Debra Magpie Earling, Director
Liberal Arts 215
It’s a good program and has been for a long time. Starting in 1920 with undergraduate classes in creative writing, University of Montana has offered the MFA for over 50 years and has always ranked among the top programs nationwide.
We’re a relatively small program in a small city in the middle of the Rockies (literally, it’s 200 miles in any direction to get out of the mountains). Students and teachers, alumni and local writers come together to form a community. People form friendships, partnerships, and networks of writerly support. The readings are frequent and well attended, the parties fun.
You could come here to be in the company of other talented and focused writers. Two of our alumni have won the Pulitzer Prize in the past few years. In the last decade, our alumni have published over 400 books, some New York Times bestsellers. Our current faculty has published another 40. Recent visitors include some of the brightest names in writing today. You might come here to teach creative writing or composition, to work on CutBank, the student-run magazine, or Second Wind, the weekly reading series. Thanks to major initiatives by the University and the Truman Capote Foundation, we now offer competitive funding to most of our students and two fellowships each year that do not require teaching.
Really, though, the only reason to come to any MFA program is to learn to write. We can offer long winters, brilliant peers, critical help from a diverse and engaged faculty, and a sense of community that lingers long after the years in the program. We will take you seriously. After that, it’s up to you.