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Reaching new voices: Mount St. Mary

Mount St. Mary's new, community-engaged MFA in Creative Writing begins in the fall of 2014.

Reaching new voices: Mount St. Mary's launches new MFA in creative writing

Contact:Phillip Jordan

Los Angeles, June 30, 2014 — With the launch of its master of fine arts degree in creative writing, Mount Saint Mary’s University aims to grow a new community of talented, passionate writers whose stories reflect the diversity of the program's home city.

Designed as a co-ed, weekend residency with working adults in mind, the Mount's MFA in creative writing is open to those interested in fiction, literary nonfiction, screenwriting, poetry, playwriting and publishing.

Highlights of the program include:


  • Collaborations with community writing groups featuring reading sessions, writing workshops, and chances to volunteer and intern with literary organizations.
  • Opportunities to take screenwriting classes through the Mount's master of fine arts in film and television, and electives from the Mount's master of arts in the humanities.
  • An annual Writer-in-Residence, as well as a yearly Writers' Retreat and teaching assistant program.
  • A speaker series bringing well-known, published authors to campus.
  • Small cohort sizes that permit students to easily consult with their faculty mentors, including during students' development of a publication-ready thesis.
  • Chances to contribute to local publications, including the Mount's own literary journal, Dry River Review.

"We are building this program from the ground up and developing partnerships that will offer the opportunity for more community engagement with, and among, writers," says MFA acting director Ana Thorne, PhD "We are reaching out to include all voices, including those who in the past might have been considered on the margins of storytelling."

Thorne, who grew up in Ohio in a multicultural family — with an African-American father and a Mexican-American mother — has extensive experience teaching English, literature, cultural studies, identity construction and civil rights history. She is a two-time alum of the Mount, earning her bachelor's degree in English and her master's in humanities at the College. Thorne received her MFA in creative writing from Antioch University and her PhD in cultural studies from Claremont Graduate University.

Other MFA in creative writing faculty include:

  • Shonda Buchanan, a widely published memoirist, poet and essayist who is an Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship recipient, Sundance Institute fellow and a PEN Center Emerging Voice fellow.
  • Drew Brody, an award-winning screenwriter and playwright who earned his master's from the University of Birmingham in England and conducted his postgraduate work in cinema studies in Paris.
  • Joan Johnson, a prolific writer of short stories, poetry and plays who has her first book of short stories, Ninevah, coming out this year. She is also the playwright in residence at Studio One.
  • Lisa Locascio, an editor, fiction and essay writer, who earned her MFA in fiction from New York University. Lisa's work has appeared in Salon, Santa Monica Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books and American Short Fiction.

Mount St. Mary's MFA in creative writing was born out of a concentration in the College's MA in humanities, led by director Millie Kidd, PhD The humanities and creative writing programs will co-host Saturday information sessions this summer, on July 19 and Aug. 9.

All Graduate Programs are based on the Mount's historic and centrally located Doheny Campus, just west of downtown Los Angeles. To learn more, visit the Mount St. Mary's master of fine arts in creative writing program.

About Mount Saint Mary’s University
Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles offers a dynamic learning experience in the liberal arts and sciences. Mount St. Mary's has a diverse student body, and we are dedicated to providing a superior education enhanced by an emphasis on building leadership skills and fostering a spirit to serve others. For more information, visit

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