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Department of EnglishM.F.A. Creative Writing

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

As part of the English Department at ODU, the MFA Program began in 1994 with twelve students and three creative writing instructors. It continues to grow with vigor: today, a range of 25-35 students work with the program's talented 7-member creative writing faculty in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

In addition to taking workshops and craft courses with the MFA faculty, our students take courses with dynamic faculty who have expertise in American, British, and world literature, as well as literary theory, film studies, and rhetoric. In our 54-hour program, students graduate not only as writers but also as individuals competent in literary studies.

Our students accomplish a great deal, even while they are in the program: publishing fiction and nonfiction books with major publishers, stories and poems in national literary magazines and journals, articles and reviews in major newspapers, prestigious citations, awards, and grants.

MFA students also have opportunities to participate in the MFA Reading Series held at Borjo Coffeehouse in University Village or at similar venues on and around campus. Likewise, students have the opportunity to assist in the internationally recognized, annual ODU Literary Festival; and present papers or give readings at the spring conference sponsored by the English Department. ODU's Writer-in-Residence Program (offered in both the fall and spring semesters) allows MFA students to work one-on-one with nationally renowned poets and writers.

The MFA Program provides interested students with valuable volunteer and short-term internship types of experiences. In particular, our Writers-in-Community Program gives creative writing graduate students the chance to facilitate writing workshops in various local venues, such as schools, art galleries, libraries, hospitals, homeless shelters, housing projects, and retirement homes.

The MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University has much to offer; and the greater Hampton Roads area (with its diverse locales ranging from oceanside to urban) provides access to a diversity of experiences.

The Norton Girault Literary Prize

The MFA Creative Writing Program is pleased to be able to offer The Norton Girault Literary Prize, an annual award competition alternating among the genres of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

The inaugural prize was offered in 2012 in Fiction. The prize rotated among the other genres in succeeding years: Cristina Garcia (Fiction), David Wojahn (Poetry), Natalie Diaz (Poetry), and John McManus (Fiction).

Norton Girault Interview [Watch on Youtube]

Norton Girault served on cruisers and destroyers in World War II and the Korean War. After retiring from the Navy as a captain, he taught English at Norfolk State University for 15 years. His stories, poems and essays have been published in Crescent Review, MSS, Snake Nation Review, Timbuktu, Long Story, and other magazines. He's been a scholar at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and a guest at Yaddo Writers' Colony. A vital member of the Hampton Roads literary community, he has participated in Old Dominion University writing courses for many years.

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