WHAT MAKES THE CCNY MFA IN CREATIVE WRITING DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PROGRAMS?

“Diversity. We’re located in Harlem. Our unofficial tagline is “Ten times the diversity for one tenth the price,” because we’re also comparatively affordable. Last year The New Yorker ran a piece called “MFA vs. POC” [people of color] by Junot Diaz that went viral. His argument was that predominantly white workshops often feel alienating, dismissive, and outright hostile to writers of color. In contrast with the MFA programs he was criticizing, our program is more reflective of what the U.S.A. actually looks like–certainly what NYC actually looks like. We have students of all backgrounds in terms of race, ethnicity, nationality, and age. No one group is the majority, and therefore none of the work is treated like minority literature. There are radical implications for the kinds of work our students are putting out into the world for it to be nurtured, respected, celebrated, and intelligently critiqued in the classroom. Another thing that sets our program apart is its strong sense of community. Our students have a great deal of affection for one another. They’re loving rather than competitive.”

Emily Raboteau, Professor
Publisher’s Weekly, May 2015

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