Salve Regina, best-selling author Ann Hood launch MFA in creative writing

Salve Regina and Rhode Island native Ann Hood – the best-selling author of 14 novels, three memoirs and books for young adults – have teamed up to launch The Newport MFA, the state’s first low-residency Master of Fine Arts degree program in creative writing.

Beginning next June, aspiring writers can pursue the terminal degree in their field by attending eight-day residencies in Newport twice a year (with an optional winter residency being offered in Havana, Cuba) that will connect them with established professionals in a location steeped in literary history. Henry James, Thornton Wilder and Edith Wharton are among those to be inspired by Newport.

“One of the appeals when you’re deciding on a low-residency program is you want somewhere special,” said Hood, founding director of The Newport MFA. “You want somewhere beautiful. We all know how breathtaking Newport is and Salve Regina University’s oceanside campus is gorgeous.”

These intensive residencies will offer specialization in fiction, poetry, nonfiction or young adult writing with daily workshops, craft lectures, manuscript consultations and keynote readings. Students will be initiated into the writing life as well as the business of publishing and editing, and will spend the months between residencies writing and reflecting in individualized mentorships with eminent writers.

Hood, who has taught at many low-residency MFA programs across the country during her distinguished career, says when she was first approached about starting one in Newport by Jen McClanaghan, Salve Regina’s writer-in-residence, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. “Not only because it was right in my backyard,” Hood said, “but I thought, here’s the opportunity for me to take the best of all the ones that I’ve taught in and put all of that together in one program. So I feel like we’re really bringing the best of all those programs to one place.”

The 48-credit MFA program requires four residencies and four mentorships, in addition to a final graduation residency. In addition to actively recruiting students for the inaugural class this summer, Hood has been busy lining up instructors and mentors who will be teaching in the program.

“I’ve had the great pleasure of reaching out to the writers who have become my friends, my professional colleagues, who are names that everyone has heard to invite them here both as teachers but also to come and give readings and craft talks as special guests,” Hood said. “And we have a list that is really going to dazzle anyone who reads and loves literature.”

McClanaghan said one reason The Newport MFA will stand apart from other programs is because of Hood. “She is charismatic, hilarious and deeply connected to the national literary community,” she said. “In addition to her own reputation as a best-selling author, she is also someone who brings people together easily, a kind of alchemy of personality that is magnetic.”

For more information or to apply, call the Office of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education at (800) 637-0002 or visit salve.edu/mfa.

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