The Program in Creative Writing at UW-Madison is one of the most prestigious in the country. Every year, a new batch of undergraduates leaves to join some of the best graduate programs in the country, and our own MFA program is ranked in the top five in the US by Poets & Writers. But we would love to build on that success.
The Program in Creative Writing at UW-Madison depends on the generous gifts of friends, alumni, and other supporters. These gifts allow us to provide full funding to our MFA candidates, to pay a livable stipend to our Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows, and to give prizes and scholarships to our phenomenal undergrads.
Moving forward, we’d like to provide a third fellowship year to all the graduates of our MFA program, an offering that has become standard for top-ranked programs such as ours. We would also like to increase the stipends for the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows, whose compensation has not increased in many years. And we want to bring in more influential writers, to meet one-on-one with our students and to share their work with the greater Madison community.
The Program in Creative Writing is supported by the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Creative Writing Program Fund; the Dorothy D. Bailey Fund; the August Derleth Fund; the Carl Djerassi Distinguished Playwriting Fellowship Fund, the Carl Djerassi and Diane Middlebrook Fiction and Poetry Fellowship Fund; the Anastasia C. (“Tess”) Hoffmann Fund; the Cy Howard Memorial Scholarship Fund; the James C. McCreight Fiction Fellowship Fund; the David and Jean Milofsky Fund; the Chris O’Malley Fiction Prize Fund; the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize Fund; the Martha Meier Renk Graduate Fellowship in Poetry Fund; the Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship Fund; the Peter Straub Fund; the Eudora Welty Fiction Prize Fund; the Phyllis Smart Young Poetry Prize Fund, and the Friends of Creative Writing. Campus creative writing prizes are further sponsored by the Charles M. Hart, Jr. Writers of Promise Awards Fund; the George B. Hill Fund; and the Therese Muller Trust. We are enormously grateful for our donors’ tremendous generosity and support!
Our Friends on Campus
The Program in Creative Writing believes that an awareness of one’s literary community is essential to any creative writer’s growth. Listed below are just a few of the organizations on campus and around Madison that help to make our community so vibrant.
UW-Madison’s Department of English
From Chair Anja Wanner: “Our department is central to the mission of the College of Letters at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We provide gateway instruction in literature and composition to more than 10,000 undergraduates every year, both in large lecture classes and in small writing-intensive classes for first-year students. Our students learn from the best — no department on campus has more teaching award winners than the Department of English. Our English Major, with its tracks in literary studies, creative writing, and English language and linguistics, teaches students to use the English language and literature written in different varieties of English for critical thinking, effective communication, and purposeful action.”
UW-Madison’s Division of the Arts
The Division of the Arts unifies and catalyzes the arts at UW–Madison. The division supports and promotes the missions of the academic arts departments and affiliated partners, fosters interdisciplinary collaborations, deepens the student experience, builds community engagement, and advocates for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access across the arts. The arts is integral to realizing the university’s teaching, research, and outreach missions, its commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and access, and to the Wisconsin Idea. The Division of the Arts brings together Art, Art History, Arts Administration, Creative Writing, Dance, Design Studies, Film Studies, Music, and Theater and Drama.
UW-Madison’s First Wave Scholarship Program
First Wave is a full-tuition, four-year scholarship program for seniors in high school or freshmen in college who apply to UW-Madison. With the support of affiliated faculty, staff, and artists, First Wave students: develop their craft as part of a high-level artistic community alongside faculty, staff, and nationally renowned spoken word and hip hop artists; pursue their academic and career goals by studying fields that merge their artistic interests with professional development; engage the community in creative service-learning projects that combine multicultural arts and activism; and showcase their talents around the campus, city, country and globe as part of the First Wave Hip Hop Theater Ensemble.
Our Friends in the Madison Community
The Wisconsin Book Festival
The Wisconsin Book Festival is a free program of public events that takes place every October and throughout the year in downtown Madison. It is the state’s largest literary festival, drawing thousands of attendees annually. Since its inception in 2002, the Festival has been a showcase for literary talent from across the country. As a special project of the Wisconsin Humanities Council, the Festival works to fulfill the WHC’s mission: Community through Conversation.
Arts + Literature Laboratory
Arts + Literature Laboratory is a community-based contemporary arts center supporting the visual and literary arts, music and performance, and youth and adult arts education. ALL’s Watershed Reading Series is Madison’s longest-running monthly curated reading series. ALL is co-directed by UW MFA Alum and award-winning poet Rita Mae Reese.
Madison Writers’ Studio
Co-founded and run by Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing alum Susanna Daniel and MFA alum Michelle Wildgen, Madison Writers’ Studio brings intimate, high-quality writing classes to a round-table setting.
Wisconsin Prison Humanities Project
The Writers Prison Humanities Project is a collective of educators, writers, performers, scholars, and community members in Wisconsin committed to making a space for thoughtful self-expression and literary engagement in one of the state’s most under-served areas: our prisons. In partnership with correctional facilities, the Project offers voluntary classes in literature, memoir, poetry and spoken word, and African American studies for inmates. These classes are not accredited, but all facilitators are skilled volunteers who believe that making space for this kind of engagement and education can help to reduce recidivism, improve literacy, and increase the joint humanity of everyone involved with the program, incarcerated or not.