At the Spalding low residency MFA in Writing Program, we help students develop high-quality literary fiction distinguished by complex characterization, psychological depth, stylistic richness, thematic resonance, a distinctive sense of time and place, and an original approach to form and structure. Students are exposed to and encouraged to work with many different forms of fiction: sudden fiction, short story, novella, short story cycle, and the novel. In lectures, workshops, and independent study, we emphasize the development of craft, and we pride ourselves on nurturing each individual talent. There is no unified artistic “school” among the faculty other than our devotion to high literary standards. While our low residency model prizes the mentor/student relationship, our goal is not to shape students in the image of their mentors. Instead, we help students understand what is unique about their voices, instill in them the confidence and discipline necessary to tell their stories, and suggest aesthetic concepts and practical strategies for honing and deepening their narrative vision.
Our fiction alums have won major prizes, including the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the Chaffin Prize for Literature; written New York Times bestselling books; and landed full-time teaching jobs at major universities.
Past visiting fiction writers include Tim O’Brien, Ernest J. Gaines, Michael Ondaatje, Ann Patchett, Lee Smith, and Susan Vreeland.
All Spalding MFA students have the option to spend a residency or an entire semester studying a second area of concentration as a way to enrich and expand their craft and understanding of aesthetics.