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Whidbey Writers Workshop
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
The Whidbey Writers Workshop Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA) Program is the first in the country - and perhaps in the world - to be offered not by a college or university but by an organization of writers. In this, it resembles many free-standing arts institutions offering degrees in music, art, dance and theater. Authorized by the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, WWW MFA classes began in August of 2005. In August of 2007 the Workshop celebrated its first graduation. The Northwest Institute of Literary Arts is nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) (www.detc.org). DETC, a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (www.chea.org), is the only distance education accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accreditation by DETC is also recognized by the Washington State Professional Educational Standards Board.
ANNOUNCING A NEW TRACK IN PUBLISHING AND EDITING
The MFA in Publishing and Editing joins our current tracks in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and writing for children/young adults. The Publishing and Editing track is designed for those who wish to develop their own writing while also preparing for a career in publishing and editing, whether at a large or small press or in periodicals, whether traditional or e-published. Gain the support of a committed writing community as you prepare for a life of productive, publishable writing at the Whidbey Writers Workshop.
Try Us Out at a Residency
Interested in our MFA program but would like to give it a trial run? Why not experience one of our residencies as a residency, non-credit participant and see for yourself what we're really like? See our Residency
page for further information.
The Whidbey Writers Workshop Master of Fine Arts program has three major objectives:
- To produce productive, publishing writers who are prepared for a life of writing
- To prepare graduates to articulate their understanding of the process of writing, whether in essays, informal or formal teaching or otherwise
- To prepare graduates to participate in the local, regional and national community of writers
The Workshop recognizes that all students who enroll in a Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing seek to become published writers. We expect our students to also become members of the community of writers and to be able to articulate their understanding of the writing process.
Those last two expectations are not universal among creative writing degree programs. Nor are they goals shared by every writer. Some are not interested in participating in the larger community of writers. Others believe it is neither desirable nor even possible to articulate clearly their understanding of the writing process; rather, they believe the process is and should remain largely unexplored. Those are legitimate perspectives, but they aren't the perspectives of this program.
Students who find our objectives compatible with their own may focus on any of four areas: fiction, poetry, nonfiction or writing for children/young adults. The program requires three workshops, one of which may be in a second genre. Students also take at least two craft courses, one of which must be in a second (or third) genre. Two directed reading courses in the core genre are required. A third directed reading or a third craft course may be taken in another genre. The program is capped by a book-length creative work of publishable quality. For details, see our Program Catalog
As a low-residency (also known as brief residency) program, the WWW MFA requires students to attend intensive ten-day residencies on Whidbey Island each August and January. Residencies are followed by sixteen-week online semesters. For current and recent residency schedules, see our Residency Schedule
page. Residencies are available on a continuing education basis to those who don't wish to study for an MFA. See the Residency
page for more information.
The Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program is one of the most flexible low-residency MFAs around. Many other brief residency programs require fifteen-credit blocks each term and must be completed in two years. Ours will offer five-credit individual courses so that students may work at their own pace, taking from two to six years to complete the program.
The WWW MFA has a limited number of scholarships available. For application forms including scholarship application forms see our Registration/Other Forms
Honors for the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program
One of "4 TOP Schools You Should Consider," says The Writer.
In a cover article, "Finding the Right Fit," the January 2012 issue of The Writer
magazine named the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program as one of "4 TOP Schools You Should Consider." Especially noted were the program's focus on literary citizenship and its efforts to ensure that graduates are prepared to enter the competitive world of publishing.
"A Distinctive Program" says Poets & Writers.
In its fall 2007 special MFA issue, Poets & Writers
magazine named Whidbey Writers Workshop as one of nine distinctive Master of Fine Arts programs in the nation, noting that it is the only MFA program sponsored by a writers' organization rather than a college or university. The Whidbey Writers Workshop was the only low-residency MFA program included and one of the youngest in the group.
Teachers: Intensive residency Clock Hours are now available in cooperation with Heritage Institute of Clinton, Washington. See our Clock Hours
page for details and application procedures.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE NOW AVAILABLE
The Whidbey Writers Workshop has established a financial assistance program. For details, see our Scholarship
page. You can also find Scholarship Application Forms on our Registration/Other Forms
Applications for the MFA program
Beginning with August residencies and fall semesters are accepted until March 15; applications for January residencies and spring semesters are accepted until October 1. Residency applications are accepted during May 15-June 15 for the August residency and October 6-November 6 for the January residency. For information about residency status, see the Residency
NILA does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual preference, marital status, disability, or veteran status.