MFA students will help develop Hood's brand new online literary magazine, Pergola, launching in spring 2025 and featuring original work!
Hood College’s low-residency MFA in creative writing immerses students in the rhythms of the writing life, while providing them with a solid foundation in literary craft, criticism and publishing.
Ideal for working professionals and lifelong learners who are serious about their work, the MFA in creative writing appeals to students from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, all of whom share a passion for literature and a desire to write and publish their own novels, stories and poems. Central to our philosophy is the idea of balance—between writing and the demands of everyday life, between periods of solitude and social interaction—as well as the presence of a diverse and cohesive literary community. By the end of the program, students will have produced a book-length manuscript of fiction or poetry and will be beginning to submit and publish their work.
A 48-credit program in fiction or poetry, the low-residency MFA in creative writing involves four remote mentorship semesters and three on-campus summer residencies. Over the course of the two-year program, students will engage in one-on-one consultations with faculty mentors; participate in intensive writing workshops; attend lectures, panels and readings; begin submitting their work for publication; develop and present a craft lecture; complete a book-length creative project; and give a reading from their work. In addition to summer residences on the beautiful Hood College campus in Frederick, Maryland, students also have the option of attending an international summer residency through the Prague Summer Program for Writers, the nation’s oldest study-abroad program for creative writers in the English language.
The low-residency MFA in creative writing at Hood College will begin accepting applicants in fall 2023 for the inaugural summer 2024 residency (June 13-23). For more information, please contact program director Elizabeth Knapp or email the graduate school admission staff.
Prospective Applicants must complete the following for consideration into the program:
The course listing for the program is as follows:
|CW 500A: First Residency
|CW 500B: Second Residency
|CW 500C: Third Residency
|CW 501F or CW 501P: Mentorship Semester I
|CW 502F or CW 502P: Mentorship Semester II
|CW 503F or CW 503P: Mentorship Semester III
|CW 504F or CW 504P: Mentorship Semester IV
|CW 505: Literary Publishing
|CW 506: Research Project
|CW 507: Creative Writing Thesis
|CW 508: Oral Presentation
|Total Program Credits
Aaron Angello is an assistant professor of English at Hood College, where he directs the theatre program and teaches courses in creative writing, modern and contemporary poetry, film and media, and drama. He is also creative director of the Endangered Species (theatre) Project and founder of the Frederick Shakespeare Festival. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals, and he is the editor of The Synergistic Classroom: Interdisciplinary Teaching in the Small College Setting. His genre-defying book The Fact of Memory: 114 Ruminations and Fabrications was published in 2022 by Rose Metal Press.
Amy Gottfried is a professor of English at Hood College and advises the undergraduate literary magazine, Wisteria. She teaches courses in environmental writing, advanced fiction, and American literature, and has twice earned Hood’s Excellence in Teaching award. Her short fiction has appeared in Passager, Glimmer Train, Adirondack Review, Blunderbuss and Brain, Teen. Awards include Blunderbuss’s 2015 Best Stories and Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open, Family Matters, and Short Short Fiction contests. She is currently working on her third novel and a short story collection.
Elizabeth Knapp is an associate professor of English at Hood College and directs the low-residency MFA in creative writing. She is the author of Requiem with an Amulet in Its Beak (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 2019), winner of the 2019 Jean Feldman Prize, and The Spite House (C&R Press, 2011), winner of 2010 De Novo Poetry Prize. Her other honors include the 2022 International Poetry Prize from Atlanta Review, the 2018 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and an individual artist award from the Maryland State Arts Council.
Sandra Beasley is the author of four poetry collections: Made to Explode; Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox (winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize, judged by Joy Harjo); and Theories of Falling (winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize, judged by Marie Howe). Honors for her work include a 2015 NEA Literature Fellowship, the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize, the John Montague International Poetry Fellowship and six DCCAH Artist Fellowships. She is also the author of the memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, and the editor of Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Beasley is currently the Nora Roberts Writer-in-Residence at Hood College. She lives in Washington, D.C.
celeste doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields and editor of the poetry anthology Not Without Our Laughter. Her award-winning chapbook, American Herstory, contains ekphrastic poems that have been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Brooklyn Museum. doaks is a 2022 Yaddo fellow and has taught for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in Ms. Magazine, The Millions, Huffington Post, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, The Hopkins Review and others.
Robert Eversz is the author of six novels that have been translated into 15 languages. His books have been named to best of year lists at The Washington Post, Oslo Aftenposten, Manchester Guardian, BookPage, L.A. Weekly and January Magazine. A graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Robert teaches advanced fiction workshops at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a member of the permanent faculty of the Prague Summer Program, which he helped found.
James Allen Hall is the author of two books of poems and a book of lyric essays. Their most recent book is Romantic Comedy, winner of the Levis Prize selected by Diane Seuss and published by Four Way Books. Their previous book of poems is Now You’re the Enemy (U of Arkansas Press, 2008). They are also the author of a book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well. They’ve won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts. They direct the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College in Chestertown, MD.
Donna Hemans is the author of three novels, River Woman, Tea by the Sea and The House of Plain Truth (forthcoming in February 2024). Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Slice, Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, The Rumpus and Crab Orchard Review, among others. She received her undergraduate degree in English and media studies from Fordham University and an MFA from American University. She lives in Maryland and is also the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers based in Washington, D.C.
Steven Leyva’s poems have appeared in Smartish Pace, Scalawag, Nashville Review, jubilat, The Hopkins Review, Prairie Schooner and Best American Poetry 2020. He is a Cave Canem fellow and author of the chapbook Low Parish and author of The Understudy’s Handbook, which won the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize from Washington Writers Publishing House. He holds an MFA from the University of Baltimore, where he is an associate professor in the Klein Family School of Communications Design.
Cleyvis Natera is the author of the debut novel Neruda on the Park. Her fiction, essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, URSA Fiction, Alien Nation: 36 True Tales of Immigration, The Brooklyn Rail, TIME, The Rumpus, Gagosian Quarterly, The Washington Post, The Kenyon Review, Aster(ix) and Kweli Journal, among other publications.
Elly Williams is a senior faculty member of the M.A. in writing at Johns Hopkins University. Her essays, interviews and short stories have appeared in local and national journals, including Confessions, Fact or Fiction?, The Missouri Review, Five Points and CEA Forum. Her novel, Crazy Think, was released as a Penguin Classic in the U.K. in 1997 and under the title This Never Happened in 1998 by Random House.
The cornerstone of the low-residency MFA in creative writing is the intensive residency experience. For 10 days in June, students in the program attend residencies on the Hood College campus, during which they participate in rigorous writing workshops and attend lectures, panels and readings by permanent and guest faculty and graduating students. Residencies are designed to immerse students in activities and subjects central to the writing life and to foster a sense of community and fellowship with other writers; therefore, students are strongly encouraged to stay on campus in one of our newly renovated dorms for the duration of each residency. Visits to Frederick’s thriving historic Downtown are part of the residency; restaurants, shops, theatre, bars, art galleries, concerts and a wonderful independent bookstore are all a 10-minute walk from campus. Room and board are included in the residency fees.
At the core of the residency is the writing workshop, in which developing writers share their work for critique and provide commentary on the work of other members. Led by an accomplished writer in each genre, workshops meet daily in the mornings, and students are guaranteed an expert and detailed review of their work.
In the afternoons, faculty and graduating students present lectures and panels on a range of topics within literary history, theory and practice, while evenings are devoted to literary readings. At the end of the residency period, students return to their individual writing lives reenergized and recommitted to the practice of writing. They then commence a period of concentrated reading and writing in the semester between residencies under the close guidance of a faculty mentor.
For the second residency, students may elect to attend the Prague Summer Program for Writers, the nation’s oldest study-abroad program for creative writers in the English language. Approximately 2,000 established and aspiring writers have attended the Prague Summer Program since its inception in 1993. Included among the program’s outstanding permanent faculty are two MacArthur Fellows and a National Book Award winner in fiction. Fees for the three-week program are equal to those for a 10-day on-campus residency. Students are responsible for their own airfare and meals, but breakfast is provided with program housing. Two fully-funded teaching assistantships are available for each residency, one in fiction and one in poetry. Assistantships are competitive.
Along with the residency experience, literary mentorship is a hallmark of the low-residency MFA in creative writing. The mentorship semester is designed to help students develop a close working relationship with an experienced teacher and published author who can direct them in all matters of literary craft, criticism and publishing. As immersive experiences, the mentorship semesters also provide students with a solid foundation in literary history, theory and practice, and students are expected to read broadly and deeply both within their genre and across genres.
Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students produce original creative work while simultaneously developing their own course of study within the areas of literary history, theory, and practice. At the beginning of each semester, students confer with their faculty mentor to create a reading list, along with a submission schedule for critical essays and original work. Over the course of each semester, students submit to their faculty mentor packets of original fiction or poetry and critical essays. The faculty mentor then provides extensive feedback, including suggestions for revision and further reading. Participation in the residencies is required for enrollment in the mentorship semesters.
The low-residency model for an MFA in creative writing offers several advantages compared to traditional full-residency programs, including:
With an MFA in creative writing, you can pursue a variety of career paths related to writing, literature and communication, including:
Many MFA graduates combine multiple roles or pursue a mix of freelance and traditional employment opportunities to build a diverse career in the writing field.
Established in 1990 by Barbara Mertz, the scholarship is awarded annually to a student from an underrepresented background based on writing ability. Recipients for this scholarship will be identified and nominated by the MFA faculty.
Barbara Mertz, who used the pen name Elizabeth Peters, wrote more than 60 novels. Primarily known for her work in the mystery genre, Mertz won various awards, and her novels have been translated into dozens of languages. Mertz was also a long-time resident of Frederick, Maryland.
Established in 2010 by the Nora Roberts Foundation, the scholarship will be awarded annually to a creative write MFA student, with priority given to those with financial need and academic merit.
Nora Roberts, a Maryland native, is the bestselling author of more than 225 novels. She is primarily known for her work in the romance genre and was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame.
For more information, please contact Program Director Elizabeth Knapp.
MFA students will help develop Hood's brand new online literary magazine, Pergola, launching in spring 2025 and featuring original work!
Hood College is excited to launch the low-residency MFA in creative writing beginning June 2024, a 48-credit program in fiction or poetry that includes four remote mentorship semesters and three 10-day summer residencies.
Award-winning author Sandra Beasley to serve as Nora Roberts Writer-in-Residence and guest faculty for new creative writing MFA.
Hood’s creative writing MFA program welcomes celeste doaks as guest writer for June 2024 residency.