It’s the heart of the MFA experience. Students, faculty, visiting writers, and guest speakers from the publishing industry come together to form a diverse and dynamic artistic community teeming with the energy of a shared commitment to writing.
The community lives both inside and outside the classroom as you and your fellow students share experiences, support each other, and form new bonds. During each ten day residency, you’ll attend lectures and readings by faculty and visiting writers, participate in workshops, and hear from guest speakers to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry. You will also meet with your faculty mentor to design a reading list and study plan for the forthcoming term.
At Home in Michigan
Residency is also about engaging with our surroundings. A sense of place, in terms of writing about place and respecting place is a hallmark of the program. We are proud to be the first and only low residency MFA in Michigan, and we take full advantage of the natural beauties the state affords. The summer residencies are held on our lovely campus located in Alma and based in the historic Wright Leppien Opera House. The Opera House features apartment-style accommodations for students and an airy light-filled ballroom for lectures and readings. Local retailer Ballyhoo Books will serve as another location for readings as well as the place to purchase books for your term’s reading list and the work of our faculty and visiting writers.
We’ll convene for our winter residencies at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on the shore of Higgins Lake in Michigan’s gorgeous northern woods. The center, known for its modern facilities with rustic décor, has a legacy of conservation education. We’ll be able to appreciate Michigan’s abundant natural resources and sparkling winters with activities such as ice fishing, sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing. Guests will have access to miles and miles of groomed cross-country ski trails located across the main road of the facility.
Alma is excited to offer our MFA cohorts the opportunity to spend residency in international locations.
In the spirit of powerful authors such as Lord Byron, Henry James, and Daphne du Maurier, the Alma College Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing is going to Italy for a residency in the Veneto region of Italy, including the historic city of Venice and its surrounding countryside. We will explore art, food, historical villas, and visit with local writers and artists. The site will pique all the senses, from the scent of perfect risotto to the colors of the buildings of Burano. Students will write from this well of experience for years to come. Excursions may include: the historic center of Venice including St Mark’s Square, touring the Lagoon of Venice by private boat with visits to Torcello, Burano, and San Giorgio, and travel to the foothills of the Alps to the towns of Padova, Asolo, and Trieste.
Oxford, England Beginning in July 2025 students will spend a summer residency at the University of Oxford in England, the school that has for hundreds of years produced luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Indira Gandhi, and Stephen Hawking. The program will include tours of the iconic institution and town and lectures from university guest speakers.