Bluegrass Writes Studio :: NewPages Guide to Creative Writing Programs

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Bluegrass Writers Studio

Eastern Kentucky University

Contact Information:

521 Lancaster Ave, Case Annex 467

Dept of English, Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY  40475


Program director: Derek Nikitas

Phone: (859) 622-3091


Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA, BA

Genres: literary fiction, popular fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction

Type of program: low-residency

Length of program: 2 years

Enrollment: 45

Total credits required: 48

Application deadlines: rolling admissions until one month before Fall, Spring, or Summer Semesters

Assistantships: yes (see website)

Core faculty: Derek Nikitas, Young Smith, Nancy Jensen, Julie Hensley, R. Dean Johnson

Visiting faculty: Robert Olmstead, Tayari Jones, Adam Levin, Denise Duhamel, Amanda Eyre Ward, Lee Durkee, Charles Rafferty

Publishing/editing courses: no

Literary magazine: Jelly Bucket

Recent visiting writers: Joyce Carol Oates, Justin Cronin, Kim Edwards, Megan Abbott, Julianna Baggott, Frank X Walker

Program description: The mission of the Bluegrass Writers Studio is simple: to help our participants fulfill the dream of becoming better writers—with more focus, speed, and support than self-study can typically provide. Through our courses and residencies, we also offer rare opportunities to connect with accomplished writers, agents, and editors.

We provide an apprenticeship in craft and form, while our residency and online workshops provide focused feedback on your fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. Your progress through the program includes opportunities to study overseas in Lisbon, Portugal and culminates in a guided thesis project.

How are we unique?

  • Real-time online workshops, where peer feedback and a writing community supplement your close student/mentor relationships with our faculty.
  • Craft courses to hone your technique, plus opportunities to cross genre and experiment with multiple genres—or, if you prefer, to stay focused on one genre.
  • Dynamic Winter Residencies in Lexington, Kentucky and Summer Residencies in Lisbon, Portugal, rare chances to interact with rich cultures and accomplished writers, editor and agents.
  • A dedicated core faculty of five instructors who will remain your mentors throughout the program, along with an exciting roster of guests and faculty.
  • An atmosphere friendly to literary fiction and popular/genre fiction. We strive for excellence in creative writing of all types, rejecting tired formulas and stale language, embracing originality and depth, no matter the genre.
  • Editing opportunities with our nationally recognized literary magazine, Jelly Bucket.
  • Finally, we’re one of the most affordable MFA programs in the country!