1. How large is the New Writers Project, and how many poets and fiction writers do you accept every year?
Depending on the year, we usually accept four poets and three fiction writers into the program and then reverse the order for the following year. We tend to have seven poets and seven fiction writers in the program at any given time. And while seven writers in each genre may seem like a small program, our students share workshops and faculty, both permanent and visiting, with students from The Michener Center for Writers, which has about a dozen or so poets and fiction writers of its own.
2. What sort of training do graduate students receive before they lead their first workshop?
All new teaching assistants go through several hours of TA orientation before the beginning of their first semester. TAs also meet frequently throughout each semester with their supervising professor and experienced TAs in mentorship roles.
TAs also receive faculty supervision and mentoring specific to creative writing course assignments.
TAs who advance to Assistant Instructors (AIs) in the second year take a creative writing pedagogy course led by New Writers Project faculty. The course guides AIs through the process of being the lead instructor for a creative writing class.
3. How are classes set up for students to get the most writing done while they’re in the program? Between taking classes and teaching classes is there really much time for my own writing?
We recently shifted NWP course requirements in order to give our writers the option to have more time to do what we bring them here to do, which is write. The new requirements allow our writers to use a combination of conference and thesis hours to reduce their course load to two classes per semester. We also made the requirements flexible enough that they can take a third course if, for instance, a particular class interests them or has something to do with their current writing project.
4. Aside from The Michener Center’s generous fellowship, what are the biggest differences between that program and the New Writers Project?
One main difference is that the New Writers Project is a two-year program, while Michener students are in school for three years. Students should consider how the length of a program fits with their other commitments and how soon they would like to complete their studies. The other major difference between the two programs is that NWP students teach — literature and creative writing, which includes leading workshops — and MCW students have no teaching duties. Here again, students need to consider what sort of experience they hope to gain from attending a certain program.