Monday, September 16, 2013

An Inside View on What's So Great About the Converse Low-Res MFA (apps due 10/1!)

What are you waiting for?  The deadline to apply for the Converse low-residency MFA program is fast approaching…October 1 to join us in January.  Fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction…we have amazing teachers in every genre, and our director, poet Rick Mulkey, is the hardest-working man in the MFA business.

A few food-wise and other points to consider that aren’t in the brochures and website (which you should check out anyway):

Our summer residency site is Spartanburg, SC, which is the home of the famous Beacon Drive-In (and chili cheese a’plenty and fried pimento cheese sandwiches) and our friends at Hub City Press, a wonderful small press.  There’s also a very divey dive bar in walking distance with a legendary open mike night, frequented by professional musicians.  The lovely independent bookstore, Hub City Books, located in the restored Masonic Temple in downtown Spartanburg offers an intimate and excellent coffee shop, if that’s more your beverage style.

In the winter, we typically meet at the 1906 Pinecrest Inn, in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s the perfect place to relax around a beautiful fireplace in the main lobby, talking about books late into the night.  May I note that the Inn is renowned for its food and Wine Spectator award-winning wine list (and ghosts roaming the secret passageway)?

One of our graduates met an agent during our residency program, was invited to send in her novel manuscript, was accepted as a client, and—that book will be released by William Morrow in January 2014!  (Did I mention that our program only started in 2009?  Things move fast around here.)

I just got an email this very morning from another recent graduate who had just learned of that first story publication.  I say this to brag (of course) and also to note that the relationships we build at Converse extend beyond graduation day.

I can only speak for myself here, though I know I’m not the only one who feels this way:  I leave every residency exhausted and exhilarated, inspired by the lectures and words of my fellow faculty members, yes, but also moved by what the students have shown and shared:  their hard work, their eagerness to learn, their deep devotion to the craft, their dedication; the students learn from me, but I learn from them.  We make writers at Converse, and we also make friends for life.

Here’s a quick list of important info:

~Website for more information

~Contact emails for questions: 
Rick Mulkey, MFA Director: rick.mulkey AT
Kristy Meehan, MFA Administrative Assistant, kristy.meehan AT

~My post about what to think about when considering an MFA
~My report on our last residency period

~Application Deadlines:
October 1 to start in January
February 15 to start in June


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.