Why I Write

I write because I want to see the world clearly.

A good story, a good poem, a good essay—or for that matter, a good novel or memoir—helps you see the present moment with focus and clarity. Even if a book takes place on the other side of the world, or five hundred years ago, or has faces very different from mine, I know that there’s something common in human experience to see. Good writing doesn’t constantly look back or look ahead. Each word is a world, and a good writer puts that world in front of you when you read.

When I sit down to write, I often don’t know what I’m looking for. I have a feeling, a desire to communicate. I know there’s a story to tell, even if I don’t know exactly what that story is. Writing is both discovery and certainty—certain that you’re there for a reason, eager to find out what that reason is.

One of my great writing teachers used to say, “Into what life does this story come?” When I read, I am grateful for the opportunity to enter someone else’s life. When I write, I am honored to share my life with you.

by Kevin Haworth, Director of the MFA program

QUICK FACTS: Low-residency: complete four, 11 day residencies -- two in Pittsburgh and two at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland; program begins in January and June; no GRE or GMAT required


“Carlow University’s MFA program is small enough to enhance personal development, but big enough to change your life.” 

– Tess Barry, Alumni and Finalist for the Manchester Poetry Prize 

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing program is designed with convenience in mind for those who juggle various obligations but aspire to become published writers. Students have the opportunity to refine and explore their writing through concentrations in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction under the guidance of award-winning American and Irish writers. Students and faculty communicate regularly by postal mail and email. The culmination of the students’ experiences at Carlow is the production of a manuscript of publishable quality in their desired concentration.

Carlow’s MFA program, which can be completed in five semesters, provides the convenience of a low-residency program with boundless opportunities in which students work with internationally-renowned writers in the United States and Ireland. Each year, students complete two residencies. In January, students spend 11 days in Pittsburgh, a city known for its world-class teaching and research institutes. In June, students experience the magnificent setting and rich literary tradition of Ireland during an 11-day residency at Trinity College Dublin.

The Carlow University MFA in Creative Writing Program offers students an apprenticeship with masters in the field: excellent writers who have stature within the writing community and significant publication credentials, are actively involved in their own art, and are concerned and conscientious teachers.

The program tries to avoid the restriction of any one “school” or aesthetic by engaging faculty with a range of experience and scheduling a variety of seminar/course topics each semester. The program is unique for offering residencies in Ireland with the opportunity to study with significant Irish writers.

Admission to our MFA in Creative Writing program has rolling admissions (in other words, you can apply at any time of the year)! Also, please follow us on Twitter at @CarlowMFA and like us on Facebook!

Carlow University's MFA Program for Creative Writing is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

If you'd like to learn more about our MFA in Creative Writing, let us know!