, he is best known for his appearances in Homicide, The Wire, Generation Kill, and The Beast. His first film, Sympathetic Details, came out in 2008 winning numerous international film awards, and his new film as writer/director, BRIGHT, was released in January 2011.
Busch was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his essay, Growth Rings, printed in the Michigan Quarterly Review, and for his poem, You Know Who You Are, printed in the Dunes Review. Busch Received a Purple Heart medal in 2005 for combat wounds sustained in Ramadi, Iraq.
- BA, Latin; MA, Strategic Communications, University of Minnesota
Anitra Budd is a freelance editor for clients including the Loft Literary Center, Quarto Publishing Group, and Red Line Editorial. In her past job as editor at Coffee House Press she worked with a number of authors, including Kirsten Kaschock, T. Geronimo Johnson, Kate Bernheimer, Ron Padgett, Lincoln Michel, and Christopher Merkner. She is also the coauthor of Raise Them Up: The Real Deal on Reaching Unreachable Kids (Search Institute, 2006).
In addition to her editorial work, Budd is a visiting assistant professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has presented on publishing and editing topics at a variety of venues, including Columbia College’s Story Week, SUNY–Binghamton, Hamline University, and the Minnesota Book Publishers Roundtable at Open Book. She currently lives with her family in Minneapolis.
Faculty & Student News
MFA Student LouAnn Muhm has received a scholarship toward a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center for July, 2016.
MFA Alum Brooke King’s personal essay on war (“Dogtags”) was published in the fall of 2015 in War, Literature, and the Arts Magazine.
MFA Faculty Lisa Papademetriou will speak on the topic of "Grammar as Voice" at Michigan Reading Association's annual conference in Detroit on March 19.
MFA Alum Brooke King’s personal essay, “Redeployment Packing Checklist” was featured on KPBS’s Veteran Series, Incoming.
MFA Student LouAnn Muhm has two poems included in Volume 2, Issue 3 of Tinderbox Poetry Journal.
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.