This extremely well-funded (no tuition required), two-year creative writing M.F.A. program, whose home is the Jackson Center for Creative Writing, emphasizes an individualized approach. To the 20-24 students enrolled in the program, books are essential nourishment, and reading them is inextricable from writing them.
The students, like the professors, are unusually committed to a diversity of voices and literatures, contemporary and across the ages. They work successfully in and across every genre, including poetry, short fiction, novels, and creative nonfiction.
Students and professors at Hollins enjoy an intimate, supportive community with amazing guest readers and opportunities for editorial experience, introducing and giving public readings, writing-based service work in the community, travel and research funding, and time to read and write. In addition, our beautiful location in Roanoke, Virginia offers an excellent setting to recharge, with the city’s small-scale, bustling culture, where it’s easy to explore the wildness of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains right from your door.
Creative Writing M.F.A.
This two-year creative writing M.F.A. program, whose home is the Jackson Center for Creative Writing, emphasizes an individualized approach. The 24 students enrolled in the program have a strong interest in and aptitude for writing and literary study. They work successfully in every genre, including poetry, short fiction, novels, and creative nonfiction.
A National Reputation
The Hollins creative writing M.F.A. program has one of the highest publishing records of any graduate school in the country. Among the many outstanding writers who have graduated from the creative writing program are:
- Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Dillard, Henry Taylor, and Natasha Trethewey
- Novelists and story writers Madison Smartt Bell, Kiran Desai, Tony D’Souza, David Huddle, Adam Ross, and Jill McCorkle
- Poets and essayists Adrian Blevins, Jenny Boully, Scott Cairns, Wyn Cooper, Kevin Prufer, and Mary Ruefle
- Novelists and memoirists Richard McCann and Karen Salyer McElmurray
- Photographer Sally Mann
- Filmmaker George Butler
- Non-fiction author Beth Macy
Our professors don’t just teach — they create. They’re accomplished writers in their own fields — novelists, poets, essayists, and so much more. If we teach you anything, it’s to be you. Learning from professionals who have been there helps you grow that much more.
“We do not really teach creative writing. We do not produce writers who write a certain way. We do provide the guidance of professionals, and we do everything we can to make the program what the students here need.”
– R.H.W. Dillard, professor of English
The Writer’s Life
On a site written and maintained by our graduate students, you can get an insiders’ look at the writing life of our students and graduates, including a helpful and detailed FAQ page.
The Roanoker magazine says: “The Roanoke Valley has a history of being writer-friendly, primarily because of the presence of Hollins University, which has been called ‘Pulitzer U.’ Annie Dillard, Henry Taylor, and most recently, U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey have won the U.S.’s top writing prize.”
Meet our 2018 Louis D. Rubin Jr. WRiter-in-Residence
Each spring, we host a distinguished writer-in-residence who works with graduate and selected undergraduate students. Louis D. Rubin Jr. founded Hollins’ renowned creative writing program.
Janisse Ray is our 2018 Writer-in-Residence. A writer, naturalist, and activist, she is the author of six books including Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a New York Times Notable Book that was as chosen as the Book All Georgians Should Read; Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home; Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land; Drifting into Darien, a personal and natural history of the Altamaha River; The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food, winner of the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature Award; and a volume of poetry, A House of Branches. Ray lectures widely on nature, community, agriculture, wildness, sustainability, and the politics of wholeness.