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We spoke to Eliza Hornig, Administrator of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Brooklyn College.Take a look at what they have to offer MFA students and pay particular attention to Ms. She offers some valuable insight for writers in any program.Take advantage of the social resources that your MFA program provides.
Our students receive extensive feedback from faculty members inside and outside of class; it is not unusual for a faculty member to critique a new draft of a student’s work months or even years after a workshop has ended.
Our students have the unusual opportunity to take a novel workshop, if they wish.
They are grounded in the essentials of craft with a first-semester craft course, which equips them to wrangle with difficult questions of voice, pacing, point of view, language, dialogue, uses of time, child narration, etc., over the course of the program.
During their second year, students participate in one-on-one revisions and thesis tutorials, which offer them the chance to work closely with faculty members, practiced writers from around the city, and editors from major literary journals and publishing houses.
In this sense, I think that Brooklyn College students have the best of both worlds—they have access to the dynamism and opportunity of the city’s literary offerings, and also to the quiet, immersive, calm atmosphere provided by our campus.
I know lots of Brooklyn MFAs and I think whether or not Brooklyn College is "good" just depends on what kind of work you ultimately want to create.
Would you describe Brooklyn’s MFA in fiction as highly literary or broader in focus?
Although our students have gone on to write in a variety of genres—our alums have published literary novels and short story collections, young adult novels, children’s novels, mysteries, etc.—our program’s primary focus is on the creation of literary fiction.
(Our playwriting students are especially active in the Brooklyn/Manhattan scene—the directors of the playwriting program take special care to help students gain access to the New York theater world, and to help them find venues for producing their own plays.) Many of our students, however, prefer to focus on their own writing during the program, and they only dip into the literary scene of Brooklyn and Manhattan on occasion.
Our campus, located at the end of the 2 and 5 trains, provides a respite from the bustling city; students have the quiet and space to pursue their own work here, and it is quite possible for them to opt out of the literary scene if they wish.