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The Low-Residency MFA Program

Why pursue an MFA at Augsburg?

Whether you’ve been writing in isolation for years or have only recently begun to think seriously about your craft, you’ll find what you need in the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Augsburg University. Here, we provide the two things that all developing writers must acquire: feedback on your work from practicing artists and the opportunity to forge lifelong connections with others in your field.

What can I study?

At Augsburg, you can choose to study fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting, or some combination thereof. We offer courses in hybrid literature and cross-genre forms for those writers interested in experimenting beyond the bounds of their chosen genre. Students can also enroll in career-enhancing concentrations in teaching and translation, or gain invaluable experience by joining our student-run publishing house, Howling Bird Press.

What are the long-distance semesters like?

In the fall and spring semesters, you will work with a mentor to improve your skills as a creative writer and a critical reader. Each mentor works with no more than five students per semester, which means that every student receives a huge amount of individualized feedback. Students are expected to produce 20-30 pages of new and/or revised work each month, which your mentor will read, critique, and discuss with you at length.

What is the advantage of a low-residency program?

The low-residency model is flexible and tailored to the talents and interests of each individual student. Do you want to focus on crafting tension in your novel? Dialogue in your play? Rhythm in your poetry? Every semester, your mentor will work with you to create a reading list that is designed specifically for you. In addition to your individualized readings, each cohort will also analyze and discuss a set of shared texts, so that you have the opportunity to engage with and learn from your peers.

Who will I work with?

Members of the core teaching faculty have won the Minnesota Book Award, been nominated for an Oscar, had work featured in the New York Times Book Review and on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” and seen their writing produced for HBO, adapted for PBS, and optioned for the big screen. Since launching in 2013, our program has enjoyed visits from such celebrated writers as Pam Houston, Ben Percy, Ed Bok Lee, Patricia Smith, Alex Lemon, Harrison Rivers, Kate Bernheimer, Michael Starrbury, and Remy Auberjonois and Kate Nowlin, among others.

How often do I need to come to campus?

During the fall and spring semesters, you can live and write from anywhere in the world (the only requirement is that you have internet access!) but for ten days in the summer you will join your peers and mentors on Augsburg’s campus for a literary whirlwind of daily workshops, panel discussions, craft talks, and readings. It is an energizing, inspiring holiday from your everyday life, a time when you have but one obligation: to immerse yourself in the life of a writer.

What do the Twin Cities have to offer?

Home to a multitude of small presses, independent bookstores, literary magazines, and theater companies, Minneapolis/St. Paul boasts a vibrant artistic scene and is an ideal location for aspiring writers to spend the summer residency. Local writers come to share their work, literary organizations send representatives to speak on panels, and during free time students explore everything the Twin Cities have to offer: concerts, performances, restaurants, baseball games, water sports, and more!

To learn more about our program, please browse this website, fill out our information form, or give us a call.