1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Creative Writing Program

LoungeThe University of Virginia offers creative writing courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Our Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing is a two-year graduate degree program in fiction or poetry writing. Consistently ranked among the top MFA programs in the nation, the program is full-time and workshop-based, with a small, but aesthetically diverse group of students and faculty. Our next application deadline is December 15, 2014. Prospective applicants can find out more about our program by visiting our MFA Admissions page and our About the Program page.  Most MFA programs advise applicants to read the work of their faculty before applying, but we think an even better suggestion is to read some books by recent graduates. For a list of recent U.Va. MFA publications, please see our MFA Alumni Books page.

At the undergraduate level, U.Va. offers the Area Program in Poetry Writing and the Area Program in Literary Prose Writing, which are concentrations within the English major. All of our graduate and undergraduate creative writing courses are taught through U.Va.'s outstanding English Department.

If you live in the area and would like to receive e-mails about the creative writing readings and events we sponsor, please add your e-mail to this list.

And for those wanting to peek under the lid of our MFA program and view photos of current students and events, see this Tumblr site maintained by Paul Guest.


Alumni News

  • Michelle Cuevas's (MFA Fiction, 2009) Beyond the Laughing Sky is a "Best of October" pick on Amazon.
  • Austin Smith (MFA Poetry, 2012) is the winner of the 2014 Narrative Prize for his short story "The Halverson Brothers."
  • Drew Johnson (MFA Fiction, 2007) published a six-part essay, "The Ephemeral Real," in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • Mark Wagenaar (MFA Poetry, 2010) is the 2014 winner of the New Letters Poetry Award for "Broken Sonnets: Elegies & Near Elegy" and other poems. The award was judged by Dennis Finnell.
  • George David Clark (MFA Poetry, 2003) will have his first book, Reveille, out from University of Arkansas Press as the winner of the 2015 Miller Williams Poetry Prize.
  • Alex Collins-Shotwell (MFA Fiction, 2014) will have her story "Strike-Slip" in the fall Crab Orchard Review.
  • Sarah Estes Graham (MFA Poetry, 2007) had her her first book-length collection of poetry, Field Notes, win the 2014 Cider Press Review prize and will appear in print later this year.
  • Greg Jackson (MFA Fiction, 2013) has a new story, "Wanger in the Desert" in a July 2014 New Yorker.  He is interviewed here.
  • Thomas Pierce (MFA Fiction, 2013) has a new story, "Ba Baboon," in a May 2014 New Yorker.
  • Sam Taylor (MFA Poetry 2010) is the recipient of the 2014 Amy Lowell Scholarship for American Poets Traveling Abroad.
  • And then there is the plain coolness of having your book turned into a movie, which is what is happening to alum Eleanor Henderson (MFA Fiction 2005) and her Ten Thousand Saints.
  • Sarah Estes (MFA Poetry 2007) has her chapbook Hive Bone out from Finishing Line Press and had a book-length manuscript finish as first runner-up for the Cider Press Review Prize.
  • Safiya Sinclair (MFA Poetry 2014) wins the 2013 The Journal's annual poetry contest for her poem "Home."
  • We're always pleased to have our recent graduates get into print, but when an esteemed poetry series publishes two in the same year, we get a little giddy. Congratulations to Jasmine Bailey (MFA Poetry 2010) and Cecilia Llompart (MFA Poetry 2013), whose first collections, Alexandria and The Wingless, will come out from Carnegie Mellon University Press in February 2014.
  • Congratulations to Poetry International's 2013 contest winner, Mark Wagenaar (MFA Poetry 2010).  His poem “Migrations” was chosen by Valzhyna Mort and will be published in a future issue of Poetry International. Mark also earned a $1000 cash prize!
  • Megan Fishmann Getten's short story, "The House on Blackburn Avenue," which appeared on Five Chapters, receives a  Pushcart nomination from that magazine.
  • Austin Smith (MFA Poetry, 2012) is interviewed by SFWeekly.
  • We have two alums in 2013's The Best American Nonrequired Reading.  Alexis Schaitkin (MFA Fiction 2013) has her story "Bone" included (originally in the Southwest Review) and Kim Philley (MFA Poetry 2007) also has her short story "Two Deaths" (originally in Epiphany) in the same edition!
  • Faculty member and alum Lisa Russ Spaar wins U.Va.'s 2013 Jefferson Scholars Foundation Faculty Prize.
  • Steve Barbaro (MFA Poetry, 2010) has a recent poem on Verse Daily and a novel experpt up at Web Conjunctions.
  • Reed Johnson (MFA Fiction, 2010) writes in the New Yorker blog on Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and its Russian translations.
  • Faculty member Rita Dove’s paperback edition of The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetryis released on September 24, 2013.
  • Lilah Hegnauer (MFA Poetry, 2002) wins the inaugural New Southern Voices Poetry Prize from Hub City Press for her collection Pantry.
  • Emma Eisenberg (MFA Fiction, 2014) has a new story, "The Third Rainbow Girl," up at Five Chapters.