Best MFA writing program

If you’re considering an MFA in writing, you either don’t love money or don’t need to worry about it. Those of the latter stripe can cope with Columbia’s $50K price tag. The bargain seekers who can’t leave NYC should gravitate to Hunter College: In addition to a financial-aid package the school describes as “better than free,” at least one student a year gets a free ride, and most get help—often in the form of an apprenticeship with an author or publisher and/or teaching. Playwriting is handled separately by Hunter’s theater department, leaving the writing program free to inaugurate an MFA in memoir writing, one of only a handful in existence. Hunter also sports an accomplished yet diva-free faculty—the chair is Aussie novelist Peter Carey. Translation: The stars won’t be on academic leave or a book tour; you may get to work with them. Bigger names show for their intimate, free reading series: Annie Proulx visited October 4, Robert Pinsky shows up October 25. Grads include Absurdistan author Gary Shteyngart, who got into Columbia, too—as an associate professor.


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