Duly noted – though a bit late – the twelve-day writing intensive at the University of Alaska Anchorage, ending this week. UAA has wisely developed a low-residency MFA program, headed by Sherry Simpson (you’ll recall I’m a fan). The instensive gives students a chance to interact with over a dozen authors, with each author presenting lectures that are free to the public.

Looking over short bios of the authors, I got to thinking about literary fiction in general and MFA programs in particular. (Disclaimer: I don’t have an MFA.)

I like what Anne Lamott said in a recent CBC interview about writers inviting people to their campfires – that’s what stories, good stories, are all about. I love to read approachable stories and poems – literature that pulls me to the campfire, literature that engages me in a common experiences.

What happens with literary, MFA-style writing? Is the campfire smaller, more distant, more exclusive? Or is that an unfortunate misconception?

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