Ann Hood Director's Letter

The Newport MFA in Creative Writing

Welcome to The Newport MFA!

What an exciting time this is here at Salve Regina University in beautiful, historic Newport, Rhode Island. After years of dreaming, meeting and planning, the Newport MFA became a reality in June 2018, with our first eight-day residency and our very first class.

Our June residency was a huge success, full of ideas, poetry, camaraderie, stories, conversations, inspiration and creativity. We are looking forward to welcoming our students back, and to meeting our January class.

I became interested in the low-residency model after seeing firsthand how wonderful it is to be able to get an MFA without having to quit your job and uproot your life. Instead, twice a year students come to campus for eight days - and for the Newport MFA students get to come to gorgeous Newport, Rhode Island, an added bonus.

During those eight days, students work in workshops with award-winning, best-selling writers Allen Kurzweil, Bernadette Murphy, Alden Jones, Tim Weed, Taylor Polites, Edgar Kunz and Charles Coe in their chosen genre of fiction, nonfiction or poetry.

In addition, the residencies offer panels, readings and craft talks by our esteemed faculty and by visiting guest writers such as Alice Hoffman, Tom Perrotta, Sheila Weller, Andre Dubus III, Dani Shapiro and Major Jackson, as well as esteemed agents and editors.

In the six months between residencies, each student works one-on-one via email or snail mail with a faculty mentor, receiving careful and constructive notes on their work.

After 30 years of teaching in MFA programs, writer's conferences and writing residencies, I have taken the best of what I've learned and observed to design the Newport MFA. I can go on and on about what makes our MFA program special: our award-winning faculty and guest writers, our sheer enthusiasm for this program, our engagement with our setting (think mansion tours, ocean adventures, the Cliff Walk, lots of clam chowder), a program that is lively, a literary community that will forge lifelong friendships and mentorships.

But what sets us apart even more than the above is our optional semester in Havana, Cuba, led by faculty member Tim Weed. I've traveled to Cuba with Tim, and you couldn't ask for a more experienced, knowledgeable ambassador to this vibrant culture. There, in addition to your regular workshop, you will see firsthand the unfolding history of this changing country, and you will experience its food, literature, architecture and arts.

Jen McClanaghan and I, along with everyone at Salve Regina University and our faculty and guests, are eager to share this experience with you!