Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Reviews! Creative Writing MFA (WaW)

You already know my opinion on writing and reading. Writers have to be readers. As such, I've started reviewing books on thebookbook.blogspot.com.

Click here to see my first review.

It's searchable, so if you're looking for something to read, venture on over and have a gander.

Also, I just bought a copy of The Creative Writing Handbook by Tom Kealey. I was very surprised it got to Japan so fast. Way to go Amazon!

I read it pretty much cover to cover last night.

I'll give you the downsides first: It barely skims over low-residency programs and there is little information for non-US students, or international programs. If those things are not an issue for you then it's a great read!

Despite the name, Kealey also offers information on MA programs, as well as a spattering of info about PhDs. He explains the difference between the MA and the MFA, and how you should go about deciding which one is for you. He breaks down the considerations you should make when choosing your school and when deciding which offer to accept.

Kealey also gives us a step-by-step walkthrough of the application process, including interviews with application committee members, who you should have as your reccommenders and what you should include in your personal statement.

The feature I found most useful was Kealey's analysis of the programs. He listed what he considered to the best programs in the USA, along with why he thought that, and the highs and lows of each of them. He also noted which ones made it to the top 5, top 10 and top 20, and on occasion referenced the US News and World Report's 1997 rankings, which are probably the most well-known rankings of CW programs but are now more than a decade old.

The combination of tools that Tom Kealey provides should be enough to guide an potential MFA student through the process from start (should I get an MFA?) to finish (I've arrived at my new school, now what?). If you're considering an MFA, especially if your undergraduate major wasn't English, you should get this book!


Marsha Sigman said...

Hey Claire, I left a comment on the The Book Book. This is great, very interesting! I am in complete agreement that writers must be readers!!

Claire Dawn said...

Thanks Marsha. In preparation for applying to MFA programs, I've been trying to get experience in any and every thing to so with writing. It's great. Even if I never get into an MFA, my writing will be so much better for having gone through the motions!