Cornell's Creative Writing Program ranked among the nation's best

Cornell's Creative Writing Program has been named one of the nation's top 10.

In its summer 2007 fiction issue, The Atlantic magazine included Cornell in its list of the leading U.S. graduate writing programs. The magazine cited the quality of the program's alumni and faculty, its selectivity and its resources.

"This is a great honor," said Molly Hite, professor and chair of Cornell's Department of English. "I'm delighted that The Atlantic put us in the top 10. On the other hand, I can't say I'm surprised. Our creative writing program is stellar, both because of its illustrious faculty and because the MFA program has graduated some of the most brilliant and successful fiction writers and poets of the last 50 years."

Rather than assign numeric values, The Atlantic listed the top 10 schools alphabetically: Boston University, the University of California-Irvine, Cornell, Florida State University, the University of Iowa, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Michigan, New York University, University of Texas' Michener Center and the University of Virginia. Faculty in the Cornell program include poet Alice Fulton, winner of the MacArthur Fellowship; Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alison Lurie; and best-selling novelist Robert Morgan ("Gap Creek").

More than 500 Cornell undergraduates enroll in campus creative writing courses annually. The graduate-level master of fine arts program is highly selective and admits four poets and four fiction writers each year. The Department of English and the Creative Writing Program publish the award-winning national literary journal Epoch, on which all MFA students work as associate editors.

"Cornell MFA graduates publish more, per capita, than just about any other MFA program in the United States," said Creative Writing Program director Stephanie Vaughn, professor of English.

Alumni include best-selling fiction writers such as Melissa Bank '88 ("A Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing"), Junot Diaz '95 ("Drowned"), A. Manette Ansay '91 ("Vinegar Hill"), Thomas Pynchon '59 ("Gravity's Rainbow") and Lauren Weisberger '99 ("The Devil Wears Prada").

"Unlike the faculty at many well-known writing programs, the Cornell creative writing faculty has for decades taught both undergraduate and graduate students," Vaughn said. "As a result, there is long list of extraordinary Cornell authors who were enrolled in English department writing courses."

The Creative Writing Program, according to Hite, "is growing even stronger, most recently because of a new series of invited readings that have allowed undergraduates, graduate students and faculty to interact with top fiction writers, poets and editors."

In the fall 2007 semester, the program will bring Salman Rushdie, Sandra Cisneros, William Kennedy and other writers of note to campus. The reading series is made possible by anonymous donors.


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