Letter From the Director
I’m delighted to introduce myself as the new director of Carlow’s MFA program. For ten years, Carlow creative writing students have thrived through an international approach to the study of writing, with winter residencies based at Carlow’s campus in Pittsburgh and summer residencies based at the historic Trinity College campus in Dublin, Ireland. Each place has a lively literary scene within which students can grow as writers, develop a life-long literary community, and engage with talented peers, program mentors, and visiting writers.
Carlow’s low-residency program is grounded in the writer-mentor relationship and the fundamental question: what is the book you want to write? In the course of a semester, each student works with a dedicated writing mentor to develop the skills, discipline, and knowledge necessary to produce their thesis, a single, book-length work within their genre, while also exploring the fundamentals of their craft. Unique among low-residency programs, students work with both American and Irish faculty as semester-long mentors over the course of the program. Working with a total of five mentors, students learn from and engage with all faculty in their five semesters as Carlow graduate students.
Each MFA residency is a literary event. Over the course of two weeks students participate in daily workshops with their assigned mentors, lectures and readings from visiting writers and faculty members, and literary and cultural programs throughout Pittsburgh and Ireland. In the past this has included a political and literary tour of Belfast, publication workshops with leading Pittsburgh editors and publishers, James Joyce and Bloomsday celebrations in Dublin, and a workshop on text and image at the Warhol Museum. And our residencies have afforded our students the opportunity to work with two National Book Award recipients; a winner of the MacArthur genius award; three Pulitzer Prize-winners; a winner of the Man Booker Award; and a winner of the IMPAC prize.
I come to this prestigious program after twelve years at Ohio University, where I taught in the Creative Writing Program, and as a seminar leader and one-on-one mentor in the Honors Tutorial College. During that time, I also served as director of the Spring Literary Festival, and director of the Ohio University Press, where I helped found the Modern African Writing series. I am the author of three books—a novel and two collections of essays—and the founder of a literature and culture program based at Tel Aviv University. My current work-in-progress is a critical biography of the groundbreaking Israeli comics artist and writer Rutu Modan.
Carlow MFA students work in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, with faculty and visiting writers that specialize in each genre. We offer rolling admissions so that prospective students can apply at any time and begin with either a winter or summer residency. If you’re exploring MFA programs and believe Carlow’s unique experience might be the right fit, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412.578.6597 so we can talk about the program and your work.
With best wishes for your writing,
Director, MFA in Creative Writing
3333 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213