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University of texas at el paso mfa creative writing

Welcome to the Creative Writing Department

The Creative Writing Department at UTEP offers the only Bilingual MFA in the world. We understand bilingualism not as the requirement that our students speak Spanish and English but rather as the coexistence of both languages in the classroom. Students from las Americas and Europe come to our department to develop as writers under the guidance of an award-winning faculty. Our department also offers an online MFA in Creative Writing. In addition to our residential faculty, our online program offers classes and workshop by well-known visiting writers such as Heather Hartley, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Natalie Diaz, Liz Sched and Dennis Bush.

Bienvenidos al Departamento de Creación Literaria

El Departamento de Creación Literaria de UTEP ofrece la única Maestría Bilingüe en Creación Literaria en el mundo. Entendemos el biligüismo no como el requerimiento que nuestros estudiantes hablen español e inglés sino como la coexistencia de los dos idiomas en el aula de clase. Estudiantes de las Américas y Europa llegan a nuestras aulas para desarrollarse como escritores bajo la guía de una plana docente que ha recibido muchos premios literarios. Nuestro departamento también ofrece una Maestría en Creacíón Literaria en línea. Además de nuestros profesores permanentes, nuestro programa en línea ofrece clases y talleres por reconocidos escritores tales como Heather Hartley, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Natalie Diaz, Liz Sched y Dennis Bush.



  • Professor José de Piérola, in collaboration with Sun Cok, published a translation of Dracula by Bram Stoker with Lluvia Editores.
  • Current Online MFA’s student Ana Lucía Cagnoli was awarded third place in the Concurso de Letras del Fondo Nacional de las Artes (Argentina) for her book Media y extrema razón. More info, here.
  • Former CRW Master Program’s student Saúl Hernández won the 2021 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize.
  • Former CRW Master Program’s student María Isabel Pachón Varón won the Premio Internacional de Novela Breve “Rosario Castellanos” 2021 by her novel Sobre tierra quemada.

Foto: María Ramos Pacheco

  • Former CRW Master Program’s student David Cruz won the Premio Internacional Manuel Acuña 2020 by his poetry book Lazarus. To read The Prospector interview, click here .
  • Current CRW Master Program’s student Alaíde Ventura won the Premio Maurizio Achar by her novel Entre los rotos. Read an interview here.

To foster the appreciation and practice of writing, the Department of Creative Writing is launching its “2020 Bilingual Creative Writing Awards.” The competition, open to all graduate students, will accept original, unpublished work. The prizes will include a monetary award, an award letter, and publication.

Foto: Andrés D’Elia

Colombian writer Óscar Godoy Barbosa, former CRW Master Program’s student, recently won the Premio Ñ-Ciudad de Buenos Aires 2019 by his last novel Te acuerdas del mar awarded by the prestigious Argentinian journal Clarín. This book addresses the life as a sequel of the guerrilla violence and its implications.

Very recently, Professor Paula Cucurella has had the opportunity of presenting parts of the research for her book (tentative title: Poetry in Times of War. The Literary Maxim) at The American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) annual conference. Some poems and paintings from Dr. Cucurella’s first —and still unpublished—poetry book were published on the online literary magazine Marcapiel, issued recently in February. In the same magazine, Cucurella published an interview with David Johnson (University of New York at Buffalo). In addition, with occasion of the anniversary of Nicanor Parra’s death, the Chilean news site, published Cucurella’s column“La Antipoesía: una poesía pasivo-agresiva”, where she highlights the sexist and homophobic aspects of Nicanor Parra’s poetry

Professor Lex Williford was recently chosen as a Mentor for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) for Spring 2019. AWP’s mentorship program, Writer to Writer, matches emerging writers and published authors for a three-month series of modules on topics such as craft, revision, publishing, and the writing life. Prof. Williford has also served two years as a member of the Fellows Council for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), which serves as a point of communication between Fellows and the VCCA board and administration, advising the board regarding matters of vital importance to Fellows in residence.

Prof. Williford ’s novella, Balsa and Tissue Paper, is also forthcoming in Fall 2019 as a Ploughshares Solo, both as an ebook and part of the long-form perfect-bound edition of Ploughshares , edited by Ladette Randolph, who founded the series to create a venue for writers of novellas and longer-form creative nonfiction

Professor Sasha Pimentel, from CRW Program, has been awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry by the National Endowment of the Arts, which supports our nation’s poets and encourages a wide range of voices and styles.

Our professors Rosa Alcala, and Tim Hernandez were inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL), a nonprofit honor society that recognizes and celebrates literature in Texas. Induction is based on literary accomplishments, according to the group’s website. The TIL’s elected membership consists of the state’s most respected writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, journalism and scholarship.


Demasiada luz para hacer poesía by Paula Cucurella with a prologue by Jacques Lezra and images by Felipe Cooper, is a hybrid poetic work (poetry, vignettes, narratives, images) that explores scenes that border and exhort absence and resistance in language. This book coordinates various techniques to highlight a limit, a point of contact, relationships, borders and edges, where language in its communicative function unravels inviting its re-articulation.

Balsa and Tissue Paper by Lex Williford. Ploughshares is an award-winning journal of new writing. Since 1971, Ploughshares has discovered and cultivated the freshest voices in contemporary American literature, and now provides readers with thoughtful and entertaining literature in a variety of formats. Find out why the New York Times named Ploughshares “the Triton among minnows.”

Entre los rotos by Alaíde Ventura (Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, 2019) is a novel about the intimacy of violence, the complicity between siblings and the labyrinth, whether gloomy or bright, that every memory is.

Kafka in a Skirt is not your ordinary short story collection. In his newest work, Daniel Chacón subverts expectation and breaks down the walls of reality to create stories that are intriguing, hilarious, and deeply rooted in Chicano culture.

On En las praderas del fin del mundo (Valparaíso Ediciones, 2019), Andrea Cote pursuits her self-knowledge through a reflexive, but evocative verse.

Fabulations by José de Piérola (New York: Kernpukt Press, 2018). Flowers that grow from light bulbs. Bullets stopped by an iPod. A ship and woman taken apart piece by piece. Fabulations is a collection of minimalist short stories that straddle history and fiction, fact and imagination.

New and Selected Poems of Cecilia Vicuña edited by Rosa Alcalá (Kelsey Street Press, 2018). Cecilia Vicuña has embodied a life of political and social activism through poetry, visual art, film and performance. New and Selected Poems of Cecilia Vicuña is a telling of old cultures, modern nation states and lives in exile.

All They Will Call You by Tim Z. Hernandez (The University of Arizona Press, 2018), is the harrowing account of “the worst airplane disaster in California’s history,” which claimed the lives of thirty-two passengers, including twenty-eight Mexican citizens—farmworkers who were being deported by the U.S. government.

Connect With Us

The University of Texas at El Paso
Department of Creative Writing
Education Building, Room 901

The Desert Nights, Rising Stars
Writers Conference

The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Creative Writing

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Exhibitor 2019

About The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Creative Writing

The only one of its kind in the U.S., the MFA at The University of Texas at El Paso offers a fully bilingual (Spanish and English) course of study in fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, literary translation and non-fiction. We understand bilingualism not as the requirement that our students speak Spanish and English but rather as the coexistence of both languages in the classroom. Students from Latin America, Spain, and the USA come to our department to develop as writers under the guidance of an award-winning faculty.