University of Southern Maine MFA :: NewPages Guide to Creative Writing Programs

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University of Southern Maine

Stonecoast MFA Program

Contact Information:

98 Bedford Street

Portland, ME 04103


Program director: Justin Tussing (Interim)

Program contact: Matt Jones

Phone: (207) 780-4423


Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA

Type of program: low-residency

Genres: Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Popular Fiction

Enrollment: 95

Application deadlines: September 1st/February 1st

Scholarships: yes (see website)

Core faculty: Rick Bass, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Sarah Braunstein, Jaed Muncharoen Coffin, Susan Conley, David Anthony Durham, Martín Espada, Aaron Hamburger, Elizabeth Hand, Nancy Holder, Barbara Hurd, James Patrick Kelly, David Mura, Elizabeth Searle, Suzanne Strempek-Shea

Publishing/editing courses: yes (see website)

Literary magazine: Stonecoast Review

Reading series: Stonecoast Reading Series

Recent visiting writers: Nicholson Baker, Robert Finch, Joy Harjo, Tayari Jones, Maxine Kumin, Jeff Vandermeer

Program description: The University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing combines the energy of a forward-thinking low-residency program with the solid educational excellence of the very best creative writing programs in the nation. Stonecoast is one of the nation’s leading low-residency M.F.A. programs, ranked in the top ten low-residency programs by Poets and Writers since 2010, and is known for providing a superb, open-minded, and progressive education in the art of writing.

Stonecoast claims an illustrious history (extending to the founding of the Stonecoast Writers Workshop over 30 years ago), a highly distinguished faculty, a tradition of academic excellence, a sublime location (our coastal Stone House mansion, as well as the Stonecoast in Ireland residency option), and a collection of nationally known award-winning alumni in all genres.

Stonecoast is a two-year program with emphases in creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or popular fiction, as well as elective work in cross-genre, scriptwriting, translation, performance, and writing nature. The low-residency format offers students the advantage of maintaining their present occupations and living arrangements while participating in a full-time graduate program. Students may enter the program twice a year, matriculating in summer or winter. Each semester begins and ends with an intensive ten-day residency including readings, social events, and workshops and classes / presentations.

But Stonecoast also offers something else. The “Stonecoast Difference” lies in the integrity, originality, and passion of our vision: commitment to the whole writer, through a flexible, rigorous, student-centered curriculum sustained within a diverse and supportive creative community.