U.Va.: Where great writers are made
The Atlantic magazine ranks U.Va.’s graduate creative writing program among the nation's best.
The Atlantic magazine has ranked U.Va.’s creative writing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program among the best in the nation.
The article, titled “Where Great Writers Are Made,” used the following criteria to evaluate graduate creative writing programs: alumni, faculty, selectivity and funding. “I think what puts us in the top 10 is that we are very small, so the student-faculty contact is wildly wonderful,” said Sydney H. Blair, U.Va. associate professor of English and the creative writing program’s director. “That, and the faculty, puts us in the top tier.”
Among the U.Va. program’s faculty: novelist Ann Beattie, former National Book Award winner John Casey, former Pulitzer Prize winner and past U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, short story writer and playwright Deborah Eisenberg, poet Gregory Orr, fiction writer Christopher Tilghman, and former Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Charles Wright.
Another plus: U.Va.’s notable alumni. In 2004, two alumni of the creative writing program won Pulitzer Prizes. Edward P. Jones earned the fiction prize for his novel, “The Known World,” and Franz Wright took the poetry prize for his book, “Walking to Martha’s Vineyard.”
U.Va.’s programs is also highly selective. While the program receives more than 500 applicants each year, it accepts just five fiction writers and five poets.
The top 10 graduate creative writing programs, in alphabetical order: Boston University, University of California at Irvine, Cornell University, Florida State University, University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, University of Michigan, New York University, University of Texas’ Michener Center and University of Virginia.
The September issue of our online newsletter, A&S Online, is devoted entirely to writing, with stories about alumni authors, a prize-winning poet and a faculty writer and excerpts from their literary work.