Julie’s MFA Program in Books (Favorites in Parentheses)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

  I don’t have an MFA. I have a masters….in education administration. Occasionally, I will wonder if I shouldn’t do some kind of low-residency program, just to see what-all I don’t know. But that sounds depressing, not to mention time-consuming. How many Raymond Carver short stories can a person read in one lifetime? Probably a lot.   As far as I know, they don’t offer MFA degrees in upmarket women’s…

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An Eloquent Defense of Writing Degrees (Not Written By Kimmery)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

This week’s topic is “MFA and Writing Classes” and I’ve got precious little to say here. It’s probably glaringly apparent I don’t have an MFA or a graduate degree in writing. I’ve taken no writing classes either, although I have signed up for a few sessions at various conferences. When it comes to writing, I’m an autodidact. I’m also fond of doing things the hard way: I don’t outline, pre-plot,…

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How a Film Nerd became an Author

Friday, September 16, 2016

This past March I attended the AWP Conference in LA. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a four day conference with dozens of workshops, panels, readings and whole heap of networking with fellow writers, teachers, and publishing industry savants. It’s one of the largest literary conferences in America (FYI, I’ll be speaking at two panels next year in Washington D.C). As I made my way through a sea of…

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MFA, Schm-MFA…and Other Reasons Why I’m the Unlikeliest of Authors

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I’ve always been a reader. My first word was “book,” and some of my most treasured childhood memories are from the days I spent cozied up with Roald Dahl stories. By the time I was thirteen, I discovered Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, gateway authors into the science fiction world. My geekiness soared tenfold. Perhaps those authors give the impression I was a sophisticated child reader; my big sister…

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I Did It My Way or The Importance of the Liberal Arts

Monday, September 12, 2016

Last week I was reading an article in the Washington Post about how my generation has been churning out helicopter parents who don’t want their kids to study literature or liberal arts. Curious, I inquired how many were history majors. Of the 24 honors students in the seminar, there were none. English? Philosophy? Fine arts? Only one. How was this possible? I asked. Almost in unison, half a dozen replied: “Our parents…

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Confessions of an MFA Dropout…Who Eventually Finished

Friday, September 18, 2015

I have been loving the MFA conversation this week. The fact that I get to weigh in last feels almost like taking a test where I’ve been able to look over everyone else’s shoulder… In my 20s, I began a low-residency MFA program–which shall remain nameless–in New England. It had an all-white faculty, and a focus on literary fiction. Although I was writing literary fiction at the time, it was…

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My piecemeal writing education…

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My honors English teacher turned me into a lifetime reader. She talked about characters as if they were real, as if to read about them was to be included in their adventures. She introduced me to To Kill a Mockingbird and laughed with me about passing the damn ham. When she asked why I didn’t care for The Catcher in the Rye, I told her Holden Caulfield was a whiner; she grinned….

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Learning to Write: an Alarm, a Gun in the First Act, and an MFA

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

To all those also celebrating Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), I wish you l’shanah tova tikatevu! My writing education began in Mrs. Dubois’s 4th grade language arts class, when she gently informed me that stories were stronger when they didn’t end with “And then the alarm went off and I realized it was all a dream.” I had other wonderful teachers who taught me different literary forms and opened…

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The New Debs: Please Welcome the Class of 2016!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Please return next Saturday for the Deb class of 2016’s first guest, Carolina De Robertis — author of THE GODS OF TANGO — and a giveaway! We’re excited to announce the new blog schedule as of Monday, September 7th. We know the 2016 class will continue the Deb traditions in fine form, and we look forward to following their journeys over the next year! So please join the fabulous 2016 Deb Class next…

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News Flash: Vacations, Revisions & a Writers Retreat!

Congratulations to Annie Aizon, winner of WHEN REASON BREAKS by guest author Cindy Rodriguez! Check back next Sunday for this week’s winner of LITTLE BLACK LIES by guest author Sandra Block …     From the 2015 Debs: Colleen Oakley is just thrilled she survived winter break — a week at her home with her 4 and 2-year-old. Otherwise, she’s been busy attending book clubs for BEFORE I GO, working on book 2,…

Sunday, February 22, 2015
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