We are all MFAs now

Go to Slate and read MFA vs. NYC, which is an essay by Chad Harbach from the journal n+1. It draws heavily from the excellent, even tour-de-force work of literary criticism and history The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing ( Amazon ) by Mark McGurl, which we discussed a bit here at AMV as part of Th.’s Stephen Tuttle interview about the BYU MFA.

Some excellent points are made so are some overgeneralizations and deliberate provocateurisms. But taking the model seriously for a moment I’d like to ask a) are there any Mormon NYC writers of literary fiction? (It seems to me that — to borrow a phrase from Harbach —  “we are all MFAs now”) and b) would the better dichotomy for modern Mormon fiction be MFA vs. Speculative Fictionists?

On the new BYU MFA


So that BYU is starting an MFA in Creative Writing. My only real wonderment is why it took so long. It’s a trendy program to have and BYU, one would think, should have a vested interest in flooding the earth with good writers. This is self-evident.

Furthermore, I am hopeful that this will result in writers being treated with the same slavish love and devotion that lawyers and MBAs receive. I’m wondering if the economic crisis and Tim Flanigan might be making them rethink their institutional preference for those professions and start giving writers a shot. Surely this is the underlying message behind the new MFA program: Perhaps artists aren’t that dangerous after all. (Comparatively.) Continue reading “On the new BYU MFA”