Thursday, July 05, 2007

Tom Kealey, MFA Blog Contributor

Tom Kealey is the author of the Creative Writing MFA Handbook. He teaches creative writing at Stanford University, including classes in fiction, creative nonfiction, new media writing, and the graphic novel.

He lives in San Francisco and is at work on his two novels Thieves I've Known and The Winged Girl.

More at

Tom's interests on the MFA Blog include, well, everything. But especially just getting well-intentioned people together to talk about their shared experiences.


jfischof said...

how does one go about becoming an MFA contributor?

Nick Young said...

I, too, am wondering the same thing.

As well, does anyone know of anybody currently attending Florida State's program? I wanted to see ask a few questions of them - what professors are good, what classes to take, what the city of Tallahassee is really like, etc.

Tom Kealey said...

You can email me with a paragraph about yourself and what you can contribute to the blog. It's tom.kealey at


Anonymous said...

Do you have an opinion on St. Andrew's MLitt degree or PhD program?

Many thanks,


emilybobb said...

Dear Tom,
I just wanted to say thank you for your book. I wish I would have had a book like that when I was applying to my M.S. in School Psychology. I have a few questions. One being I am feeling a little nervous that all schools are telling me that the only thing they really look at is the writing sample. This is difficult for me because I feel like it really depends on who's hands my writing falls into and what type of writing each review might like. Any words of advice.
Also I was wondering if you had any other programs to add to the list in your book. I am concerned about only applying to program that have less than a 15% acceptance rate and was wondering if you had any other suggestions for good programs. I feel that my writing is strong enough to get into the majority of the programs you recommended. However, I want to have some schools as a back up just in case I am rejected. Perhaps a school with decent funding?
Thank you

Mike Saye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda Miller said...

Hi Tom,
I'm so grateful for this blog. It's been a great source of information for me as my MFA plans evolve. I'm a nonfiction writer. I just wrote to my mentor and asked what she thinks of low-residency programs. She said she figures I won't get the same sense of community I would get from a "normal" program, that I would be missing out. Of course that immersion in the writing world is part of the beauty of going back to school. But I live in rural Wyoming and I want to write about this community. There's no reason I couldn't pick up and move. I'm not married, no kids. I plan to quit my job to do this anyway. But if I can't take my subject matter with me the way I could if I wanted to write memoir or fiction, can I get enough out of a low-res program? Also, advise on the best "normal" nonfiction programs, especially if I want to stay in the northish West. Oregon, Washington and Colorado all seem to be a miss. I like Montana though.

Chekhov said...

Hi Tom,
Some of your readers might enjoy our new University of New Hampshire MFA fiction blog. The backbone of the blog are the posts put up as we workshop stories, but we cover all topics, and soon will have pics of poker night, and our thursday nights at the Knot (an Irish Bar) in Durham, from which I just wandered home.
If your readers have no sort of internal sense of the level of discussion at an MFA program, or at least OUR newish and friendlyish MFA program, they can pick up the vibe pretty quick at the blog.
The fiction blog is We will have poetry and nonfiction blogs soon. If you have problems getting on let me know.
All Best,
Tom Paine, Asst. Professor, UNH MFA

Xtina in China said...

Hey Tom -

Your book was very helpful when I applied to MFA programs a few years ago. I thank you. I just wanted to mention that I ended up at the University of Wyoming, and I'm finishing up in May. Now everyone who is accepted here gets full funding. The faculty is absolutely amazing and I feel like although we're still an "up and coming" program, UW deserves some more love! I'm here for CNF, but the fiction and poetry programs are strong as well. In the two years I've been here, in addition to my full GA, I've also been able to garner financial support for trips to China, northern Canada, upstate New York, and to do research around the state of Wyoming. Every person in the program also received a summer stipend of $2500 between year one and year two. I haven't heard of many programs who support students in these incredible ways.

Christina Ingoglia

Danny said...

Dear Tom,

I missed the boat on MFA applications in 2008. I'm wondering if this site will be the best resource in finding out updates on guest writers/faculty members for next year. It seems to me knowing which writers are teaching the craft is everything in such a choice, even given the history of such and such program. How would you recommend staying updated on such developments

For example, I never would've guessed Denis Johnson held a seat at the university my parents graduated from, a place I always considered a little university, and a place I skirted for my undergrad.


world@bu said...

The Boston University MFA in Creative Writing is happy to let everyone know about new travel awards in fiction, poetry, and playwriting.

A generous donor has made it possible for us to send a good number of our students abroad after they complete the two semesters of our workshops.  
Those chosen may go to any country and do there what they wish, for a typical stay of three months.   We are sending one fifth of our students off in the summer of 2009 to three different continents; in the summer of 2010 we hope to support similarly up to one half of our graduating class.  

For information about the program, please contact, or visit and

Brady Evan Walker said...

What's the scoop on the Tisch School MFA in Dramatic Writing?

Perpetua said...

Hi Tom,

I need help. Your book has literally been my bible this whole time but now I'm in a bind. Any chance you might weigh in on BGSU vs UNLV?

I don't have much time to decide and I am international applicant so unaware of the more finer details of the programmes.

AdamAnt said...

Hi Tom.
Your book has been incredibly helpful to me in organizing and preparing for application to MFA programs.

There is an brief Q&A in there with Johanna Foster, a graduate of Trinity College's MA in creative writing. Having studied abroad I checked it out, and as per my past experience enrolled in a university over there, the program outline makes little sense to this American student.

Is there a list somewhere similar to the one in your book of creative writing MFA's abroad? Preferably in the British Isles and Ireland? And how exactly do they differ from our programs?