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DeSales Announces New Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing

by Janelle Hill Jun 15, 2018

Students can choose to specialize in fiction or poetry in this one-of-a kind, low residency MFA creative writing program.

The Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing is geared toward writers who are already working, as well as undergraduates who would like to work in publishing. Applications are being accepted now for the first cohort that will start in January 2019.

The low-residency MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing teaches you how to write and edit novels and poetry

Juilene Osborne-McKnight

“The low-residency MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing teaches you how to write and edit novels and poetry,” says Juilene Osborne-McKnight, associate professor of English. “It has a publishing arm that teaches you everything you need to know about publishing. But you do not have to quit your job and you can continue to earn your salary. That’s the advantage.”

The program is only one of three low-residency M.F.A.s in eastern Pennsylvania, and the only one in the Lehigh Valley to offer residencies both on campus and in Europe. Students will complete two residencies on the DeSales campus and two in Ireland. 

“We will be going into the pan-Celtic world,” says Osborne-McKnight. “So rather than going to the city of Dublin, we’re going into the west where it is as if you are in the year 500 B.C. It’s not the modern world and that is because we want contemplative immersion.” 

In addition to the five semester post-baccalaureate option, DeSales is also offering a five-year BA/BS to MFA, which will allow a select number of undergraduates to jump right into the program.

Students will only be in residence twice a year, for 10 days each January and 10 days each summer. In between residencies, they will be reading and writing extensively. Students can choose from a track in poetry or fiction, but all are required to also take a publishing track.

“Students will be able to craft their own paths,” says Osborne-McKnight. “Every single person who comes into the M.F.A. will have an individualized educational plan, and that IEP will be laid out for their entire time here.” 

The DeSales program also would be just the second M.F.A. program in the country to put an emphasis on spiritual writing with a “Writing in the Spirit” day during each winter residency.

“It’s a natural sort of program for DeSales because St. Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers,” says Osborne-McKnight. “He was a prolific writer. He persuades you to think through what you believe, why you believe it, and how you act on it. It fits DeSales in every way.”

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