Meet the Chair

Chair of MFA Writing Leslie Roberts


As chair of the Graduate Writing program at California College of the Arts, I’m pleased to be among the first to thank you for your interest in joining our community. It is my privilege to lead the MFA program and to lead this faculty of renowned writers. We hope you choose our community to advance your creative practice and career as a writer. I am glad you found us and look forward to sharing why MFA Writing at CCA is a vibrant creative community. We are a community invested in all voices and all forms: We are unique in that we do not ask that students identify with a single genre and as a result we teach traditional craft as well as hybridity, flexibility, and experimentation.


CCA MFA in Writing offers students a nourishing, rigorous environment -- and I think our students’ recent success is the best way to tell that story.

Recent alumni books from acclaimed presses, many lauded in The New York Times Book Review, include: Molly Prentiss’s Tuesday Nights in 1980 (Scout Press, 2016); Julie Lythcott-Haimes, How to Raise an Adult (Henry Holt, 2015) and Real American (Henry Holt, 2017); Sonia Belasco (Speak of Me as I Am, Philomel Books, 2017); Catie Jarvis, The Peacock Room (Hyperborea Press, 2016); Andrew S. Nicholson, A Lamp Brighter Than Foxfire, (Colorado State University, 2015); Steffi Drewes, Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow (Kelsey Street Press, 2016).


Does it matter where you write? Yes, it does. Biking to nearby Mission District for a burrito, working in our quiet garden studio in SF Design District, walking tall hills to spy the big red bridge. Yes, all of the mythos of this place is real. The Bay Area is the creative capital of the Silicon Valley and a literary hub with a deep and diverse history including Amy Tan, Lemony Snicket, Ann Lamott, Mark Twain, Robert Haas, Czeslaw Milosz, Adam Johnson -- and the list could spill on for pages.


The Bay Area is saturated with writers of all genres and forms and CCA MFA Writing is a leader, inviting varied guests from Marlon James to Adam Johnson to Tracy K Smith to work with our students. The Bay Area birthed Litquake and at their 2017 festival, the CCA MFA in Writing Program is hosting Chris Kraus, author of After Kathy Acker, and I Love Dick, in conversation with our faculty member Dodie Bellamy.

I’d like to personally invite you to San Francisco for a visit so you can see our campus, talk with our students, and meet our faculty. We look forward to getting to know you and your work.