I love the vitality and strength of our students and our program. It’s a grand affection that’s renewed every year. Artists are the most stimulating people to be around because they constantly solve problems that may not have even existed until they thought of them!
It’s pure joy to pass a torch to the future of literature!
CCA is a unique community of makers that bestows immediate identity. The moment you arrive on campus, you are an artist among other artists. This identity, especially important in the highly mercantile and increasingly conformist “global” world, carries our students into a more confident future.
When you are validated as an artist, you have an indelible international passport. Our students come from diverse class, ethnic, gender, geographical, and academic backgrounds.
Our common project is language and to write the best we can.
Since 2002, the MFA in Writing program at California College of the Arts has seen dozens of our alumni -- gifted poets, fiction and nonfiction writers, and playwrights -- go on to publish with both large and small presses.
Our alumni are recipients of prestigious awards such as the Norma Farber First Book Prize, the Whiting Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, the Creative Capital Award, and the Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship at Naropa University.
Some now teach, while others are employed as professional writers. Many continue to thrive in the historically famous, dynamic literary culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, where they’ve created new reading and performance venues and the next generation of literary magazines and presses.
We focus on the art of literary craft through workshops, one-on-one mentorships, seminars, internships, and practicum in teaching as well as literary journal production. Each year students and faculty alike attend many onsite readings by renowned writers we invite to read and discuss their work.
We emphasize writing as practice and process. We expect from students no less than what we expect from ourselves -- that they devote themselves to their writing and rigorously engage with literature and the external community.
We encourage reading as much as writing -- these inseparables give us a deeper sense of literary history, to find in it a place for the genuine.
We want our students to think of themselves as “persons of letters” and “literary citizens.”
Committed Faculty of Professional Writers
I’m thrilled to be among our distinguished and deeply committed faculty of working writers -- award-winning authors, translators, Fulbright fellows, and international scholars. Visitors always notice the personal attention we give students.
We understand that a piece of literature is an object no different from any other art object -- subject to close examination and critique.
And we know that artists are expected to remain open and vulnerable while developing a second skin. My colleagues help our students find their own emerging originality and create their own literary kinship.
We welcome students who work in other media and want to incorporate the book arts, design, visual criticism, painting, photography, etc., in their work.
We always encourage cross-genre and experimental writing.
Our classes are small, our program intense. If you join us in the beachy light of our San Francisco campus garden studio, you will always be visible, and we will always take you seriously.
I look back at my years of graduate school in writing with both fondness and longing. I cherish the enduring friendships and connections I made with my teachers and peers, and the writing I accomplished. It was where I took myself seriously as a reader and writer for the first time, and where the inspiration and majority of my first book was written.
But I also wish I could have attended more readings, taken more classes, and of course, written more words. I hadn't realized that those two years could be so inspiring and formative, and I wished I could have taken away more.
Your time in a graduate writing program is a huge investment of your time and resources. Our faculty recognize this and encourage our students to take full advantage of the many reading and writing opportunities we offer.
As working writers, we understand the commitment and resources that are needed for a sustainable writing life. With an acclaimed faculty, an immersive curriculum, an inspiring art school environment, and a thriving literary community, our program supports and nurtures the creative potential in our students to prepare them for a long life of writing.