The MFA in Creative Writing Program at Manhattanville College

The 31st Annual Summer Writers’ Week

Manhattanville College’s MFA program welcomes registrations for its 31st annual Summer Writers’ Week, June 23-27, 2014. Afternoon sessions are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of events, click here: Summer Writers Week 14 Schedule

Find the full schedule of events here.

Summer Writers’ Week offers writers an opportunity to spend an intensive week working closely with some of the country’s finest writers and teachers of writing. Enjoy workshops in Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction (Memoir/Autobiography), and Children’s/Young Adult Writing.

Here’s what participants have to say about Summer Writers’ Week:

Writers at all stages of development are invited sign up for one of five workshops that meet each morning from 9am to noon. This year we have an exceptional line-up of workshop teachers for Summer Writers’ Week:

POETRY: Claudia Rankine

Summer Writers’ Week at Manhattanville College will also feature keynote readings and book signings by each of our guest faculty; intensives that focus on particular aspects of the creative and editorial process; and afternoon sessions exploring the place of writing in the community and the practical world.

our annual Agents Panel with guests from some of New York’s most well-respected literary agencies; Lit Mags & Literary Communities, a discussion with editors and publishers on the role of literary journals in creating a space for literature; and a conversation with guests from the Teachers & Writers Collaborative, an organization that provides a variety of resources to support innovative learning through the literary arts. Summer Writers’ Week concludes with a reading by student writers who have participated in the week-long workshops.

Keep up to date on all the news from Summer Writers’ Week by following our Facebook page.



Aspiring writers who want to create new work or refine a project already in progress join seasoned writers and MFA students from Manhattanville.


Ed Park // Only Connect

The romantic view of the creative writer portrays the author as a free spirit, unleashing the soul’s contents directly onto the page. This class offers a useful corrective, exploring a wide variety of forms, methods, and constraints that paradoxically inspire by grounding the creative impulse. In-class readings and prompts are inspired by such writers as Nicholson Baker, Maggie Nelson, the mystery novelist Harry Stephen Keeler, and the members of the Oulipo.

park_headshotED PARK is the author of the novel Personal Days, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award and one of Time‘s top 10 fiction titles of the year. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and his essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Bookforum, and many other publications. He is a founding editor of the Believer and the former editor of the Village Voice Literary Supplement. He is currently a book editor in New York.

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts // Peculiar Crossroads: the Writing of Place

Together we will set out to write the places we know well and discover locations where we stumble as strangers. We will read some of my favorite writers who are grounded in place, write during class, make imaginary maps and study real ones. Our investigations will circle one place in a fraught present-tense, catapult backward into deep time, and onward into dreamed-of futures. Importantly, we will be there: discussing how and whether the narrator’s voice can be used to illuminate literary journeys.

Rhodes Pitt CropSHARIFA RHODES-PITTS is the author of Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America, which was named one of 100 Notable Books of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and nominated for a National Book Critic’s Circle Award. She is working on a trilogy on black utopias, her next book will be about Haiti. She is a 2012 recipient of the Whiting Writer’s Award, a current fellow of The Nation Institute, and instigates projects at the crossroads of art and social justice under the auspices of The Freedwomen’s Bureau.

Kashmira Sheth // Bringing a Setting Alive

Setting is the foundation of a story; it guides the journey of the protagonist(s). How the characters interact with the setting and how the place shapes the characters and their journey are vital elements of a story. Keeping this in mind, in this class we will examine setting in a broad sense—as a physical place, as a historical moment, and as a cultural milieu. We will discuss how setting provides motivation and action to bring characters to life and to make their struggles believable. We will also look at how it creates emotional responses from the readers and elicits their empathy. Finally, we will explore how setting lends a unique voice to a story and centers it. Please come prepared to do writing exercises using sensory details as well as emotional depth.

Sheth cropKASHMIRA SHETH is the author of several picture books, middle-grade novels, and young-adult fiction, including Boys without Names and Keeping Corner. Her books have received many awards including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adult, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, International Reading Association’s Notable Book for a Global Society and the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association Honor Award. Her books have been translated in more than half a dozed foreign languages including French, Korean, and Turkish. Kashmira was born and raised in India and comes from a family of storytellers. Besides reading books written in English, she is a life long lover of Gujarati literature and Hindi poetry.

Claudia Rankine // Creating the Hybrid Poem

What can the line give you that the sentence can’t? What can a photo suggest that the sentence can’t? What can prose do that the lyric can’t? We will consider writers using a cross-genre approach to achieve their final project. By navigating these texts, we will learn strategies to bring to our own work. Suggested readings: Red Doc by Anne Carson; Dictee by Theresa Cha; Bough Down by Karen Green; Humanimal by Bhanu Kapil; The Black Automaton by Douglas Kearney; and Young Tambling by Kate Greenstreet.

rankine crop edit

CLAUDIA RANKINE is the author of four collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely (Graywolf, 2004), as well as the plays, Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue, commissioned by the Foundry Theatre, and Existing Conditions, co-authored with Casey Llewellyn. Her next book, Citizen: An American Lyric is forthcoming from Graywolf in 2014. She is co-editor of the American Poets in the Twenty-First Century series published by Wesleyan University Press; as well as founder of the OPEN LETTER PROJECT: Race and the Creative Imagination. She has also produced “The Situation” videos in collaboration with John Lucas. A recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poetry and the National Endowments for the Arts, she teaches at Pomona College.


Too often, writers tend to view revising and editing as the drudgery that comes after creativity. In this editing intensive, Andrew Hsiao will lead participants to rethink the practice of revising and editing as another formative, imaginative, and crucial aspect of writing. Referring to some examples of writer-editor interactions and using illustrations from his own editorial work with authors, Hsiao will give participants new strategies for thinking about and practicing editing as part of the process of creation. Your future editors will thank you for it.

Andrew Hsiao is the American editor of Verso Books, an independent publishing house based in London and New York. He is a founder and coordinator of CultureStrike, which involves artists and writers in the immigration movement, and a founder and producer of Asia Pacific Forum on WBAI 99.5FM and The Communique on WNYE 91.5FM. He was the executive editor of The New Press and a senior editor and staff writer for The Village Voice, and has written about politics, immigration, race, labor, media, books, film, theater, and sports for The Voice, The New York Times, The Washington Post, American Theatre, Spin, and other publications.

While your conscious mind takes all the credit, it is your unconscious mind that’s the artist. Discover your own, always pressing to be heard but all too often overlooked
inner voice, during this fun, interesting, and insightful group interactive classroom experience.

Lee Stringer’s journey from childhood homelessness in the ‘60s, to adult homelessness in the ‘80s, to his present career as a writer and lecturer, as told in Sleepaway School and Grand Central Winter, is one of the great odysseys of contemporary American life and letters. Stringer, the only board member of Project Renewal who is also a former patient of the facility, has demonstrated that writers are made, not born. He is the author with Kurt Vonnegut of Like Shaking Hands with God, and is the two-time recipient of the Washington Irving Award and, a Lannan Foundation Residency. He is a former editor and columnist of Street News. His essays and articles have appeared in a variety of other publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, and Newsday. He lives in Mamaroneck, New York, where he also serves on the board of the Mamaroneck Public Libraries.


Literary Agents from some of the top US agencies will provide insider tips on getting your manuscript published.

Lit Mags & The Literary Community // Editors from innovative literary journals speak about building and engaging their communities. With Emily Brandt of No, Dear, Hafizah Geter of Phantom Limb, Patrick Ryan of One Teen Story, & James Yeh of Gigantic.

Teachers & Writers Collaborative // Joanna Furhman, David Johnson, & Janice Lowe will discuss their unique community-based creative writing workshops.

Faculty Readings with Ed Park, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Claudia Rankine & Kashmira Sheth. Book signing to follow with books be available for sale by the Manhattanville College Bookstore.

Student Reading & Reception // Summer Writers’ Week wraps up with an open reading
by participants on Thursday afternoon, with wine & cheese provided by The Manhattanville


Esther Cohen (aka, “The Book Doctor”) will meet daily with students for one-on-one manuscript consultation sessions. To sign up for an Individual Manuscript Consultation, you must submit 20 pages of your manuscript with your registration.


To register, download, complete and submit the registration form along with payment by June 6, 2014. Find the daily schedule here.


Students seeking graduate credit will be required to attend all morning workshops and afternoon events, and to submit a piece of revised work-in-progress to the workshop leader at the final class meeting.


Manhattanville offers a 36-credit MFA in Creative Writing degree for writers and aspiring writers. Credits for Writers’ Week are applicable toward the degree. For more information, call (914) 323-5239 or e-mail