Across the continent, Boston University’s program director, Leslie Epstein, speaks of a particular group that has cemented BU’s reputation. One shorter-term measure might be the annual Best New American Voices anthology, which publishes student work from graduate writing programs as well as from a host of non-degree-granting conferences and fellowships.
It includes Ha Jin, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Peter Ho Davies, all of whom were quickly and resoundingly acclaimed after graduation. Each program nominates two stories a year, and each entry is read blind by the final editor. program at Columbia; her win was duly celebrated by proud announcements from both programs. In the simplest matrix for judging creative-writing programs, the first question is: Which well-known authors attended?
“And those are only the ones I happen to have seen,” Brothers says. The students at Iowa, like the thousands of others enrolled in the growing number of graduate writing programs nationally, are infected with the fever of the emerging artist, and the desire to succeed against the sobering odds of the publishing landscape.
The Writers’ Workshop is the best-known, most-established writing program in the country, and the books in that pantheon are both humbling and inspiring to the students there. Trying to assess graduate writing programs is like rating the top-10 party schools: You can count how many bottles go in, and how many empties go out, but you can’t prove the party was fun.
Also see: The Best of the Best A guide to graduate programs in creative writing.
Interviews: "Writers in Training" (July 16, 2007) Edward J. We (Oath) and our partners need your consent to access your device, set cookies, and use your data, including your location, to understand your interests, provide relevant ads and measure their effectiveness.Oath will also provide relevant ads to you on our partners' products.In the series, published by Harcourt, the submissions of Iowa students have been selected more times than those from any other degree program, though both Virginia and Florida State have consistently had strong showings. “Program hoppers,” who might study briefly at two or more programs, or even get multiple M. The other question must be: Which well-known authors teach there?(Oddly, Columbia, always considered a top program, has placed none.) A seemingly accelerating trend is that of students graduating from two or more programs. This particular scorecard celebrates the kind of fame that attends a writer who has achieved that rarest of feats: name recognition derived from writing literary fiction. Doctorow and the poets Philip Levine and Sharon Olds. “You’ll find a lot of people who run programs desperately trying to eliminate the attitude that nothing is really possible in these classes.” At Iowa, some of the faculty members work in large offices where their classes and workshops also meet, like one-room schoolhouses.The Workshop’s brand-new and clean-lined Glenn Schaeffer Library adjoins the house in the rear, as a fashionable offspring might flank a more elegantly dressed parent.In the library’s Frank Conroy Reading Room, which overlooks the gray waters of the Iowa River, are tall, glassed bookcases containing some 3,000 volumes published by graduates of the Workshop since it began, in 1936.“Most of us are still walking around amazed we got in,” says Drew Keenan, a 34-year-old former software engineer from San Francisco who gave that life up to spend the two years in Iowa’s M. Determining which writing programs are best is an alchemy of hearsay, tenuous connectors, certain measurable facts, and one’s own predilections about the art of writing.The number of graduate creative-writing programs has risen from about 50 three decades ago to perhaps 300 now.Over the past few decades, these programs have produced some of America's best-known and best-loved authors, and continue to train the next generation of American literary figures.While every writer has his or her own favorite when it comes to these prestigious writers' workshops, here are a few we think are the biggest and the best in the U.