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Creative writing programs austin

The Writing Barn

Situated on the 7.5 wooded acre homestead of author Bethany Hegedus in Austin, Texas, The Writing Barn is a book lover’s haven. Whether retreating at the Book House, The Cabin, or attending one of the many events and workshops held at The Writing Barn, you will have every opportunity to retreat, create and celebrate.

With floor to ceiling bookshelves, rows of instructional craft books, free wi-fi, and no television, The Writing Barn and its grounds are a quiet and quaint spot for rest and relaxation within 20 minutes of downtown Austin.

Latest News

Nonfiction Kidlit Confab 2022 Schedule

We’re Seeking Summer 2022 Interns (Two Spots Available)!

Come Intern with The Writing Barn in Austin, Texas! Interns at The Writing Barn (founded by celebrated author Bethany Hegedus) have the opportunity to gain professional insight into the literary industry […]

Michener Center for Writers

The Michener Center for Writers is the only MFA program in the world that provides full and equal funding to every writer, yet it is the extraordinary faculty and sense of community that most distinguishes us. Ours is a three-year, fully funded residency program with a unique interdisciplinary focus. While writers apply and are admitted in a primary genre—fiction, poetry, playwriting or screenwriting—they also study a secondary genre during their time in Austin. There are no teaching duties, a luxury that allows our Fellows to commit themselves fully to their writing, and because only 12 writers are admitted each year, our faculty can devote ample time and energy to every writer. With unparalleled support and the deeply held belief that literary art matters now more than ever, the Michener Center offers its writers three years of unencumbered space to make the work that only they can.

News & Events

MCW Graduation Readings in May!

The Michener Center is thrilled to celebrate our classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022 this May! Please join us for three public readings (5/7, 5/13,… Read more

MCW Alum Rachel Heng Names NEA Fellow for 2022

Michener fiction alum Rachel Heng (MFA ’20) was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Creative Writing. Congratulations, Rachel! Read more about… Read more

MCW Alum Nathan Harris’ Debut Novel Chosen for Oprah’s Book Club

Nathan Harris’ debut novel The Sweetness of Water is the latest pick for Oprah’s Book Club. Watch Nathan’s appearance alongside Oprah Winfrey on CBS This… Read more

Michener Fellow Bev Chukwu Wins BlueCat Screenplay Competition

Michener Fellow Beverly Chukwu’s screenplay, “Prince of Lavendale Street,” was named Feature Winner in the 2021 BlueCat Screenplay Competition! Winners receive a cash prize and… Read more

Students

Our MFA candidates have come from places as varied as western India, South Korea, eastern Europe, and northern Idaho. Their backgrounds and experiences are equally diverse, and the pages they produce are likewise unique and uniquely vital. We aren’t seeking writers of any particular aesthetic, but rather we are looking for writers whose work is distinct, urgent, and arresting.

Students are typically enrolled in three courses each fall and spring; there are no summer classes. The 54-hour degree plan includes workshops and “studies” courses in each writer’s genres, flexible supporting coursework, and a thesis in the primary field of concentration.

The Michener Center aims to be an inclusive, inspiring, and invigorating community where writers feel safe and supported to take chances on the page. We are extremely proud that there is no hierarchy here—all students receive equal funding—and we firmly believe that our egalitarian approach fosters a higher level of work that more competitive environments suppress.

Apply

We receive close to 1000 applications annually for twelve seats in our program. Our current acceptance rate is less than one-half of 1% in fiction, and between 2% and 3% for the other genres.

We only accept full-time, in-residence candidates for our three-year program. There is no low-residency or part-time option.

Starting with applications for Fall 2020, the Michener Center will no longer require GRE scores.

History

James Michener was the author of over 40 books, including Texas, Hawaii, and Tales of the South Pacific, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. In his final years, he and his wife, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa, moved to Austin, TX, where they endowed the Texas Center for Writers, a three-year interdisciplinary MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas. The first cohort of Michener Fellows graduated in 1996. After Mr. Michener’s death in 1997, the Center was renamed in his honor.

Faculty

To ensure both continuity and fresh perspectives, the Michener Center faculty is built with fixed and moving parts. Writers from UT’s departments of English, Theatre and Dance, and Radio-Television-Film comprise our resident faculty, and each year we also welcome a diverse roster of visiting faculty. That our faculty members—resident and visiting—are as passionate about their teaching as they are their writing is of the utmost importance. Like our students, our faculty afford the program a wealth of varied experience, an abiding sense of shared enterprise, and deep commitment to the making of literary art. For more on our outstanding faculty in each genre, visit our Faculty page.

MFA in Creative Writing

Who Are We? Fajardo-Anstine Named Endowed Chair MFA Alumni Books MFA alum Stacey Swann’s ‘Olympus, Texas’ reviewed by The New York Times Naomi Shihab Nye elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Upcoming Events

About the Texas State MFA

A top ranked, funded MFA Program in Creative Writing

Faculty

MFA faculty includes Tim O’Brien, Naomi Shihab Nye, Téa Obreht, Laurie Ann Guerrero, and 9 full-time instructors who mentor students in completing book-length Theses. Our student to faculty ratio is 6:1.

Student Accomplishments

Our Creative Writing MFA students come from a competitive international pool of applicants. Alumni have published countless books, won national awards, and secured teaching positions throughout the country.

Extensive Funding

Almost 90% of interested students receive funding in the form of graduate assistantships and scholarships. The cost of living in San Marcos is relatively low, though we’re in the Austin Metro area.

Visiting Writers, Editors, and Agents

Our visiting writers series is one of the most robust in the country. Writers teach a master class, enjoy dinner with students, and host a craft Q&A, in addition to several readings.

Faculty and Alumni News

Raven Leilani wins 2021 Clark Fiction Prize for Luster

Raven Leilani’s novel, Luster, has won the 2021 L.D. and LaVerne Harrell Clark Fiction Prize. The prize of $25,000 is one of the largest literary awards in the United States.

Established at Texas State University in 2016 and administered by the Department of English, the prize is designed to recognize an exceptional, recently-published book-length work of fiction in celebration of the Clarks’ lifelong contributions to, and love for, literature and the arts.

Téa Obreht, Clark Prize final judge, author of The Tiger’s Wife and the Texas State M.F.A. Program’s University Endowed Chair, praised Raven Leilani’s “unique ability to turn a moment, a scene, a sentence on its head, plunging her readers from humor to existential gloaming with incredible skill and speed, so that you don’t always realize you’ve gone from laughing to holding your breath. The effect is disquieting and delightful, the product of her sharp eye and singular voice.”

Cyrus Cassells sits down with Big Ideas TXST Podcast

Cyrus Cassells, acclaimed poet and professor in the Department of English and MFA in Creative Writing program at Texas State, sits down with the Big Ideas TXST podcast for a wide-ranging interview examining his career, family and creative process. Keenly interested in history and world travel, Cassells talks about his hermitage time spent at a Catholic monastery and visit to a Hawaiian leper colony, and how those experiences impacted his writing.

Cassells is the author of six books of poetry: The Mud Actor, Soul Make a Path through Shouting, Beautiful Signor, More Than Peace and Cypresses, The Crossed-Out Swastika, and The Gospel according to Wild Indigo, which was a finalist for the Helen C. Smith Award for the Best Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters and a nominee for the NAACP’s Image Award for Outstanding Literature in Poetry. In 2019, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Among his other honors are a Lannan Literary Award, a William Carlos Williams Award, a Pushcart Prize, two NEA grants, and a Lambda Literary Award.

Naomi Shihab Nye honored with lifetime achievement award from National Book Critics Circle

The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has named Naomi Shihab Nye, a professor of creative writing in the Department of English at Texas State University, recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement.

The Sandrof Award, named after NBCC’s first president, is given to a person or institution — a writer, publisher, critic or editor, among others — who has, over time, made significant contributions to book culture. Previous winners include Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates and Studs Terkel

The Young People’s Poet Laureate designation is intended to celebrate a living writer in recognition of their devotion to writing exceptional poetry for young readers. It comes with a $25,000 prize. This two-year-term laureateship promotes poetry to children and their families, teachers and librarians.