Our MFA is designed for the writer interested in an immersive writing experience while expanding their knowledge of literary traditions.

Curriculum Overview

Students in the MFA program focus on perfecting their craft, completing courses in literary tradition and practice.


Find out more about the classes offered in our program. 

Our MFA Program

Meet Amanda, L'17

Amanda Shires, Singer-songwriter | Nashville, TN

After spending much of her life on vans and tour buses, Amanda, a singer-songwriter, fiddle player, and poet, craved the stimulation of school. In an interview with Southern Living, the Grammy Award-winning artist said of her decision to pursue an MFA at the School of Letters, "I am fascinated by words, down to the letters that make them up. I wanted to learn more about poetics and how to get better at writing."

Now with seven solo albums (and an MFA) under her belt, Amanda is a seasoned storyteller and performer. She credits what she learned at the School of Letters for making her a more precise and intentional songwriter.

"Before attending Sewanee, I was writing from instinct alone. Now, I have reasons for word choices and reasons that I go one way or another with phrasing."

Her summers in Sewanee also reframed her perspective on writer's block.

"I learned that there's no such thing as writer's block. If writer's block really existed, no one would ever graduate or pass classes. Writer's block is an excuse. If you are not writing anything good at the moment, that's something different and something you have to work through."

Shires' most recent album was named one of the New York Times best albums of the year.