Elizabeth recently published an article in the Tikkun Magazine. Subscribe now to read her work.Full Testimonial
Mission & History
Founded in 1995, our MFA in Creative Writing combines a studio writing workshop component with an analytical component, offering courses in the craft of writing in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.
To date, more than 360 students have received degrees from the MFA in Creative Writing. Alumni have published over 60 books and have been published in numerous journals and periodicals, and they’ve won many distinguished literary prizes. Alumni have started internationally known presses and publications, including Omnidawn and the East Bay Review, and they have founded many important reading series in the Bay Area, such as Woolsey Heights, East Bay Poetry Summit, Literary Arts & Wine and the Studio One Reading Series.
After 20 years the SMC MFA in Creative Writing continues to thrive, distinguishing itself by its award winning faculty and its opportunities for students in the areas of teaching, publishing, and community engagement. It remains a major part of the literary culture in the Bay Area and beyond. We welcome cohorts in creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry to our beautiful mission style campus each fall. It's a setting that feels like a writing retreat with world class faculty with access to Oakland and San Francisco just short BART rides away.
Priority deadline is December 10th (application fee waived) and final application deadline is January 31st.
Alumni on the MFA at SMC
"I was compelled to come to Saint Mary's to become more real. I thought a specialized, genre-specific program that was small and intimate would be a safe place for me to grow as a writer, an artist, an Asian American activist and a lesbian. What I couldn't have predicted was how much I would grow as a person, and that's what becoming 'more real' really meant." - Kelsay Myers, MFA Creative Nonfiction & Poetry 2013 and Advisory Board Chair
"Working closely with the fine poets at SMC, allowed me to mature as a writer in all the ways that I'd hoped for, and in so many that I'd had no conception of. I learned how to keep seeking a wider, deeper rigor in my poetic attention, one which engages my intuition and intelligence equally." Rusty Morrison, Poetry 1999
“I came into St. Mary's as a smart aleck, someone convinced of both my writing and myself. I left a far more mature artist and person. I can't thank the program enough for taking me, shaking me, and waking me to a far better reality." –Allison Landa, Fiction 2006
- PBS: Jeffrey Brown talks with Brenda Hillman about Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire
- Brenda Hillman receives the Griffin Poetry Prize, Poetry Foundation's Poetry News
- Matthew Zapruder on "Everyday Creativity" for AWP's A Writer's Notebook
- "Spring 2015 M.F.A. Update: M.F.A. Programs to Watch," Publisher's Weekly. 13, March, 2015.
- PBS News Hour: Weekly Poem, Matthew Zapruder
- Candace Eros Díaz receives prestigious Steinbeck Fellowship
- Mollye Miller on Sara Mumolo's Mortar in the Colorado Review
- Burrell, Jackie,"Cyberstalking is the topic of Rosemary's Graham's latest YA Novel"
- Jeanne Walker on Marilyn Abildsov's The Men in My Country for Gulf Coast
We attend to the individual writer’s relationship to language, giving high-quality, personal attention to each student in a two-year program;
We see the development of the writing project of each student as a powerful part of the development of the whole person;
We emphasize the crafts of writing and reading using pluralistic, imaginative, and practical approaches to aesthetic development;
We model inclusive community both in the classroom and in the larger arts community attending to the powerful role of our developing artists in the culture that is thirsty for the knowledge the arts can bring.
In the Community
- Candace Eros Diaz (admissions coordinator) reads at Under the Influence in San Francisco
- An Evening with Lysley Tenorio -- Point Loma Writer's Symposium By the Sea 2015
- Griffin Poetry Prize Reading: Brenda Hillman's Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire
- SMC MFA students read at the epic MFA Mixer 2.0 each month. Here's a clip of alumna Elizabeth Wright
- "Writing a Life" Saint Mary's MFA Candidates empower local seniors to their stories in Saint Mary's magazine