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Creative Writing Program

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Admissions season is upon us!

If you are interested in pursuing an MFA at the University of Minnesota, please see our Admissions page. Most of your questions will be answered in the FAQ; however, feel free to email us at, or contact Holly Vanderhaar, the Program Coordinator.



Announcing Great River Review

We are thrilled to announce that Great River Review has come to the University of Minnesota, and that a graduate seminar in the spring, ENGW 8120, taught by Peter Campion, will allow our students to work on this exciting publication. The longest running literary journal in Minnesota, Great River Review was founded in 1975 at Mankato State and, from 1996 until 2015, was published by the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, where the journal was edited by award-winning poet Robert Hedin. Work published in the journal has garnered several Pushcart Prizes, inclusion in The Best American Sports Writing, and a Minnesota Book Award. In its new home at the University of Minnesota, Great River Review will not only provide editorial experience for graduate students in English and Creative Writing, but also serve, we believe, as the premiere literary journal published in the Twin Cities. As the home of several independent publishing houses—including Graywolf Press, Coffee House Books, and Milkweed Editions—the Twin Cities remains the largest literary publishing hub outside of the New York-Boston corridor. Great River Review endeavors to bring the unique literary life of the Twin Cities to rest of the world, even while bringing the rest of the world to the Twin Cities.




MFAs: The 2015-16 GradGrants list is now available!

Click HERE to download the document.



The Creative Writing Program is delighted to welcome

V. V. Ganeshananthan to our faculty in Fall 2015!


V. V. Ganeshananthan author photo

V.V. Ganeshananthan, a fiction writer and journalist, is the author of LOVE MARRIAGE (Random House, 2008). The novel, which is set in Sri Lanka and some of its diaspora communities, was longlisted for the Orange Prize and named one of Washington Post Book World’s Best of 2008, as well as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick.

Her work has appeared in Granta, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014, Columbia Journalism Review, Ploughshares, The San Francisco Chronicle, Himal Southasian, and The American Prospect, among others. A former vice president of the South Asian Journalists Association, she has also served on the board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. She is presently part of the graduate board of The Harvard Crimson, as well as a contributing editor for Copper Nickel. She is a founding member of Lanka Solidarity, and a member of the board of directors of The American Institute for Lankan Studies.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard awarded her fellowships in 2014. She has also received support from Phillips Exeter Academy, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony.

She graduated from Harvard College, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the M.A. program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she specialized in arts and culture journalism as a Bollinger Fellow.

In 2014, she concluded a five-year stint as the Delbanco Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She joins the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Creative Writing Program in Fall 2015.


Congratulations to our graduating MFAs, class of 2015:

Lalinne Suon Bell (NF)

Malinda Gosvig (NF)

Julia Marley (P)

Elizabeth O'Brien (P)

Carl Peaslee (F)

Katie Rensch (P)

Hunter Sharpless (NF)

Nicky Tiso (P)

Jason Zencka (F)

Spring/Summer Awards Winners

Mike Alberti was awarded the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship.

Su Hwang was awarded the Michael Dennis Browne Poetry Fellowship.

Roy Guzmán and Emily Strasser were awarded GRPP summer research fellowships.

Jordan Thomas received a DOVE Summer Fellowship.

Megan Gette and Alexandra Watson received Marcella DeBourg Fellowships for their projects which "give creative expression to women's lives."

The following MFAs received CLA Summer Travel and Research Fellowships: D. Allen, Jon Atkinson, Kendra Atleework, Dana D'Amico, Veronica Kavass, Janna Knittel, and Anna Rasmussen.

Brooks Teevan was awarded a Gesell Anderson Center summer residency in Red Wing, MN.

Alexandra Watson also received a FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowship to travel to Norway this summer.

Fall Awards Winners

Congratulations to Kendra Atleework who won the Gesell Award in Fiction ("Gloria). Honorable Mention to Carl Peaslee for "Time Safari."

Kendra Atleework also won the Gesell Award in Nonfiction ("Grazing Patterns"). Honorable Mention to Elizabeth O'Brien for "Rough Outline for Essay About Bikes" and Jordan Thomas for "Take This as My Apology."

Trevor Ketner won the Gesell Award in Poetry ("Cardinal Farley's Palace, 1913"). Honorable Mention to Janna Knittel for "Western Fish Toxicology Station, Corvallis, Oregon."

Judges for the Gesell Awards were Caitlin Horrocks for Fiction, Tomas Morin for Poetry, and Bob Cowles for Nonfiction.

Additional congratulations goes out to Su Hwang ("An Elegy") and D. Allen ("Great Plains"), co-winners of the Academy of American Poets' James Wright Prize. Honorable Mention to Janna Knittel for "Kangaroo" and undergraduate Sam Jones for "Distractions."

Check out the Creative Writing Program's Newsletters with news on publications by students and faculty members, current student projects, and more!

2014 Newsletter Cover Spring 2013 MFA Newsletter

Student News

Nicky Tiso's poetry manuscript, "Cata/strophe," was named a 2014 finalist for the 1913 Prize for First Books, judged by Claudia Rankine. Congratulations Nicky!

Kendra Atleework's essay "Of Fish and Farmers" has been published in The Morning News.

Malinda Gosvig has an essay titled "The Fool" that will appear in the Winter issue of The Wayfarer.

Hunter Sharpless has an essay, "The Resurrection of the Author," in Atticus Review. It's about David Foster Wallace, the Book of Ecclesiastes, and the relationship between the writer and the reader.

Kendra Atleework's essay "Grazing Patterns," written with the support of a CLA Travel/Research Fellowship, is forthcoming in The Pinch Journal issue 35.1.

Elizabeth O'Brien has a mini-essay and a poem in the latest issues of New England Review and Carve.

Alumni News

Congratulations to the following alumni recipients of the Minnesota State Arts Board's Artist Initiative Grant: Elizabeth Abbott, Brian Malloy, and Martin Cozza!

Brian Laidlaw (2011) has a vinyl-LP-plus-poetry chapbook titled Amoratorium that is being published this month by Paper Darts Press. On November 20th, there will be a Rain Taxi "Free Verse" event and release celebration at the Walker Art Center. Brian will be performing with Bay Area poet Gillian Conoley. Get more details here!

Edward McPherson (2011) has a story in the latest issue of Gulf Coast titled "Kansas, America, 1889."

A.T. Grant (2012) has a piece, "The Body," that has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014. In addition, his multigenre novel, WAKE, will be published by Civil Coping Mechanisms in early 2015. Take a look at the cover!

Emily Bright (2008) has poetry that has recently appeared in Issue 13 (Science Poetry) of Eye to the Telescope with a poem titled "Discoveries" as well as in Issue 23 of Silver Blade Magazine with a poem titled "All worlds meet at Happy Nails." Additionally, she has poetry forthcoming in Weber-The Contemporary West.

Benjamin Doty (2010) has an essay, "The Cause," online at the Flagler Review.

Faculty News

Peter Campion’s third collection of poems, El Dorado, has recently received praise in in Slate, The Rumpus and PN Review (U.K.) His review of Louise Glück’s Faithful and Virtuous Night appeared in the New York Times Book Review. Translations of his poetry into Chinese have appeared in Enclave. Peter has given recent readings at Johns Hopkins University, the University Maryland, and Old Dominion University.

Charlie Baxter's new book, There's Something I Want You to Do, to be published by Pantheon in February, has received three starred reviews: one from Library Journal; one from Kirkus; and the latest from Publishers Weekly.

His short story "Charity" appears in the 2014 edition of Best American Short Stories, ed. by Jenniger Egan. Read an excerpt over at McSweeney's.

Julie Schumacher has a new review of her novel Dear Committee Members in The Independent.

Kim Todd's op-ed "A new rallying cry for the big game: Save the mascot!" was recently published in Grist.

Maria Fitzgerald was invited by The Best American Poetry blog to be the visiting writer from October 20-25 and has an essay, "Plots and Sisters," posted in five installments on the blog.

Madelon Sprengnether has two op-eds that have appeared in the Star Tribune, Where Poetry Lives: In Iran and Visiting Ground Zero with my Grandchildren.

Ray Gonzalez's new book of poetry, Soul Over Lightning, has just been published by the University of Arizona Press. He will read from it at the Minneapolis Central Library on November 8th at 7PM. The reading is part of BookMatch, a new series co-sponsored by the Hennepin County Library and The Loft. A review of Soul Over Lightning appears in the current issue of Booklist. His work is included in the newly released Best American Poetry 2014 (Scribners) and in Poems of the American South, edited by David Biespiel, the latest anthology in the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series. His artwork is featured in the current issues of Caliban and Map Points. Poems and essays also appear in the new issues of The Drunken Boat, Terrain, Writing Disorder, Tammi, and The Hair Splitter.


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