The MFA-Creative Writing's faculty roster boasts an impressive list of authors and the program continues to recruit both promising students and renowned writers.
This semester Dana Spiotta joins the MFA faculty. A National Book Critics Award Finalist for her third novel, Stone Arabia, Spiotta enjoys teaching graduate writing. "I love being in a room with other people who care about writing," she said.
"When you have to explain something--why you think something works well or doesn't, for example--to someone else, you are forced to be precise. It shows that despite the fact that any artistic endeavor has a lot of mystery to it, there are concrete things that can be discussed. It makes me feel hopeful, and it gives me a sense of community."
The Queens community welcomes 86 students and 25 faculty for an intensive week of workshops in fiction, poetry, non-fiction, or stage and screen. The students come to campus twice a year, but continue to work with faculty and peers through distance learning, as part of the school's distinct low-residency program.
Spiotta brings fellowship and award stature, teaching experience, and work that is "entirely unique and her own and superb," said program director Fred Leebron. In bringing on new faculty, he seeks writers who will help Queens to have "the broadest possible aesthetic range."
The goal is to continually offer students new perspectives, agreed on-campus program director Michael Kobre. "One of the strengths of a low-residency format in particular is the ability to recruit faculty from all over the country, and we want to take advantage of that ability."
Spiotta, too, sees advantages in joining Queens' community. "Being a writer is a life of solitude," she said. "Sharing with other writers can make you work better when you return to your solitude."