Creative Writing MA/MFA

Follow your passion, write your story and work to get published. Join the more than 600 writers from around the globe who have chosen Wilkes to advance their craft in a variety of writing genres.

Apply Now

Why Study Creative Writing at Wilkes?

At Wilkes, we focus on the craft, community, and career of writing. Industry feedback is an incredible benefit to aspiring writers. That is why each creative thesis is read and evaluated by a working agent, editor, publisher, or producer. These outside readers provide detailed notes about your work and review them with you during a one-on-one residency meeting.

This focus on the profession of writing, along with the dedication of our faculty (who "stay with you" even after you graduate), has propelled our creative writing MA/MFA students to an exceptional level of success after graduation, resulting in hundreds of published or produced works.

Curriculum      Admission Requirements     Course Sequences (.pdf)

What Will You Learn?

  • Learn how to live like a writer, building a writing plan, schedule and practice that encourages discipline and supports and sustains your creative process.
  • Learn to tell your story in a way that engages the audience—exploring genres, experimenting with writing conventions, and mastering the presentation of your work so it can be shared with the world.
  • Focus on developing your craft with concentrations in fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, poetry, spoken word, or publishing.
  • Revise with intention—for that's where the “real writing” begins. Process notes and feedback, translating them into actionable edits that make your project shine through revision.
  • Learn to get published/produced. Learn ways to share your finalized manuscript with editors, publishers and producers, and how to pitch your project when given the opportunity. We do this by offering you that training and practice while you’re in the program!


Program Highlights

Accomplished Alumni

Our creative writing MA/MFA program boasts of not just several but hundreds of published or produced alumni. That’s because our faculty don’t say good-bye when you leave our program; rather, as they put it, “We stay with you.”

Review by Agents and Editors

Every student’s thesis is read by a professional agent, editor, director or producer, providing valuable feedback, advice for the manuscript's eventual publication/production, and insight into the publishing world.

Scholarships and Graduate Assistantships

Most low-residency MFA programs can’t offer scholarships, but our program has six of them, and six graduate assistantships (with Etruscran Press, Kaylie Jones Books and Blue Moon/HaveScripts) to help make our already low tuition more affordable.

Alumnus wins the Man Booker Prize

Wilkes alumnus Marlon James MA ’06 won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. He is the first Jamaican author to win the prize, considered one of the most prestigious prizes in literature.

Read the Story

Marlon James

Careers & Outcomes

In addition to publishing and producing more than 1,000 literary works, our creative writing MA/MFA graduates go on to work as professors, editors, teachers, literary agents, directors of reading series, script writers for video games, high school teachers, book reviewers, freelance writers/editors, public relations or marketing directors, and in a variety of writing or writing-related jobs.

Marlon James

Marlon James MA '06, Fiction


Brian Fanelli MFA '10, Poetry


Adrienne Pender MFA '11, Playwriting


Morowa Yejide MFA '12, Fiction


Nisha Sharma MFA '14, Fiction


Leah Vernon MFA '15, Nonfiction

Andre Carter headshot

I arrived for the January residency and the community experience was as advertised. I was able to engage with faculty on day one in a way I would not have dreamed of. My writing cohort sealed the deal.

Andre Lewis Carter MFA ’18 Author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, published by Kaylie Jones Books, 2022.

Vibrant Writing Community

Our writing community is incredible. Successful writers in their own right, our faculty members, outside readers and advisory board members come together to support and mentor students in the program.

Notable names include:

  • Ibrahim Ahmad, Executive Editor at Viking Press
  • Beverly Donofrio, Riding in Cars with Boys
  • Susan Cartsonis, Resonate Entertainment
  • Kaylie Jones, Kaylie Jones Books
  • Ken Liu, winner of the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy, and FantLab Awards
  • Tim Seibles, Poet Laureate of Virginia
  • Johnny Temple, Publisher at Akashic Press
  • Chris Tomasino, The Tomasino Agency
  • William J. Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Ross Klavan, Tigerland
  • Marlon James MA ’06, A Brief History of Seven Killings
  • J. Michael Lennon, Norman Mailer: A Double Life

In addition to our talented faculty, board members and outside readers, Wilkes has created partnerships with several nationally known organizations.

Nationally Renowned

Our program regularly ranks as one of the top Creative Writing programs in the nation.

  • Best Colleges' Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing Programs (2021, #3)
  • College Rank's Best Online Master’s in Creative Writing Programs (2021, #2)
  • College Choice' Best Online MFA in Creative Writing Programs (2022, #4)

Second Annual LitFest

June 18-23, 2022

A week of literary readings, a Juneteenth Celebration, book signings, craft lessons and food trucks!


  • “Journey of the Book” talk with YA romance writer Nisha Sharma and sci-fi novelist Ken Liu.
  • Juneteenth celebration of Black authors and poets.
  • A staged reading of an original play by playwright/performer Christine Renee Miller.
  • An evening with National Book Award finalist Tim Seibles, novelist Morowa Yejide, fictionist/essayist Ru Freeman, and The New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot.

All events free and open to the public. Events will take place under a tent on the Fenner Quadrangle outside the Farley Library. In case of inclement weather, events will be moved to the Henry Student Center Ballroom, located on the second floor. Food trucks will be on site, and attendees are welcome to bring chairs or blankets for a casual evening in celebration of the written word.

Saturday, June 18

Journey of a Book

7 p.m.

An interview with YA romance writer Nisha Sharma and sci-fi novelist Ken Liu on the publication of their new books, followed by short readings and book signings.

Sunday, June 19


6 p.m.

Join us for music, food, readings and book signings by contemporary black writers! (Readings start at 7 p.m.)

  • R. Alan Brooks, Graphic Narrative
  • Shanta Lee Gander, Poetry
  • Felice Belle, Poetry
  • Christopher John Farley, YA

Monday, June 20

Alumni Readings

4:30 p.m.
  • Jen Bokal
  • Jackie Fowler
  • Suzanne Ohlmann
  • Barb Taylor

Faculty Readings

7 p.m.
  • David Hicks
  • Taylor Polites
  • Robin McCrary
  • Nancy McKinley

Tuesday, June 21

Faculty Readings

7 p.m.
  • J. Michael Lennon
  • Robert Mooney
  • Kaylie Jones
  • Phil Brady

Wednesday, June 22

Faculty Readings

Drama Night!
7 p.m.
staged readings of original plays
  • Christine Renee Miller
  • Gregory Fletcher

Thursday, June 23

Featured Readings

7 p.m.
  • Morowa Yejide, Novelist
  • Ru Freeman, Stories/Essays
  • Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker journalist
  • Tim Seibles, Poet