Creative Writing at WVU: Wild, Wonderful Writing

Special Events and Programs for MFA Students

There is a wide variety of special events and programs that allow MFA students to get involved in the West Virginia University literary community.

Creative Readings

Each year West Virginia University’s Department of English hosts free public readings featuring prominent writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Past readers include T. J. Anderson, Patricia Elam, Tayari Jones, and Torrance Haynes. Listen to podcasts of past readers such as Leslie Marmon Silko and Michael Martone.


Readings and Visiting Writers

Virginia Butts Sturm Writer-in-Residence Workshop

Each fall graduate and undergraduate creative writing students have the unique opportunity to study with a nationally renowned visiting writer. Interested students apply with a writing sample and twelve students are selected to take part in a week of workshops and individual conferences. Past visiting writers include JoAnn Beard, Lynn Emanuel, Brenda Miller, and David St. John. The 2016 Virginia Butts Sturm Writer-in-Residence will be Valerie Boyd. Students who complete the workshop will receive one hour of English credit.

Bolton Creative Writing Workshops

Bennett 7

Bolton Professor of Teaching and Mentoring Mary Ann Samyn coordinates a series of creative writing workshops that take place in WVU residence halls. Graduate students have the opportunity to plan special classes and visit the dorms to offer fun, casual, evening writing workshops on topics that range from How to Write a Good (and/or Funny, and/or Anti-) Love Poem, Seriously Short-Form Memoir: Creative Writing for Facebook and MySpace, and Unleashing the Vampire: Harnessing the Power of the Literary Gothic. Read more about the Bolton workshop here.

Capstone Creative Writing Seminar Mentor

Graduate students can gain teaching experience and their creative writing pedagogy credit by serving as mentors for the Capstone Creative Writing Seminar (Engl 418). Seminar students are English majors who are pursuing the concentration in creative writing; they develop a portfolio of their creative writing under faculty guidance and each student works individually with a graduate creative writing student mentor. In addition to mentoring, many MFA students also guest lecture on craft at one point in the semester. Follow the link for recent examples of craft lectures.

COW (Council of Writers)

The graduate students’ writers organization coordinates a popular reading series so MFA students can share their work with the local literary community. Each semester a broadside that features an MFA student poet, a fiction writer, and a nonfiction writer.

West Virginia Writers Workshop

The annual West Virginia Writers Workshop features a faculty of nationally recognized writers and attracts emerging writers across the region to four days of workshops, craft talks, readings, individual conferences, and lively conversation about writing. Learn More