I have a confession to make. This week, someone asked me what my favorite car was. And I lied. If any of you have ever participated in an MFA graduate school program, chances are, you know the drill. You have the touchy-feely first day where everyone puts their desks in a circle and introduces themselves. In the creative writing program, that always also means you share your favorite author and and and interesting fact about yourself. There is exactly one single interesting thing about me, folks, and it’s that I write about cars as well as hoping that one day in the eventual future I’ll actually finish a mediocre novel that will sell about 1000 copies to the closest friends and family who take pity on me. So, that’s what I shared. “I write about cars.” The beautiful thing about cars is that a lot of people have one! A lot of people even have strong feelings about them! Usually after I offer my interesting fact, there are a handful of people who … [Read more...] about I Would Like to Apologize for Lying About My Favorite Car
Top creative writing mfa programs
Recently, in the New Yorker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz described his experience in his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program: His first year, he almost dropped out because it “was too white.” States Diaz: “I was a person of color in a workshop whose theory of reality did not include my most fundamental experience as a person of color.” Diaz’s experience is not unusual. A decade ago, in my incoming class of the graduate program in fiction writing at New York University, there were three women of African descent—one from Ethiopia, one from the American South and myself, from Uganda. There were also two men of African descent—one biracial Jewish man and one from the American West. An Asian-American student rounded out the diversity. In grad school, we five of African descent were lucky. But it still was not enough. The way the MFA-fiction program worked, even though there were five of us that year, we were … [Read more...] about If We Want Diverse Books, We Need Diverse MFA Programs
At Hazlitt, Nicholas Hune-Brown has written a piece about the magnificently funny, playful, brilliant children’s author Gordon Korman, whose specific aesthetic (incredibly lovable but never deep) and regional fame (which I only found out was regional while reading this) has somehow resulted in a low-key tragedy where he is not recognized universally as one of the best children’s writers of all time. Which he is. The peg for the Hazlitt piece is a new TV-movie adaptation of Korman’s first book This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall, published in the late ‘70s, which kicked off a series all set at the titular, fictional Canadian boys’ boarding school. (Macdonald Hall also came with a sister institution, a “finishing school” called Miss Scrimmage’s, at which the girls were arguably much more rowdy than their male counterparts.) It’s a Canadian adaptation of “moderate budget,” produced by a fan, and marketed to an … [Read more...] about A Tribute to Gordon Korman, King of the Dumb Boys and the Best-Kept Secret in Children’s Literature
SMB3’s entire development team consisted of just eleven people: Miyamoto and Tezuka as directors and designers, four additional designers, four programmers, and Koji Kondo as composer. During SMB3’s two years of development, Miyamoto’s days at the office had no definite start or end time, and he often stayed up working late into the night. This is an excerpt from Super Mario Bros. 3, by Boss Fight Books, which you can get here. Miyamoto acted as more than just a designer on SMB3—he was mentoring his entire team, guiding them, and bringing out their best ideas, just as his mentor Gunpei Yokoi had famously done for him during the design of Donkey Kong nearly ten years before. Miyamoto was leading his team on a quest for fun. He has said many times that he’s always been more interested in designing toys than designing games, and the word he uses most often to describe his design philosophy is “fun.” Although he’s pioneered innovations with … [Read more...] about The Making (And Legacy) Of
In public, everyone says that Thomas Sayers Ellis, 52, formerly of Case Western and Sarah Lawrence, a visiting professor at the Iowa Writers Workshop this semester, is brilliant. Even the people who find him off-putting and unprofessional tend to agree. He’s charismatic and surprising, a protest poet, a real intellectual, unafraid to cause alarm. His style is enjambed, urgent, and rhythmically afire; in the late ‘80s, he founded the Dark Room Collective to promote writers of color, and he’s been known as an activist ever since. He attracts women; several women I talked to said he had “groupies.” But in late February, a group of women came together to say that he’s abusive, that he preys. Their accusations, collected and published anonymously by the advocacy organization VIDA, sent the administration and many students at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop into private crisis. The program has a history of male poets becoming involved with students; a … [Read more...] about Is This the End of the Era of the Important, Inappropriate Literary Man?