The program allows students to focus in one of three areas: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, and provides a broad education that includes courses in areas other than the student's main focus. Eastern's MFA program also offers numerous internships and graduate assistant positions and has an established visiting writers program that hosts several notable authors throughout the year. Students are expected to emerge from the MFA program as highly skilled writers and readers ready to publish and contribute to the world of arts and letters.
The Master of Fine Arts Program
The graduate program at the Inland Northwest Center for Writers offers full curricula in fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry. MFA workshops in each genre are small (generally between seven and fifteen) and offered every term. The literature requirement consists of three form and technique courses (per genre) focusing on historical and contemporary works. These graduate courses are taught by Creative Writing faculty and are designed to make the study of literature of maximum value to the aspiring writer (rather than scholar or critic). In order that they might broaden their skills and benefit from exposure to wider variety of perspectives, all students are required to take one workshop and one literature class outside their genre. Additional Creative Writing elective courses are offered each year and have recently included Literature of the Northwest, Surrealism in Poetry, Beyond Realism in Fiction, Imagination and Wilderness, and Studies in the Novella. Typically, students complete the MFA degree in two years, working one-on-one with a faulty member to produce a thesis of publishable quality in their second year.
While fostering the artistic growth of writers is the primary focus of the community of faculty and students at Inland Northwest Center for Writers, our program also takes great pride in offering three types of internship opportunities meant to give students skills and preparation for the literary job market. The Center produces the national literary journal, Willow Springs, which publishes work by both established and emerging writers. We also run the Writers in the Community through which student interns are placed as teachers of Creative Writing in area schools, prisons, nursing homes, community centers, half-way houses, and other institutions. A third internship area involves working in book editing, including selection, preparation, and publication of the winner of the annual Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, published by Willow Springs Editions. This internship also involves assisting with the annual Get Lit! literary festival.
Our community-of-writers approach to Creative Writing, writer-taught literature form-and-theory series, variety of internship offerings, and passionate teachers of national reputation all combine to make the Inland Northwest Center for Writers one of the very best places for an aspiring writer to learn and grow.
The Undergraduate Program
Undergraduate students majoring in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing take courses from the literature offerings of the English Department as well as undergraduate form and technique classes and workshops in the Creative Writing Program. This combination of a traditional literary education, exposure to literature from the perspective of a writer, and intense focus on students' own writing is designed to equip students for a lifetime of artistic growth. A senior capstone course exposes students to issues in the writing profession, publishing, possible career paths, graduate school application, and new literature by emerging writers.
Additional opportunities for undergraduates include working on or publishing in the undergraduate literary magazine Northwest Boulevard, a reading series, and (for advanced students) teaching Creative Writing through our Writers in the Community Project.