Welcome to the
Center for Writers
The Center for Writers is the
creative writing program at The University of Southern Mississippi
in Hattiesburg, 90 miles north of New Orleans. There are forty or
more students working toward M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in fiction and poetry with
Frederick Barthelme, Angela Ball, Steven Barthelme,
Julia Johnson, and visitors such as
Lucie Brock-Broido, Francine Prose, Stephen Dobyns, Tim O'Brien,
Percival Everett, Matthew Sharpe, Amy Hempel,
Dana Gioia, Padgett Powell, Michael Waters, Mary Gaitskill, Julia Slavin,
C. Michael Curtis, and others.
The program was started by Gordon Weaver in 1971 and Frederick Barthelme was
named director in 1977. The Center is part of the
Department of English and
operates out of shared offices on the Hattiesburg campus. Writing students make
up more than half of the graduate students in the English Department, and they
come from colleges and universities all over the country, recently from
Stanford, Vassar, Michigan, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Tulane, Texas, Cornell,
Columbia, and others.
The tone of the program is serious but informal. Workshops are offered in
fiction, nonfiction prose, and poetry by the Center's distinguished faculty, and
there are the usual specialized readings courses and traditional scholarly
courses available. There is a student magazine, Product, as well as an ongoing
student reading series, and the Center also publishes the Mississippi Review
in print and
online versions and
these Web pages you're reading now.
Degrees and Financial Support
We offer the M.A. degree and the Ph.D. degree. Applications are accepted
year-round. Students generally start the program in the fall, though there are
openings and occasionally teaching assistantships in the spring. Admission is
based on writing sample, Graduate Record scores, GPA, letters of reference, Statement of
Purpose, and academic record; considerable weight is given to the writing
sample, sometimes advancing a candidacy that might otherwise seem less strong.
Teaching assistants teach two courses per semester and receive a $10,000 or
$15,000 stipend plus a full waiver of tuition and out-of-state fees. There are several types of
available for those who qualify.
The M.A. in English with creative writing emphasis is a 30-hour degree that
ordinarily takes two years to complete and culminates in a thesis that is a collection of poetry or fiction. The Ph.D. is
a 54-hour degree almost identical to the literature doctorate and is usually
completed in three years. The candidate's
major historical period is replaced by creative writing, and the dissertation is
a book-length collection of poetry or fiction, or a combination of
poetry/fiction with nonfiction literary essays. Doctoral students take up to 24 hours of workshop and
writing courses. Though not strictly required, M.A. and
Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to take a fiction, nonfiction, or poetry
workshop every semester.
Award Winners etc.
have won The Whiting Award, The Transatlantic Award,
Fiction Contest, and The Flannery O’Connor Award and have published
widely. We edit and publish
Review, run workshops, host visitors, and help our students
become better writers. We are a small program that gets large results.
Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Center among
the top 10 percent of graduate programs in creative writing nationally. See
our alumni page for books by
We hope these pages will serve
as an introduction to the Center for Writers, its students, faculty,
and activities. We hope, too, that you'll get the flavor of our program. If
you have questions about details that remain untouched here, or just
want more information, please contact
Rie Fortenberry or use
the mailing address below.
Check out the Center for Writers
Baby is the Center for Writers store at CafePress. Buy t-shirts, hoodies,
woodies, cups and mugs, cards, cap-sleeve goodies -- diverse items in