Watershed Lit: Center for Literary Engagement and Publishing Practice

Launched in 2020, Watershed Lit: Center for Literary Engagement and Publishing Practice prepares students for professional pathways in the arts and teaches them how to build communities around literature. Over the years, Mason Creative Writing has created, nurtured, and entered into partnerships with entities that share our passion for the literary arts and complement our mission as an arts program. Today, these partners have come together to form Watershed Lit so that our students (MFA and BFA) have unprecedented opportunities to develop a variety of publishing skills and deepen their commitment to literary citizenship.

Fall For the Book

Since its inaugural festival in 1998, Fall for the Book has blossomed into a year-round celebration of the literary arts with a signature multi-day October extravaganza. It features nearly 150 of writers representing multiple genres, including Mason alumni. The festival attracts 15,000 people and turns the entire area into a literary mecca for readers and writers from around the region.

Stillhouse Press

Founded in 2014 by creative writing program alumni, Stillhouse Press is one of the country’s few MFA university “teaching presses,” an operational imprint publishing books by writers from across the country and managed by students with the guidance of industry experts. Its first title was Helen on 86th Street and Other Stories, by late Mason MFA alumnae Wendi Kaufman. Today, Stillhouse typically publishes two titles per year plus a contest winner rotated among genres.

Poetry Daily

Since 1997, Poetry Daily has been an online reading space that brings news and information about poetry, poets, and the world of poetry publications to thousands of readers. In early 2019, upon the retirement of its founders, Poetry Daily came to Mason where MFA faculty and students assumed the journal’s curation, publication, and administration. A significant pedagogical component was developed for students and a new website was launched in April 2019, unveiling a more robust, more user-friendly experience.

Cheuse Center for International Writers

Established in honor of the late author, critic, and Mason MFA faculty member Alan Cheuse, the Cheuse Center for International Writers hosts diverse writers from around the world while developing opportunities for Mason students to conduct research abroad. It enriches the artistic and intellectual communities of George Mason University, the metropolitan region of Washington, D.C., and literary organizations around the globe.

Northern Virginia Writing Project

With a community of over eight hundred teacher-leaders who have attended NVWP’s Teacher Summer Institute, NWP believes that teachers are the most effective teachers of other teachers. It shares the latest research on teaching writing and incorporates writing experiences into its teacher institute, graduate classes, and professional development. 

Literary Journals

The graduate literary journals phoebe and So To Speak, in partnership with the Office of Student Media, publish work by writers from across the country in both print and digital editions.

In the early 1970s, Richard and Robert Bausch started phoebe during their pre-MFA-program days, then immediately folded it into the new degree program. phoebe prides itself on supporting up-and-coming writers whose style, form, voice, and subject matter demonstrate a vigorous appeal to the senses, intellect, and emotions of its readers. It publishes one print and one online issue per year.

So to Speak was founded in 1993 by an editorial collective of women MFA candidates and has served as a space for feminist writing and art for more than 25 years. As the journal has evolved over the years, so have its editors’ outlooks on feminism; they believe in an intersectional feminist outlook that includes, advocates for, and amplifies the perspectives and experiences of marginalized women and nonbinary people.