Printer Friendly

Low-Residency MFA Writers Workshop in Paris

Paris2014_31.jpgWRITE IN PARIS

The NYU Creative Writing Program has distinguished itself for over thirty years as a leading national center for the study of writing and literature, inviting promising new writers to work closely with a faculty of the finest contemporary poets and novelists.

That tradition continues with the low-residency MFA Writers Workshop in Paris, which offers students the opportunity to develop their craft under the guidance of internationally-acclaimed faculty—including Chris Adrian, Catherine Barnett, Mark Doty, Nathan Englander, John Freeman, Myla Goldberg, Aleksandar Hemon, Katie Kitamura, Nick Laird, Meghan O'Rourke, Matthew Rohrer, Helen Schulman, Zadie Smith, Darin Strauss, and Colson Whitehead—while writing and studying in one of the world's most inspiring literary capitals.

Recent visiting writers and editors include Charles Bock, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Lydia Davis, Geoff Dyer, Percival Everett, Jonathan Safran Foer, Marilyn Hacker, Matthea Harvey, Edward Hirsch, Marie Howe, Ishion Hutchinson, Leslie Jamison, Etgar Keret, Hari Kunzru, Ben Lerner, David Lipsky, Dinaw Mengestu, Julie Orringer, Claudia Rankine, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Danzy Senna, Brenda Shaughnessy, Charles Simic, Tracy K. Smith, Craig Morgan Teicher, Michael Wiegers, and Rachel Zucker, among many others 


The MFA Writers Workshop in Paris constitutes an intimate creative apprenticeship that extends beyond traditional classroom walls.

Over two years, students and faculty convene regularly in Paris for five intensive ten-day residency periods held biannually in January and July (click here for a sample residency calendar). While in residency in Paris, students participate in a vibrant community engaged in all aspects of the literary arts, including workshops, craft talks, lectures, individual conferences and manuscript consultations, as well as a diverse series of readings, special events and professional development panels. The city of Paris itself—with its literary history and rich cultural attractions—provides an ideal opportunity for students to learn the art and craft of writing, immerse themselves in the creative process, and live the writer’s life.

During the intervals between residencies, students pursue focused courses of study, completing reading and writing assignments under the close supervision of individual faculty members. These ongoing dialogues with faculty are tailored to specific student interests and needs; students are mentored by a different professor each term and work closely with four different writers during the two-year program.

Unlike the traditional MFA, the low-residency program offers both freedom and rigor, balancing the intense and stimulating community of each residency and the sustained solitary work completed in the intervals between. Students are expected to complete substantial writing and reading assignments Paris2014_14.jpgeach term, regularly submitting packets of work in exchange for detailed feedback and critique. Graduating students leave the program with four new literary mentors and a portfolio of letters written by acclaimed writers in response to their work.


In order to receive the MFA, students must attend five residencies, successfully complete 32 credits of coursework, and submit a creative project of at least 75 pages of fiction or 25 pages of poetry. This project  consists of a substantial piece of writing– a novel, a collection of short stories, or a group of poems– submitted before the final residency. The project requires the approval of the student's faculty advisor and the program director.


Adrian.jpg Chris Adrian (Fiction) is the author of a short story collection, A Better Angel, and four novels, Gob's Grief, The Children's Hospital, The Great Night, and, most recently, The New World. He has received an NEA grant for fiction writing and a Guggenheim Fellowship, was selected as one of The New Yorker's 20 writers under 40, and completed training as a Fellow in Pediatric Hematology Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco. (Photo copyright by Martin Ehleben.)
Photo: Catherine BarnettCatherine Barnett (Poetry) is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and a Pushcart. Her most recent book, The Game of Boxes, published by Graywolf Press in 2012, won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets for an outstanding second book. She is also the author of Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced, which received the 2003 Beatrice Hawley Award and was published in 2004 by Alice James Books. Barnett has taught at Barnard, the New School, and NYU, where she was honored with an Outstanding Service Award.

Mark Doty (Poetry) is the author of Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. His eight books of poems also include School of the Arts, Source, and My Alexandria. He has also published four volumes of nonfiction prose: Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, Heaven's Coast, Firebird and Dog Years, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2007. The Art of Description, a handbook for writers, appeared in 2011. His work has been honored by the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, two Lambda Literary Awards, and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. He is Professor/Writer in Residence at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A new volume of poems, Deep Lane, was published by W.W. Norton in April 2015.

Englander.JPG  Nathan Englander (Fiction) is the author of the internationally bestselling story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, the novel The Ministry of Special Cases, and the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank (Knopf, Spring 2012). His short fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Washington Post, as well as The O. Henry Prize Stories and numerous editions of The Best American Short Stories. Translated into more than a dozen languages, Englander was selected as one of “20 Writers for the 21st Century” by The New Yorker, received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, the Bard Fiction Prize, and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. He’s been a fellow at the Dorothy & Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and at the American Academy of Berlin. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

John Freeman (Fiction), writer and literary critic, was the editor of the literary magazine Granta, until 2013 as well as the former president of the National Book Critics Circle. He is an executive editor at the Literary Hub. His writing has appeared in almost 200 English-language publications around the world, including The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times The Guardian, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of The Tyranny of E-mail: The Four-Thousand-Year Journey to Your Inbox (Scribner, 2009), and, most recently, How to Read a Novelist (FSG, 2013). He is the founding editor of Freeman's, a new biannual literary journal.


Myla Goldberg
(Fiction) is the bestselling author of The False Friend, Wickett's Remedy, and Bee Season, which was adapted to film, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, winner of the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. She is also the author of the essay collection Time's Magpie and the children's book, Catching the Moon. Myla’s short stories have appeared in Harper's. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence and Brooklyn College.
Hemon.jpg  Aleksandar Hemon (Fiction) is the author of The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award, and three collections of short stories: The Question of Bruno; Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Love and Obstacles. The Making of Zombie Wars, his most recent novel, was published in 2015. His first nonfiction title, The Book of My Lives, appeared from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2013. Born in Sarajevo, Hemon visited Chicago in 1992, intending to stay for a matter of months. While he was there, Sarajevo came under siege, and he was unable to return home. Hemon wrote his first story in English in 1995. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. 


Katie Kitamura (Fiction) is the author of the novels Gone to the Forest and The Longshot, both of which were finalists for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. The Longshot is currently being developed into a feature film. Katie has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, and Wired, and is a regular contributor to Frieze.

laird.jpg Nick Laird (Poetry) Born in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland in 1975, Nick Laird was educated at Cookstown High School and Cambridge University. He is the author of the novels Utterly Monkey and Glover's Mistake, and three books of poems, Go Giants, To a Fault and On Purpose. The recipient of many prizes for his poetry and fiction, including the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Ireland Chair of Poetry Award, the Betty Trask Prize, a Somerset Maugham award, and the Geoffrey Faber Prize, he has lived in London, Warsaw, and Rome. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Meghan O'Rourke (Poetry) is the author of the memoir The Long Goodbye (Riverhead, 2011), as well as the poetry collections Once (2011) and Halflife (2007), which was a finalist for both the Patterson Poetry Prize and Britain's Forward First Book Prize. She was awarded a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Radcliffe Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Front Page Award for her cultural criticism, among other prizes. She is the poetry editor of T Magazine and formerly an editor at The New Yorker, Slate, and The Paris Review. Her essays and poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Atlantic Monthly, The Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, and more. A graduate of Yale University, she teaches at Princeton and the Creative Writing Program at New York University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Matthew Rohrer (Poetry) is the author of A Hummock in the Malookas, Satellite, A Green Light, Rise Up, A Plate of Chicken, and Destroyer and Preserver. With Joshua Beckman he wrote Nice Hat. Thanks. and recorded the audio CD Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty. Octopus Books published his action/adventure chapbook-length poem They All Seemed Asleep in 2008. His poems have been widely anthologized and have appeared in many journals. He’s received the Hopwood Award for poetry and a Pushcart prize, and was selected as a National Poetry Series winner, and was shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Recently he has participated in residencies/ performances at the Museum of Modern Art (New York City) and the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle). He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

 Schulman.cropped.jpg Helen Schulman (Fiction) is the author of the novels This Beautiful Life, a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book of 2011, A Day At The Beach, P.S., The Revisionist and Out Of Time, and the short story collection Not A Free Show. P.S. was also made into a feature film starring Laura Linney and was written by Helen Schulman & Dylan Kidd. She co-edited, along with Jill Bialosky, the anthology Wanting A Child. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in such places as Vanity Fair, Time, Vogue, GQ, The New York Times Book Review and The Paris Review. She is presently the Fiction Coordinator at The Writing Program at The New School where she is a tenured Professor of Writing.
 zsmith.jpeg Zadie Smith (Fiction) was born in north-west London in 1975. Her first novel, White Teeth, was the winner of The Whitbread First Novel Award, The Guardian First Book Award, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and The Commonwealth Writers' First Book Award. Her second novel, The Autograph Man, won The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize. Zadie Smith's third novel, On Beauty, was short listed for the Man Booker Prize, and won The Commonwealth Writers' Best Book Award (Eurasia Section) and the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent novel, NW, was published in 2012. She is the editor of an anthology of short stories entitled The Book of Other People. Her collection of essays Changing My Mind was published in November 2009, and she is currently the New Books columnist for Harper's Magazine. Zadie Smith is a graduate of Cambridge University and has taught at Harvard and Columbia Universities. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is a tenured Senior Faculty member of the NYU Creative Writing Program.

Darin Strauss (Fiction) is the author of the international bestseller Chang and Eng, and the New York Times Notable Book The Real McCoy, one of the New York Public Library's "25 Books to Remember of 2002," the novel More Than it Hurts You and most recently a memoir Half a Life, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has been translated into fourteen languages, and he teaches writing at New York University, for which he won a 2005 "Outstanding Dozen" teaching award. Also a screenwriter, Darin sold the rights to Chang and Eng to Disney, and is currently adapting the novel for the screen with the actor Gary Oldman. Another screenplay on which he collaborated is in pre-production at Paramount Studios. Darin was awarded a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction writing.

Whitehead.jpgColson Whitehead (Fiction) is the author of five novels and two books of nonfiction. His most recent book is The Noble Hustle, his account of the 2011 World Series of Poker. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Harper's.
 Landau..jpg Deborah Landau (Director) teaches in and directs the Creative Writing Program at New York University.  She was educated at Stanford, Columbia, and Brown, where she was a Javits Fellow and received a Ph.D. in English and American Literature. Her third collection of poetry, The Uses of the Body, was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and named one of Twelve Favorite Poetry Books of 2015 by The New Yorker, a “Book We Can’t Wait to Read” by Vogue, and in the top “8 New Books to Savor” by O Magazine. She is also the author of The Last Usable Hour (a Lannan Literary Selection from Copper Canyon Press) and Orchidelirium, which was selected by Naomi Shihab Nye to win the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Tin House, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Best American Erotic Poems, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and her poems have been widely anthologized. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, sons, and daughter. Photo © by Sarah Shatz.


Program Dates (Upcoming Residencies): January 3-12, 2016; July 10-19, 2016

Housing: Accommodations in Paris are available in a variety of different neighborhoods, configurations and price points.


Tuition for the program will be approximately $25,000 per year, with separate payments due for the January, Spring, Summer, and Fall terms respectively. Tuition fees are subject to a yearly increase. Although the exact amounts for next year have yet to be announced, tuition for the current 14-15 academic year can be calculated as follows:

Tuition per unit, per term: $1,554.00

Tuition per year (16 units): $24,864

Registration fees (based on 16 units of tuition per year) are calculated according to the following fee structure:LowResSeine.jpg

First unit Fall Term 2014: $461.00

First unit Spring Term 2015: $461.00

Fee, per unit, for registration after first unit: $65.00.

Although departmental funding is not available, students may consult a list of external scholarships and grant opportunities here.


The MFA Writers Workshop in Paris is currently accepting applications for the July 2016 residency period. Students may apply for either the MFA in Fiction or in Poetry. All applicants must submit online using the GSAS Application Form only by March 15, 2016. No portion of the application should be mailed directly. The GRE requirement has been waived for the MFA Writers Workshop in Paris. For more information about the program, including details on academics, housing, costs, and the application process, please contact the NYU Creative Writing Program at 212-998-8816 or

Get the flash player here:

Photos from NYU Creative Writing Program readings at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.