Congrats, Sonja Mongar!

Congratulations to MFA mentor Sonja Mongar on the publication of her novel! Check out her website to read some of the great reviews and order a copy:


Posted in MFA General | 1 Comment

Summer Master Class

Dear Students,

On Tuesday, August 7th, our Housatonic Book Award winner in nonfiction, Peter Selgin, will lead a master class (see description below). Participants in this class will submit (in advance) first pages of their own works-in-progress. These first pages may be fiction or nonfiction, should be between 250 and 300 words long, and mailed as word.doc attachments no later than a week before the residency. From among submitted first pages, a selection will be duplicated and handed out during the seminar.

Please send your submissions to Peter at

In the Beginning: A First Page Seminar/Workshop

Readers are rude. While they have no obligation to read our stories, we’re obliged to claim and keep their interest. As soon as we set down the first words to a novel, memoir, or story, we begin creating a world, one with its own laws and limits. Line-by-line, we establish the covenants of that world for the reader and for ourselves, the rules to which we’ll be bound for the duration of the work, we lay down the laws of the worlds they will inhabit for as long as they keep reading. Or they’ll reject our worlds and go on about some other business.


In this seminar we’ll discuss the first pages of published works, anonymous unpublished works, and your own works-in-progress. We’ll examine great openings of works classic and contemporary, from DeFoe to Dickens to James M. Cain and Marilyn Robinson. We’ll look at fiction as well as nonfiction/memoirs, and discuss the thorny choices authors face in deciding how, when, and where to enter their stories. We’ll discover, too, how many if not most of the concerns raised by a work of narrative prose are embodied in its first 300 words, how a first page is a harbinger, the canary in the coal mine. Does it sing, or die?


Suggested reading: YOUR FIRST PAGE: first pages and what they tell us about the pages that follow them, by Peter Selgin

Posted in MFA General | Leave a comment

Poor Yorick at Byrd’s Books!

Greetings, MFA Community:

On June 5th at 6:00pm, Byrd’s Books in Bethel will host a reading and open mic for our literary journal, Poor Yorick. Come hear some of our recently published pieces and share some of your own work. We will also welcome our new editor, Becky Shaw.

I hope you can join us!

All the best,


Posted in MFA General | Leave a comment

Agent Meetings – Summer Residency

Dear Students:

I hope all is well and that you’re enjoying the start of your summer break! In preparation for the summer residency, I’m passing along information about an exciting opportunity to meet with a literary agent in August. On Tuesday, August 7th from 3-5pm, West Conn will host an agent panel featuring the following three agents:

Connor Goldsmith:

Saba Sulaiman:

Rita Rosenkrantz:

Each agent will give a brief talk about their work and publishing trends, then they will meet with students individually. If you’re interested in meeting with an agent, please take a moment to review their profiles and decide which one would be a good match for your work. Then, by June 15th, send me a query letter and the first 10-pages of your project. Let me know which agent you would like to meet with. I will then pass along your materials to him/her (please do not contact them directly). While this opportunity is open to all students, graduating students will receive priority. If you do not get a chance to meet with an agent at this residency, there will be additional opportunities at future residencies.

If you have any questions, please let me know. More information about the summer residency and confirmation of your fall courses will be available soon!

All the best,


Posted in MFA General | Leave a comment

Conference Opportunity

cropped-sample3The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association is holding a conference in the fall in Worchester, MA. (October 19-20) This is a very interesting organization that holds presentations and events around all kinds of popular culture. I’ve presented on Star Wars, Experimental Novels, and the Visual and Graphics in Journalism. This is a great place to write a paper, present, and meet a lot of smart and creative people writing on some really fascinating topics. Panels and other elements are also available.

Deadline for presentations June 1, 2018. 

Check out their website. If you are not a member but want to present or attend, your membership is part of the conference fee.

Link to the conference

Link to the website

Posted in MFA General | Leave a comment

Congratulations, Graduates!

Dear Spring 2018 Graduates–

Congratulations! It pains me to say so, but I am unable to attend this year’s commencement, as I will be in DC attending my daughter’s commencement. But I wanted to let you all know how proud I am of the work you all have done in the program. I look forward to all your future successes!


Posted in MFA General | 5 Comments

2018 Housatonic Book Awards

WestConn MFA in Creative & Professional Writing

Greetings, MFA Community –

The 2018 Housatonic Book Awards are open for submissions!

Please help me spread the word by sharing this info. with your networks.

Thank you!


View original post

Posted in MFA General | Leave a comment