Director's Message

Chantel Acevedo Author Photo

A very warm welcome to those reading this message and hoping to learn more about the University of Miami. I am delighted to serve as director of a program that, over more than two decades, has grown to prominence as a diverse and community-minded MFA and undergraduate Creative Writing Program.

Here, you’ll find faculty that actively publish in their fields, and are eager to share what they’ve learned in their practice with students. Multilingual writers themselves, the faculty encourage students to dip into the well of their unique experience, of the language they heard at home growing up, whether that’s Tagalog, or Spanish, or Punjabi, (just some of the languages spoken by the faculty), an English dialect, or even, experimenting with language invention.

Representation matters, and at UM, we’ve understood that for a very long time. Why is a legacy of diversity important? Because the idea of an inclusive workshop, of valuing text that is multilingual, of elevating marginalized voices in order to rethink the literary canon, shouldn’t be thought of as new trends, but the way Creative Writing should naturally be addressed. We write to make a difference, and to entertain, and to reflect life as it is lived. To ignore diversity in its multiple forms is to write outside of realism, purpose, and artistic intention. And like I said, here at Miami, we’ve been doing this work for a long time.

What does this approach look like on campus? On the page, in our classrooms, and among our fellow writers, we strive for a sense of community in formal and informal gatherings, in readings, and other moments of support for one another. We read fiction and poetry widely, often in translation. Most importantly, students get honest and caring feedback.

Undergraduate students benefit from a Creative Writing concentration with small class sizes, and the chance to write an Honors thesis with the mentorship of a faculty advisor. Creative Writing majors and minors get to know one another well in a friendly, but rigorous setting, balanced by a broad study of literature.

MFA students benefit from:

  • Full funding for two years, with a competitive third “year of professionalization” option
  • Classes with award-winning writers in their field
  • Opportunities to work on Sinking City, the program’s literary magazine
  • Opportunities to train as an arts administrator
  • A small cohort, ensuring plenty of one-on-one time with advisors
  • Partial travel funding for AWP and more
  • A twice-yearly reading series
  • Publication panels and visits from agents, editors, and alt-ac professionals
  • Two-person thesis committees plus an outside reader

In addition, alumni of the MFA program have published well and broadly. I invite you to peruse the alumni publication page on our site.

Writing is like anything—really easy unless you want to do it well. And to do it well takes practice, persistence, and concentration. What the University of Miami Creative Writing Program offers is a place where those stories and poems can be developed, among fellow practitioners who understand that the work is hard, but that there is joy in it.

If you have questions about the undergraduate or graduate programs in Creative Writing at the U, I encourage you to reach out.

Best wishes,

Chantel Acevedo Signature

Chantel Acevedo
Professor of English
Director of Creative Writing