Spalding’s Approach to Low Residency

Low-residency is inherently more flexible than traditional, campus-based writing programs. Only low-residency can offer both the lively camaraderie of a peer group and intense one-on-one mentoring with expert faculty, allowing you to write and receive feedback on far more pages than you would in a traditional program.

Spalding residencies instruct and inspire through faculty-led workshops, lectures, readings, book-in-common discussions and cultural events. Friendships form over conversation. Collaborations continue in the hotel lounge. Writing becomes a less solitary pursuit.

Spring and fall residencies begin in late May and mid-November, respectively. They take place in Louisville, where students stay at the historic, four-star Brown Hotel, engage in our city’s thriving downtown arts scene, and study on our green and growing campus.

During optional summer residencies abroad, we take our rich curriculum overseas to a different locale each July, adding an element of global cultural and literary exploration to our curriculum.

Spring and summer residencies are timed to be convenient for students who teach. Need to sit out a semester? That’s not a problem. Talk with us—we’ll help you work out a plan that fits your life.

Read more about what to expect during your first residency.

The Primary Focus: Your Concentration

At residency, you’ll participate in a faculty-led workshop and attend faculty lectures in your area of concentration, whether creative or professional. You’ll read books or scripts in your area and regularly hear their authors discuss the path to publication or production.

Cross-genre Exploration

Cross-genre reading and exercises will make you a better writer. Maybe you never intend to write poetry—you’ll still discover how to add texture to your work through the use of compressed language. Even if you’re not a screenwriter, the study of five-act structure can strengthen your own work.

If you plan to teach, whether in or outside of the academy, you’ll need to be comfortable with the language and special considerations of many genres, not just your own. Professional enrichment lectures will expand your skill set and knowledge in a range of specialties, from grant writing to copywriting and far beyond.

Plenary lectures at each residency examine universal questions of subject, structure, and style. At each residency you’ll get to know another genre in a rotating series as you write outside your area in a brief cross-genre exercise, read work by a distinguished visiting writer, hear the writer speak, and chat with them during a private Q&A. Recent Distinguished Visiting Writers include Kwame Alexander, Natasha Trethewey, Ann Patchett, Doug Wright, John Patrick Shanley, Barry Lopez, and Jacqueline Woodson.

All MFA students have the option simply to hop over to a different genre one residency and workshop in a new area. The things you learn there will give you a new perspective and inform your writing for years to come.

Whatever your writing goals, we’re committed to preparing you with the knowledge and experience you’ll need in your creative and professional writing life and when you teach.

Special Seminars

Beyond single-genre workshops in creative writing and professional writing and editing, we offer specialized options to students in the MFA program and MAW program. Our teaching seminar lets you gain skills you’ll use when teaching undergraduate creative writing courses. Our book-length manuscript workshop offers faculty and peer critique on an entire novel, story collection, memoir, book of essays, or full-length poetry collection.

We also offer special-topic workshops such as musical theatre, adaptation, and place-based writing.

Residency Dates

Summer 2022: July 18-26, in Paris

Fall 2022: Nov 12-19, in Louisville

Spring 2023: May 27 – June 3, in Louisville