IAIA - Institute of American Indian Arts

MFA Program

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The Commission on Higher Education approved IAIA’s low residency Masters in Fine Arts Creative Writing Program in 2013, which had been several years in planning.  The inaugural class of graduate students from all over the country will convene during the week of the IAIA Writers Festival to begin their two-year program.  The visiting faculty will mentor a student one-on-one for a 16-week semester on creative writing, screenwriting, poetry and creative non-fiction. 

Logo for IAIA MFA program

IAIA MFA Program

Students during their graduate studies, which allows them to work and live in their hometowns while completing the program, will produce a full-length collection of poems or stories, a novel or novella, a book-length creative nonfiction manuscript, or a feature screenplay. They also will meet with editors, publishers, and producers and network with faculty mentors and visiting writers. When students are in residence in Santa Fe they will meet with several industry professionals, including Chris Merrill, director of the International Writing Program; Michael Wiegers, executive editor at Copper Canyon Press; and Nicole Winstanley, president of Penguin Canada.  During the IAIA Writers Festival, students will also attend all events and read their own work.

In the past 22 years, IAIA BFA and AA creative writing students have produced 25 books with reputable presses and have gone on to excel in top graduate programs, including Brown and Cornell universities, and the Iowa Writers Workshop. Alumni have also won two Wallace Stegner Fellowships, seven American Book Awards, two Whiting Writers Awards, a Lannan Literary Award, just to name a few.  According to IAIA MFA Creative Writing Director Jon Davis, it was only natural for IAIA to continue its legacy with an MFA program focusing on Native writers and writing.

Aside from reasonable costs, what makes this program unique is that 85% of the faculty are Native American.  “For the aspiring Native writer, this is a chance to work with established elders in the Native writing community,” Jon says. “For the non-Native, it’s a chance to immerse him or herself in a vital tradition of American literature. One-fourth of the literature read in every course will be authored by Native writers. The residencies will be on Native ground. There will be a sense of ownership and community.”

For more information about IAIA’s MFA program, contact:

Jon  Davis,  Director
MFA Creative Writing
(505) 424-2365

Or visit our MFA program pages.