Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the New Hampshire Institute of Art

MFA in Writing

“On the one hand, NHIA’s Writing program is a possibility space for hybridity and cross-pollination with other genres and art forms; on the other hand, a place where writers come to a deep understanding about what they need in today’s publishing landscape.” ~ Monica Bilson , Program Director


Our MFA in Writing is a two-year program, which features 10-day residencies every January and June. Writing students share residencies with the MFA in Photography and MFA in Visual Arts programs, and though writing students work primarily with their own faculty and visiting writers, they also have access to the entire community of faculty, staff, and students. One day of each residency is devoted to the Concurrent Curriculum, in which students in all programs engage in workshops and presentations organized around a theme. Recent themes have included "borders, migration, fear," and, in June 2018, food. This approach encourages students to think outside the box of their discipline and to bring a new lens to their chosen craft. When students are able to engage with visiting artists, and attend presentations and performances across programs, it creates a context for rich cross disciplinary work and provides resources that inspire alternative, experimental approaches to their work. Between residencies, students work one-on-one with a faculty advisor and/or studio-mentor, building on the creative foundation established at the residency in an individualized program of study and support. Throughout their time in the program, graduate students gain an understanding of their place in contemporary practice, develop an expansive professional network, and gain a transformed awareness of themselves as artists, writers, and citizens.
Recent visiting writers to the program include Francisco Cantú, whose debut book, "The Line Becomes a River," was an instant New York Times best-seller; Steve Almond, author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestsellers "Candyfreak" and "Against Football"; Kate Christensen, author of seven novels, including "The Great Man," which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction; Leslie Jamison, author of "The Empathy Exams" and "The Recovering"; Rebecca Makkai, author of "The Great Believers"; and Lance Olsen, author of thirteen novels, one hypertext, six nonfiction works, five short-story collections, and a poetry chapbook.

View the 2017 MFA and MAAE Thesis Exhibition Catalog

Monica Bilson

Meet the Program Director: Dr. Bilson’s primary interest as a writer lies in crossing the disciplinary boundaries of fiction writing, philosophy, aesthetics, and popular culture. Originally inspired by existentialism and modernism, she has published work on topics ranging from Foucault’s theory of the panopticon as it relates to anorexia nervosa to hermetic fantasies found in Beckett’s plays and David Lynch’s films. She has served as Chair of Chester College of New England’s Writing and Literature program; Co-director of Turnstyle: the Alternative Writing Program for High School Students; and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at New Hampshire Institute of Art.

At NHIA's Graduate Program events, you'll learn more about our supportive and collaborative community of students, faculty, mentors, writers, and visiting artists.

For a copy of the MFA Jue Residency schedule, click here.



June 30  |  Graduate Programs Visit Day  |  French Hall, 148 Concord Street, Manchester, NH  |  8:30am-1pm



June 8  |  Thing in the Spring, NHIA Reception  |  Sharon Arts Center Gallery  |  5-7pm

For details about all of our events, click here.

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