Master of Arts in English Program in Creative Writing

The Master's in Creative Writing and Literature prepares students to be poets, novelists, essayists, short story writers, reviewers, editors, and teachers. One of the department's largest and most vibrant tracks, the program offers creative writing workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and features individualized attention from highly published, award-winning faculty. In addition to taking writing workshops, creative writing students receive both a broad and specialized education in the traditions of British and American literature. Students in the program have the opportunity to serve on the editorial staff of Touchstone, K-State's annual literary journal, or teach in our summer Young Writers' Program for middle-schoolers.

The Visiting Writers Program

Each year the Visiting Writers Program brings to campus nationally and internationally known writers. Recent visitors include Ross Gay, Victor LaValle, Julianna Baggott, Steven Church, Camille Dungy, Roxane Gay, Lauren Groff, and Philipp Meyer. These writers give public readings and lectures, visit classes, and read and discuss student works in individual tutorial sessions.


K-State creative writing students have gone on to publish highly acclaimed books and to win prestigious awards such as the Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction, the Prairie Seed Poetry Prize, the Pushcart Prize, and the Wick Poetry Prize, and to edit prominent literary journals such as Cimarron Review, North American Review, and Gulf Coast. Current and former graduate students have recently published in excellent literary journals such as The Massachusetts Review, Tin House, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, Quarterly West, and New England Review. In addition, K-State students have won national acclaim during their graduate careers as winners of the Intro Journals Project sponsored by the Associated Writing Programs. K-State M.A.s are routinely accepted into the nation's finest terminal degree programs (both M.F.A. and Ph.D.) that emphasize creative writing.

Financial Assistance and Awards

Financial assistance available to incoming M.A. students includes teaching assistantships and graduate school fellowships, and the Seaton Fellowships in Creative Writing (our Creative Writing students are also eligible for non-graduate school fellowships). For more information about financial aid, go to the Frequently Asked Questions about Graduate Studies page.

Workshop Atmosphere and Community

Our creative writing workshops sometimes include students from our four other M.A. tracks (literature, composition and rhetoric, cultural studies, and children's literature). Workshops are limited to no more than fifteen students. Our workshops are demanding, congenial and supportive.

Overall, we have an active, supportive community of writers both in the university and the surrounding area. Recently, students have participated in a Writers Resist event to promote free speech and at the national conference of the Association of Writing Programs. Manhattan is located in the Flint Hills, a green, hilly section of Kansas with the Kansas River and two large lakes nearby. Less than ten miles away, the Konza Prairie is the largest remnant of tallgrass prairie in the United States. The town itself has about 50,000 residents, not including the 20,000 students at K-State.

Creative Writing Faculty

Traci Brimhall teaches creative writing, with an emphasis on poetry. Her academic interests include female poets of the 20th century working in hybrid forms, graphic novels, and narrative medicine. She's the author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (Copper Canyon, forthcoming); Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017); Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), selected by Carolyn Forché for the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010), winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. She also authored the children's book Sophia & the Boy Who Fell (Pleiades Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Believer, Slate, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and Best American Poetry 2013 & 2014. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the King/Chávez/Parks Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Elizabeth Dodd, University Distinguished Professor of English, teaches creative writing and literature. Her latest book is Horizon’s Lens: My Time on the Turning World from University of Nebraska Press. She's also the author of In the Mind’s Eye: Essays across the Animate World, winner of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment’s Best Book Award; Prospect: Journeys & Landscapes, winner of the William Rockhill Nelson Best Nonfiction Book Award; two collections of poetry, Like Memory, Caverns, which won the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award from New York University Press, and Archetypal Light; and the critical book The Veiled Mirror and the Woman Poet: H.D., Louise Bogan, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Gluck.

Dodd publishes frequently in the field of ecocriticism, with essays on Elizabeth Bishop, James Terry Tempest Williams, and Michael S. Harper, as well as other topics. She is the nonfiction editor of An Online Journal of the Built + Natural Environments. Dodd has twice won the Stamey Award for outstanding teaching from K-State's College of Arts and Sciences, and she is winner of the K-State Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award. She frequently collaborates with colleagues in other departments in interdisciplinary teaching and leads study abroad trips to South America.

Daniel A. Hoyt teaches creative writing, with an emphasis on fiction, and his academic interests include contemporary American fiction, the short story, the work of Charles Dickens, and interdisciplinary courses. His short-story collection, Then We Saw the Flames, won the 2008 Juniper Prize for Fiction and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press (2009). Dan's creative work has also appeared in The Kenyon Review, Indiana Review, Quarterly West, Meridian, and other literary magazines. From 2004-2010, Dan taught at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, and in 2009, he won an Individual Excellence Award in fiction from the Ohio Arts Council. In the 1990s, Dan worked as a journalist at newspapers in Missouri, Wisconsin, and New York. He cheers — simultaneously and without regret — for the Missouri Tigers, the Kansas Jayhawks, and the Kansas State Wildcats.

Katherine Karlin's collection Send Me Work won a 2011 Balcones Fiction Prize and was named a Kansas Notable Book. Recent fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Triquarterly, Cincinnati Review and One-Story. Karlin's work has been anthologized in The Pushcart Prize, New Stories from the South, and Watchlist; her essays have appeared in online magazines including Catapult, Lumen, and xoJane. In addition to teaching creative writing courses, Karlin teaches film and is co-director of "The Learning Tree: an Online Gordon Parks Archive," dedicated to promoting study of the Kansas-born filmmaker, author, and photographer. She received the 2018 Stamey Award for Outstanding Teaching from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Emeritus Faculty

Jonathan Holden is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English and Poet-in-Residence at Kansas State University. A poet/critic, Dr. Holden's work includes The Old Formalism: Character in Contemporary American Poetry (U of Arkansas Press, 1999) and Knowing: New and Selected Poems, University of Arkansas Press, 2000. Dr. Holden has won numerous awards including the Devins Award for Design for a House (1972), The AWP Award for Leverage (1982), The Juniper Prize for The Names of the Rapids (1985) and The Vassar Miller Prize for The Sublime (1995). Dr. Holden has received two fellowships in Creative Writing, from the National Endowment for the Arts, one in Poetry ($5,000) and one in Creative Nonfiction Writing ($20,000). In 1997, his Guns and Boyhood in America: Memoir of Growing Up in the 50's, was published in the University of Michigan's Poets-on-Poetry series. In the year 2000, Holden was, with Anthony Hecht and Mary Karr, one of the three judges for The Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. His most recent work is a memoir, Mama's Boys: The Search for Identity of an Identical Twin, with Lewis-Clark Press. He is currently revising his final critical book On Moral Poetry.

Creative Writing on the Department Blog

Learn more about the Program in Creative Writing through posts related to creative writing on our department blog.

For More Information

For application materials or for other information about the Creative Writing Program or the Visiting Writers Program, contact:
Traci Brimhall, Director
Creative Writing Program
Department of English
108 English/Counseling Services Building
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-6501
(785) 532-6716 Office
(785) 532-2192 FAX