Welcome to Mason Creative Writing

Welcome to Mason Creative Writing, George Mason University’s literary arts community. Founded in 1980, Mason Creative Writing combines a three-year residential MFA program, one of just 30 BFA programs in the country, and Watershed Lit: Center for Literary Engagement and Publishing Practice.


Here are some highlights of what creative writing students at Mason experience:

  • - Students in both the undergraduate and graduate programs focus on one of three concentrations – fiction, nonfiction, or poetry – while being offered a variety of ways to explore writing in other disciplines.

- Our faculty are working artists who are dedicated to teaching and mentoring emerging writers at all stages of their development.

- Currently, every student in the MFA program who requested support is fully funded (tuition waiver, stipend for the academic year) by teaching assistantships, professional assistantships, or fellowships (four third-year fellowships recognize outstanding writers in the program and support their thesis work).

- Graduate Teaching Assistants receive specialized training as writing center tutors, exceptional pedagogical instruction, and on-going support upon entering the classroom. Graduate Professional Assistants gain unparalleled experience as editors, submission readers, administrators, marketers, project managers, and team builders.

- Watershed Lit includes a nationally prominent literary festival (Fall for the Book), a student-managed “teaching press” (Stillhouse Press), a highly regarded online journal (Poetry Daily, in partnership with it founding nonprofit organization), a center for international writers (Cheuse Center), an annual writers’ conference (New Leaves), and two acclaimed literary journals (phoebe and So to Speak).

- Annual scholarships, fellowships, and contest awards supplement your education and research expenses.

- Faculty, students, and alumni publish in small and major presses, attracting critical acclaim.

- Proximity to Washington, D.C., exposes students to limitless cultural opportunities, job prospects, and community building beyond campus.

Many MFA programs offer financial support to attract students, but at Mason we also believe in providing opportunities to support students during their time here and after they graduate. Pictured here are recent alumni of the program—Sam Ashworth and Liesel Hamilton, both MFA ’18, Sofia Puente-Lay (center), MFA '20. Sam and Liesel both received travel grants from the Cheuse Center for International Writers to pursue research in Europe during their third year in the program; read about their travels and projects here. Sofia was the first recipient of the Robert Raymond Scholarship, recently formed to celebrate diversity in our student population; read an interview with Sofia here

What truly sets a fine arts program apart, however, is its faculty. Mason boasts a rich history and current team of award-winning writers. Fiction faculty include Courtney Angela Brkic, Alexia Arthurs, Helon Habila, and Tania James. Nonfiction faculty include Tim Denevi and Kyoko Mori. And poetry faculty includes Vivek Naranayan, Sally Keith, Eric Pankey, and Peter Streckfus. Full bios of each author are available on the program’s faculty page.

Mason students don’t just join a program, they become part of a community that supports each other each day and long after their degree is finished. We invite you to explore this website and to reach out to Gregg Wilhelm, Director of Creative Writing.

MFA Students Meet Margaret Atwood

MFA Students Meet Margaret Atwood

In April, a small group of MFA students shared a half-hour Q&A session alone with Margaret Atwood at Mason’s Arlington campus.