25th Trillium Award

Hone Your Skills: Creative Nonfiction MFA at University of King's College

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From our friends at the University of King's College:

Canada?s only master?s program in Creative Nonfiction will welcome its first students in August 2013.

The University of King?s College Board of Governors and the Dalhousie University Senate have approved the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree, which will be jointly offered by the two universities.*

The MFA is a two-year limited residency program, allowing students to earn their degrees while continuing to live and work wherever they choose. Applicants, who must have a four-year undergraduate degree in any discipline, are required to submit a portfolio of up to 25 pages of nonfiction work, and are encouraged to submit their idea — or ideas — for the book projects they would like to develop in the program.

?This is a very practical program,? explains Journalism professor Stephen Kimber, one of the developers of the MFA and himself the author of eight creative nonfiction books. ?Our goal is to help students translate their book ideas into publishable manuscripts.?

During the course of their studies, students will attend two intense two-week writing-focused summer residencies on the King?s campus in Halifax and two equally intense one-week publishing-focused winter residencies, one in New York, the other in Toronto.

When they aren?t attending residencies, students will work one-to-one with some of Canada?s finest nonfiction writer-mentors while they complete their own major projects — a professional book proposal and at least 200 pages of a finished creative nonfiction book.

Although the School won?t announce the names of its initial mentors until later this winter, Kimber says he?s been ?astounded? at the number and quality of those who?ve applied to mentor in the program. ?Most are not only successful, award-winning authors in their own right, but they also have superior track records in teaching and mentoring.?

Creative nonfiction — using the techniques of novelists (plot, character, dialogue, setting, etc.) to tell true-life stories — is North America?s fastest growing literary genre. But there are no university programs in Canada and few in North America that focus on it.

?There are so many aspects to creative non-fiction that are not dreamed of in most creative writing programs,? explains Anne Collins, publisher of The Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group and herself the winner of Canada?s 1988 Governor General?s Award for Nonfiction. ?A specialist program is hugely needed, and to see such a program launched in Canada is really exciting.? Ms. Collins is one of a dozen of Canada?s best known writers, editors and publishers who have agreed to serve on the new program?s Advisory Board.

Katherine Quinsey, the former head of the Creative Writing program at the University of Windsor, says the new MFA will be ?an excellent program that speaks directly to a dominant genre in writing today, and that integrates professional practice with academic study? You are right on the money with this program,? she wrote in a letter of support for the program.

The School of Journalism is proud to offer this unique program for professional and aspiring writers,? explains Kelly Toughill, Director of the School of Journalism. ?This joint degree combines King?s long and successful record of teaching creative nonfiction at the undergraduate level with Dalhousie University?s expertise in graduate education. Students will get the best of both worlds. We are eager to welcome the first class this summer.?

Don Sedgwick, the former President of Doubleday Canada, Chair of TransAtlantic Literary Agency and a part-time lecturer at King?s, has been appointed as the new program?s Executive Director.

The first residency will take place in Halifax from August 4-18, 2013.

For additional information, please contact:
Terra-Lee Bruhm, Assistant Registrar, Admissions. [email protected]

* Pending formal approval by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission.

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