Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Program Facts

Academic Philosophy:

Stonecoast is committed to mentoring emerging writers in the fundamentals of their craft, including both classic and experimental literary traditions, through supportive and intellectually challenging teaching within an aesthetically and culturally diverse community of creative peers. 


1979 - Stonecoast Summer Writers’ Conference founded at the University of Southern Maine (1979)

2002 - The Stonecoast MFA program holds its first residency

2005 - Stonecoast in Ireland is launched. The first residency is held in Dingle.

2006 - The first year Poets & Writers ranked Stonecoast as a top ten low-residency MFA program

2008 - Stonecoast Council on Diversity is established. First Writing About Race elective is offered.

2013- Stonecoast ranked #4 Low-Residency MFA by Poets & Writers.

Student Body:

At any one time, between 80-90 students are enrolled in four genres: creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, and popular fiction. Students range widely in age, ethnicity, and cultural and aesthetic background. Many students are already accomplished and published writers. 


Approximately 25 faculty members in the four main genres – creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, and popular fiction – with additional expertise in many other areas including translation, scriptwriting, journalism, creative collaboration, and performance. Faculty awards include Guggenheim and NEA grants, Astraea, Hugo, and Hurston/Wright Legacy awards, Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, American Book Award, Lifetime Achievement Award from Before Columbus Foundation, and finalists for the National Book Award and National Book Critics’ Circle Award.


Stonecoast alumni have published more than 100 novels, story collections, poetry chapbooks and collections, memoirs, and nonfiction works. Many have gone on to successful careers as screenwriters, freelance writers, publicists, teachers, editors, and college creative writing professors. They have won awards including PEN New England awards, NEA grants, and the Cave Canem Prize, and seen their work published in Best American Essays, poetry read on National Public Radio’s Writers’ Almanac, and novels published by houses including Coffee House, Graywolf, Northwestern, and Random House.


Stonecoast is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).