101 episodes

MFA Writers is the podcast where host Jared McCormack interviews creative writing MFA students about their program, their process, and a piece they’re working on.

MFA Writers Jared McCormack

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 55 Ratings

MFA Writers is the podcast where host Jared McCormack interviews creative writing MFA students about their program, their process, and a piece they’re working on.

    Sam Herschel Wein — University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    Sam Herschel Wein — University of Tennessee, Knoxville

    On this episode, Sam Herschel Wein tells Jared about their path to finding poetry outside of academia, co-founding and editing Underblong, and their approach to collaboration and humor in their writing. Plus, they discuss the nuances of MFA program decisions (Two or three years? English or Art departments?) and whether creative writing should live within institutions of higher education at all.

    Sam Herschel Wein (he/they) is a lollygagging plum of a poet who specializes in perpetual frolicking. They have an MFA from the University of Tennessee (2021-2023) and were the recipient of a 2022 Pushcart Prize. They have published 3 chapbooks, most recently Butt Stuff Flower Bush from Porkbelly Press, and are the co-founder and editor of Underblong Journal. They have recent work in American Poetry Review, The Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast, among others. Find them on social media @samforbreakfast and at their website, samherschelwein.com.

    MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com.

    BE PART OF THE SHOW

    — Donate to the show at Buy Me a Coffee.

    — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

    — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience.

    — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application.

    STAY CONNECTED

    Twitter: @MFAwriterspod

    Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast

    Facebook: MFA Writers

    Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com

    • 59 min
    Rerelease: Gina Chung — Debut Author Series — Sea Change

    Rerelease: Gina Chung — Debut Author Series — Sea Change

    The podcast team is on spring break, giving us (and you) the perfect opportunity to revisit an episode we love. In celebration of her new short story collection, GREEN FROG, we invite you into this conversation with Gina Chung who spoke to Jared last season about her debut novel, SEA CHANGE.

    Gina Chung, debut author of the speculative novel SEA CHANGE, tells Jared how the book began with a writing prompt in her MFA program and how her fellow students encouraged her to turn it into a novel. She and Jared discuss how her experience in publishing shaped her understanding of the business of writing and the importance of a trusted writing community. Plus, Gina offers advice for making the most of your MFA experience.

    Gina is a Korean American writer from New Jersey currently living in New York City. Her debut novel SEA CHANGE was a 2023 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick and a New York Times Most Anticipated Book. Gina has also written a forthcoming short story collection titled GREEN FROG. A recipient of the Pushcart Prize, she is a 2021-2022 Center for Fiction/Susan Kamil Emerging Writer Fellow and holds an MFA in fiction from the New School. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, Catapult, Electric Literature, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Idaho Review, among others. Find her at gina-chung.com and on Twitter @ginathechung.

    MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com.

    BE PART OF THE SHOW

    — Donate to the show at Buy Me a Coffee.

    — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

    — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience.

    — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application.

    STAY CONNECTED

    Twitter: @MFAwriterspod

    Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast

    Facebook: MFA Writers

    Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com

    • 48 min
    Deborah Jackson Taffa — Faculty Series — Institute of American Indian Arts

    Deborah Jackson Taffa — Faculty Series — Institute of American Indian Arts

    Memoirist and director of the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program Deborah Jackson Taffa talks to Jared about her new book, Whiskey Tender. Deborah shares how memoir writing is a form of familial and historical preservation, and offers advice on having difficult conversations with the real people who appear in our creative nonfiction. Plus, she discusses the value of the low-res IAIA program for both indigenous and non-indigenous writers, offers strategies for sustaining creative energy, and describes methods to avoid falling into a common misstep for MFA students: social comparison.

    A citizen of the Quechan (Yuma) Nation and Laguna Pueblo, Deborah Jackson Taffa is the director of the MFA in Creative Writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is the author of the memoir WHISKEY TENDER and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Her writing can be found at PBS, Salon, LARB, Brevity, A Public Space, The Boston Review, The Rumpus, and the Best American Nonrequired Reading. In late 2021, she was named a MacDowell Fellow, Kranzberg Arts Fellow, and Tin House Scholar. In 2022, she won a PEN American Grant for Oral History and was named a Hedgebrook Fellow. Find her at deborahtaffa.com and on social media @deborahtaffa.

    MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com.

    BE PART OF THE SHOW

    — Donate to the show at Buy Me a Coffee.

    — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

    — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience.

    — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application.

    STAY CONNECTED

    Twitter: @MFAwriterspod

    Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast

    Facebook: MFA Writers

    Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com

    • 55 min
    Jamie Li — Vermont College of Fine Arts

    Jamie Li — Vermont College of Fine Arts

    Drawing from her decade-long career in Silicon Valley, Jamie Li tells Jared about writing tech satire that struck her MFA colleagues as far-fetched and her tech friends as totally realistic. Plus, Jamie talks about how her background as a Chinese immigrant and the model minority myth shape her interest in writing about in-group/out-group behaviors, and her attraction to VCFA’s emphasis on experimental and cross-genre writing.

    Jamie Li is a Southern California-based fiction writer and product marketer. She holds a BA from Dartmouth College and is pursuing her MFA at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her writing has been recognized in the New York Times and published in Slant’d Magazine, Mangoprism, and elsewhere. She writes the Creative Juice newsletter and exists online on jamieli.co or IG @j.a.m.i.e.l.i.

    MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com.

    BE PART OF THE SHOW

    — Donate to the show at Buy Me a Coffee.

    — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

    — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience.

    — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application.

    STAY CONNECTED

    Twitter: @MFAwriterspod

    Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast

    Facebook: MFA Writers

    Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com

    • 43 min
    Rerelease: Luna Adler — Brooklyn College

    Rerelease: Luna Adler — Brooklyn College

    The podcast team has been busy at the annual AWP conference, so we’re bringing you a rerelease of a great conversation from Season 2. A new episode will be in your feed in two weeks.

    Luna Adler talks to Jared about moving between fiction and non-fiction, Brooklyn College’s unique novel-writing workshop aimed at accommodating the long form, the tension between a slow revision process and rapid MFA deadlines, and the benefit in recording one’s writing time while allowing grace for a broad definition of writing time that may or may not include thinking time.

    Luna Adler is a Brooklyn-based writer and illustrator. She’s currently an MFA candidate in fiction at Brooklyn College, where she was a recipient of the Truman Capote Fellowship. She is a fiction editor for The Brooklyn Review and a reader for Pigeon Pages. Her words, art, and comics have appeared or are forthcoming in Bon Appétit, Bust Magazine, Interview Magazine, Literary Hub, Gossamer, Autostraddle, Electric Literature, Backpacker Magazine, The Rumpus, The Belladonna Comedy, Hobart Pulp, and Lux Magazine, among others. Find her on Instagram @lunaadler or at lunaadler.com, where you can subscribe to her illustrated newsletter.

    MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com.

    BE PART OF THE SHOW

    — Donate to the show at Buy Me a Coffee.

    — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

    — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience.

    — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application.

    STAY CONNECTED

    Twitter: @MFAwriterspod

    Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast

    Facebook: MFA Writers

    Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com

    • 59 min
    Kate Brody — Debut Author Series — Rabbit Hole

    Kate Brody — Debut Author Series — Rabbit Hole

    Kate Brody, debut author of the literary thriller RABBIT HOLE, sits down with Jared to talk about crafting a true crime novel that focuses on the victim’s family. Drawing from her own experiences with publishing, she also offers advice for choosing an agent, pivoting if your book doesn’t sell, and marketing your work. Finally, she shares the most memorable pieces of advice from her own MFA teachers, including Mary Gaitskill, E.L. Doctorow, and Amy Hempel.

    Kate Brody holds an MFA from NYU and her work has been published or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Parents, Crime Reads, Lit Hub, Electric Lit, Noema, The Literary Review, Write or Die, and other magazines. RABBIT HOLE is her debut. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @katebrodyauthor and at her website: katebrodyauthor.com.

    MFA Writers is hosted by Jared McCormack and produced by Jared McCormack and Hanamori Skoblow. New episodes are released every two weeks. You can find more MFA Writers at MFAwriters.com.

    BE PART OF THE SHOW

    — Donate to the show at Buy Me a Coffee.

    — Leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts.

    — Submit an episode request. If there’s a program you’d like to learn more about, contact us and we’ll do our very best to find a guest who can speak to their experience.

    — Apply to be a guest on the show by filling out our application.

    STAY CONNECTED

    Twitter: @MFAwriterspod

    Instagram: @MFAwriterspodcast

    Facebook: MFA Writers

    Email: mfawriterspodcast@gmail.com

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
55 Ratings

55 Ratings

Emilie Jacobson ,

Fantastic resource

I just discovered this podcast last week and I have already learned so much about MFA programs and the writers’ experiences navigating the process. This is such a helpful resource for writers out there who want to learn about what it’s like to apply to programs, and what it’s like to be an MFA student in general. Thanks Jared!!!

Kia ro ,

SUPER HELPFUL

Jared is the man. This podcast was a game changer for me during the research process for MFA programs. Thank you to J and to the team as well, keep up the incredible work!

Beauthecowbelldog ,

4.5 stars

Giving this a 5 star because I want to do everything I can to get this great resource out there. Jared does a great job considering what questions listeners may have especially prospective students.

However, I wish more of the episode could be spent on covering the MFA. It’s nice to discover emerging writers but I find myself wishing we’d spend more than 15 mins covering the MFA program itself. Usually a majority of the episode is spent on combing through the guest’s reading.

Additionally, when it comes to questions around funding, sometimes the guest goes off on tangents that don’t answer the question directly. I wish the question could be restated for clarity. For BIPOC/low income folks this information is critical to us, and sometimes the guest gets away with circumventing the question all together.

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