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Emerson creative writing program

Creative Writing (MFA)

Emerson’s Creative Writing (MFA) program focuses on the practice of writing and its literary foundations and is one of the longest-running programs of its kind.

We know writing is your life. That’s why our Creative Writing (MFA) focuses on the actual practice of writing, as well as its literary foundations. Our MFA program boasts some of the most impressive faculty in writing and publishing, is home to two award-winning literary journals and is strongly connected to the Boston publishing community.

Focus on your passion, choosing from the areas of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and explore writing as both an art form and a professional pursuit.

About Us

EmersonWRITES is an urban, creative writing program offering FREE college-style workshops to students grades 8-12 enrolled in a Greater Boston public or charter school. Our teachers are graduate students in Emerson’s MFA/MA program in Writing and Publishing, and have been trained to teach college-level writing in the award-winning Writing Studies/First-Year Writing Program. EmersonWRITES is guided by the principle that writing is essential to intellectual engagement, self-representation, and access to opportunity. Our program seeks to foster individual voice and empowerment through the written word.

Course Offerings include:

Fiction, including the short story, YA, sci-fi, fantasy, the graphic novel and other alternative forms of storytelling.

Poetry, including spoken word poetry, found poetry, traditional verse forms, and more.

Nonfiction, including personal essay and memoir, journalism, humor writing.

EmersonPUBLISHES: For students enrolled in EmersonWRITES, each year we offer a four-week workshop in January and February on what it takes to publish a literary anthology. Students learn publishing software, revision and copy-editing skills, and visual design, and work on a small team to help create the annual anthology, SPINE.

Enrichment Workshops and College-Access Programming: Students enrolled in EmersonWRITES will have access to extra workshops and sessions that vary each year, with no extra sign-up necessary. Sessions in the past have included:

Writing the College Admission Essay – Co-taught by Admission Officers and graduate MFA students

Hosting a Radio Show – Taught by a radio host at WERS

Spoken Word and Slam Poetry – Taught by MFA alum and host of Mr. Hip Presents, a local poetry reading series

Getting Published – A guide to sending your work to journals and magazines, taught by current graduate MFA students

Understanding Financial Aid – Taught by Financial Aid Officers from Emerson

Annual EmersonWRITES Showcase: The end of each year, students present their written work in open-mic style showcase for friends, family and the Emerson College community. This free event is held on campus and each attendee will receive a copy of the SPINE publication.

Community Service – Children’s Book Drive: Not only do our student love writing words, they love giving the gift of literacy to local children. In 2015, we collected 200 gently used children’s books from EmersonWRITES students to donate to a local organization! In 2016-2019, we donated books to the Reach Out and Read Organization at Tufts Medical Center and The Robbins Center at Emerson College.

Course Schedule

Courses run from October through the end of February, and are offered both virtually on Zoom during after-school hours and in person on Saturdays. Students work toward completion of a revised portfolio of writing, and the publication of their work in our annual anthology, SPINE.

EmersonWRITES Mission Statement

EmersonWRITES is a free creative writing program for students in Greater Boston public and charter schools, co-sponsored by the Offices of Enrollment/Student Success and the First-Year Writing Program at Emerson College. EmersonWRITES is guided by the principle that writing is essential to intellectual engagement, self-representation, and access to opportunity. Students in the EmersonWRITES program engage in college-style creative writing classes on campus at Emerson College, where courses are structured to build writing and critical thinking and to guide students toward negotiating a range of writing genres and rhetorical situations. EmersonWRITES seeks to foster individual voice and engagement with the world through the written word.


Mary looks into the camera in front of a bright background.

Mary Kovaleski Byrnes is a senior lecturer in the WLP Department and a co-founder and curriculum director of EmersonWRITES. Her debut collection of poetry, “So Long the Sky” was published in 2018 by Platypus Press. She is a recipient of the 2015 Alumni Award for Teaching Innovation.

Livia smiles with her hair down wearing a blue lace top and a silver necklace.

Livia Meneghin is the Program Coordinator for EmersonWRITES. She helps with organizing program recruitment, running our website, and planning projects/events. If you have any questions on these items, or have other concerns, please email her at [email protected]

She is the author of Honey in My Hair. Her writing has found homes in BOAAT, The Academy of American Poets, Entropy, Tinderbox, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. She was born in Italy, grew up in New York, and writes about wherever she goes.

Nihal stands in the Boston Public Library garden wearing hijab and a denim jacket.

Nihal Mubarak leads our Intergenerational Narratives Project. She is a writer whose poetry and prose center on Sudanese and Sudanese-American characters and their stories. She is influenced by writers such as Leslia Nneka Arimah, Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Yaa Gyasi. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Solidago, The Gordian Review, Copper Nickel, Mizna, and elsewhere.

Alayne Fiore leads the EmPUBLISHES Program, creating our SPINE publication each year.


Christopher Grant – Founder of EmersonWRITES, Associate Director of Student Success, Emerson College
Christina Daly
– Director, Retention and Student Success, Emerson College
Steve Himmer – Senior Lecturer and First-Year Writing Program Director, Emerson College
Tamera Marko – Director, The Elma Lewis Center, Emerson College
Stephen Shane – Instructor, First-Year Writing Program, Emerson Colllege
John Trimbur – Professor and First-Year Writing Associate Director, Emerson College