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University of Michigan to offer post-MFA fellowships

Angell Hall, University of Michigan

Angell Hall, University of Michigan. Photo by Andrew Horne (CC)

The University of Michigan has just announced that it will provide one year of post-MFA funding to all of its MFA graduates, starting with the cohort entering its second year this fall. Says a press release:

Thanks to a new gift from Helen Zell, the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan is now able to offer all qualifying graduates of our program one year of post-MFA funding.

The University of Michigan’s MFA Program in Creative Writing has been committed to offering post-graduate support to our writers since the first Meijer Fellowship was offered in 1999, thanks to an endowment given by Hendrik Meijer and the Meijer Corporation. We were able to expand our third-year offerings in 2007, when Helen Zell gave us the funds to support five more writers for a third year. Now we are excited to announce that thanks to the generosity of Helen Zell and the Zell Family Foundation, we can offer a third-year writing fellowship to all qualifying graduates of the MFA Program.

That’s a pretty amazing package for a young writer: full funding for two years plus a post-graduate fellowship makes three years where your only job is to write. At a time when the economy is so sour that many institutions are cutting arts, it’s positively miraculous that someone like Helen Zell would make such a generous investment in emerging writers. (Disclaimer: FWR’s Founding Editor Anne Stameshkin, Editor Jeremiah Chamberlin, I myself, and many of FWR’s friends and contributors have ties to the Michigan program—and I must say, I’m a deep shade of the proverbial green at the thought of having one more year to rejigger that novel draft…)

I can’t think of many other programs that offer a third, unrestricted year of post-MFA support. Actually, I can’t think of any. Will more writing programs follow suit?

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